ASHLAND, Ky. — Decorated as USTA Kentucky’s Tournament of the Year for its 2018 debut, Braidy Industries $60,000 Women’s Tennis Classic returns July 20-28 to the Ashland Tennis Center.

Last year’s event faced a tight time schedule after replacing a faltering California tournament on the USTA Pro Circuit calendar. The new site delivered thanks to what tournament chairman Jack Ditty M.D. called a truly collective effort from the Ashland community.

“We were notified in March that we had an opportunity to do the tournament and had to start from scratch,” said Ditty, “even though we had some experience from years past.”

Ashland hosted lower level USTA Pro Circuit events for five years beginning in 2004.

The Braidy Industries Tennis Classic is again presented by Bon Secours Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital. Ditty praised the “enthusiasm and energy” of Craig Bouchard (Braidy’s chairman and CEO) as well as OLBH’s commitment.

Coming off last year’s success, Ditty looks for the tournament to experience continued growth heading into this summer’s sequel.

“Having a year to prepare makes a difference,” he said.

A dedicated base of local tennis enthusiasts continues to help spearhead the volunteer effort.

“There’s a staff of people back, people like Ernie Tucker, our volunteer chairman, that have been tremendous,” Ditty said. “So many volunteers would take something and expand it far beyond what we had before.”

The tournament is operated through the Greater Ashland Tennis Association. Janice Watson, GATA’s president, was honored as Kentucky’s 2018 Volunteer of the Year in January.