York City-County Tennis Tournament has strong men's field, including Jim Kohr, Phil Myers
- The York City-County Tennis Tournament starts Saturday, June 23, and is set to end Sunday, July 1.
- Jim Kohr, who has won the event 17 times, is expected to go after his 18th title.
- Phil Myers, who also acts as tournament director, will attempt to defend his 2017 crown.
Jim Kohr hasn't played in every York City-County Tennis Tournament over the past 35 years, but he hasn't missed many.
Starting at age 16 and now going on 51, Kohr is preparing to compete one more time in the annual event.
The Central York High School and North Texas University graduate has won a record 17 City-County Men's Singles titles.
The trophies are nice, but they're not what pulls Kohr back to the courts.
"It's the love of competing that keeps me coming back," he said. "Sure, I want to win, but you can't be afraid of losing. Sometimes people don't play (in the tournament) because they don't feel they're in the perfect shape. I don't understand that."
Kohr, known for his booming serves and volleying skills, was forced to default in the quarterfinals of last year's tournament after pulling a muscle. It was the second muscle he pulled in two days. The first injury happened in a different tournament.
This year, Kohr is focused solely on the City-County event.
"I probably shouldn't have played in that other tournament last year," he said. "I really haven't done anything special which has enabled me to compete with younger players. I control what I eat and I've been motivated by the high level that Craig Diehl and my friend, Jeff Clark, have played at over the years."
Kohr is the head professional at West Winds Tennis and Fitness Club in New Market, Maryland.
"I've been there a year," he said. "I'm still living in southern York County. The club is an hour away and I know there are a lot of people who travel an hour to work."
Kohr's travels next week will include stops at Wisehaven Tennis Center as he bids to turn back younger challengers one more time and add to his record collection of championship trophies.
"The thing I noticed over the years is that the athletes have gotten faster and quicker," he said.
Other men's contenders: In addition to Kohr, defending champion Phil Myers is back, and Jared Howat, the 2013 champion, returned this year. Last year's runner-up, Kaltrin Bullaj, who lost to Myers in three sets, will also play this year.
Myers also won the title in 2014, the last year the tournament was played at Farquhar Park before moving to Wisehaven.
"That one (the championship at Farquhar) was special," Myers said. "Growing up there, I got to see a lot of guys playing there, and I idolized them. Getting to hoist that trophy there was beyond words."
While Farquhar holds a lot of fond memories for Myers, he felt, as tournament director, that the event couldn't remain there unless the courts were resurfaced. That didn't happen and the City-County event, which has had a number of venues in its near century of existence, moved to Wisehaven.
This year's event will be played over two weekends beginning Saturday, June 23, and concluding Sunday, July 1.
Only two women in draw: As of Tuesday, there were 25 players entered in the Men's Open Singles draw, but just two in the Women's Open Singles draw.
"I'm going to leave the women's registration open a little longer to see if we can't pull in more players," Myers said. "We also have 32 entered in the Men's Intermediate draw. Overall, looking at all brackets, we have decent numbers and we pulled in a lot of sponsors."
Myers, a York High and York College graduate, may not stick with the two-weekend format next year.
"I went to it because we had so many entries, and it was hard to get all the matches in. But people have so many commitments, it might be tough to get them to commit to two weekends."
The director of tennis at Wisehaven, Myers typically spends three to four hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon on the courts working with players.
Of course, that doesn't include the time he spends in charge of the City-County event.
He's quick to point out, though, he has plenty of help in running the tournament.
"I have a good group of friends who work with me," he said.
Myers said it's been mentioned to him that the City-County event would have a bigger draw if it offered prize money. He's opposed to making that change.
"Prize money, that's not in the spirit of the tournament," he said.
Reach Dick VanO'Linda at email@example.com.