Two local Elkin residents will take to the courts at the United States Tennis Association National Championship in Arizona this weekend. Richard Edwards and Jack Jernigan will travel across the country to take on other tennis teams in the open bracket of the Championship. Edwards and Jernigan have been playing together for over 20 years. They met on the courts, and the rest is history.
“When Jack started playing, he had only dreamed and hoped to play for a national championship,” stated Edwards. “When reading and hearing about Junior Luffman, Janet Moser, and Michael Chappel championships, he says it is a possibility and a reality.”
Edwards and Jernigan had a long, but successful road to the National Championship. In 2015, 2016, and 2017, Edwards and Jernigan were number one in the State. Since the success of those years, the doubles team placed second in the South Eastern Division. Because of the points and the wins accumulated by Edwards and Jernigan, they received an invitation to the National Championship.
“The hope for USTA national championship is not about me but about others,” stated Edwards. “I’ve met people on the road to the quest. People in local business like Tim Gurganus of Bojangles. His hard work, success, sacrifices, and mindfulness helped in making the trip to Arizona possible. Also thanks goes to others, Theo’s, Wendy’s, Arby’s, KFC, and The Wood Box. Thanks also goes back to the 1980’s, the joy and experience playing tennis with Robert Martin, John Mathis, Wayne Moore, and Danny Macemore,”stated Edwards. “Thanks to Dennise and Sandy Martin for putting up with my unorthodox play of tennis and life. Special thanks to my friends and the prayers from First Baptist Church in Elkin.”
Edwards and Jernigan have the support of several local businesses and people in the area.
“I try to help anybody I can, and Richard came to me and told me he was going to Nationals,” said Tim Gurganus of Bojangles in Jonesville. “Hopefully between myself and the other contributors things go well.”
In 2016, Edwards and Jernigan won the Greensboro January Indoor NTRP Championship, and the Kildaire Farms NTRP Fall Classic. They also made it to the finals of the Providence Country Club Memorial Day Tournament.
Their success continued into 2017, as Edwards and Jernigan won the Deer Valley Adult Summer Slam, and The OPRC Banana Open. The team also made it to the semifinals of the 2017 Hollow Rock Open, and the 35th Annual Snow Hill Golf Classic.
At the National Championship, Edwards and Jernigan will be playing in the open bracket which consists of doubles teams 18 and over.
“I feel nervous, anxious, and you have to concentrate to not get caught up in the moment,” said Edwards. “You have to enjoy it and have fun. I hope to bring back memories that I can share with other people.”