Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Hastings Takes Aim at Fourth City Invitational Title

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Hastings Takes Aim at Fourth City Invitational Title

Article excerpt

TUSCALOOSA | Josh Hastings can't guarantee himself a fourth straight tennis title, but he wants to have fun in the pursuit.

Hastings will play in the Pritchett-Moore Men's City Invitational July 15-21 at Indian Hills Country Club.

In the past three years, the 33-year-old Hastings won singles championships in the 3.0, 3.5 and 4.0 divisions. This year he'll play at 4.5, the tournament's highest level.

Hastings was a three-sport athlete at American Christian Academy and played basketball at Wallace State Community College in Hanceville. He works as a homicide investigator for the Tuscaloosa Sheriff's Office.

"Being on the court is just a small portion of it," Hastings said. "I've actually made several new friends out here over the years, just from either playing them or being introduced to them through other buddies that I've gotten to know. Steve Burdette and Tony Baggett are two guys I've gotten to know just from the tournaments around here every year. Tony and I are playing in a league together.

"On nights that I don't even play, I'll come out here because you get to watch the tennis and you get to hang with these folks off the court and enjoy yourself."

Back in 2009, Hastings was the runner-up to Scott McClanahan in 3.0 singles but claimed a championship in doubles.

"That first year I was hooked, and I got beat that year," Hastings said.

After he won his first singles title, Hastings had to move up.

"It's bittersweet," he said. "Obviously, you're happy to win that division, but again you know it's going to be rougher than the year before, especially once you get to 4.5. I've played a lot of really good tennis players over the years in this tournament. But you get to that 4.5 level and you realize that these guys are incredible. They're on a whole other level than just hitting the ball over and keeping it in play. These guys hit finishing shots that you can run after as much as you want but you're probably not going to get to them."

Because of its length, the tournament has been billed as "Tuscaloosa's Wimbledon."

"It's a rough couple of days out here," he said. "It's hot. If you're playing singles and doubles, sometimes you have back-to-back matches. …

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