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No. 2 Junior Wheelchair Tennis Player Participates in Linville Ridge Tennis Pro-Am

On August 12-14, 2016, Linville Ridge will hold their 29th annual Tennis Pro-Am. Thirty-two amateurs will be playing alongside 32 teaching and tour professionals.  Among them is Conner Stroud of Rutherfordton, NC.  Conner was born with a non-hereditary birth defect called Bilateral Proximal Femoral Focal Deficiency, or PFFD, that left him without legs.

His parents, Rita and Dewey Stroud, own and operate Peachtree Racquet Club in Forest City, NC and from a very young age Conner accompanied his parents to the club. They have always encouraged him to not let anything stand in his way, so instead of sitting on the sidelines one day he decided to pick up a racquet. “It was either just sit there or start playing,” Rita, stated.Conner Stroud at Linville Ridge 3

Conner began playing in able-bodied tournaments at age 5, thanks to the help of specially designed prosthetic blades. This was at an age when many children struggle with such basics as consistently hitting the ball, but Conner had the strokes and placement to win his matches, despite his physical disadvantage. Over the years, Conner’s opponents grew taller, stronger and faster so it became more and more difficult for him to compete against able-bodied opponents.

After attending a wheelchair tennis clinic run by Bridge II Sports, the USTA North Carolina, and the Orthotic and Prosthetic Activities Foundation (OPAF), Conner made the switch to competitive wheelchair tennis, winning the first tournament he played in September 2013. Since then, he has risen to be one of the world’s top junior wheelchair players. Conner is currently ranked the No. 2 junior wheelchair tennis player in the United States and is one of the top 15 in the world. He starts on his Thomas Jefferson High School team in Mooresboro, NC, playing against able-bodied players while still in his wheelchair.

Despite Conner’s initial resistance to wheelchair tennis, he is glad he made the switch. “It gives me an easier way to play tennis,” he says.  He also finds comfort in the common ground of the wheelchair community. “It’s very fun. Everybody is each other’s friends; when the competition begins, it’s competition, but you still relate to everybody.” Rita added, “Their disability may be completely different, but the wheelchair brings a togetherness that nothing else can.”

This is a huge milestone for Linville Ridge and for Conner.  He will be the first wheelchair participant in the 29-year history of the Linville Ridge Pro-Am and Conner is going to have a chance to play against able bodied pros.

Conner will compete in the men’s division which begins on Saturday, August 13, 2016, at 9:00am at the Linville Ridge Tennis Complex.

About Linville Ridge

Linville Ridge is an established private residential community near Blowing Rock, North Carolina – a short drive from Charlotte, Raleigh/Durham, Winston-Salem and Asheville.  Developed by The Lutgert Companies in 1982, Linville Ridge boasts the highest elevation golf course east of the Mississippi River which was redesigned by Bobby Weed Golf Design in 2009; five dining venues; eight Har-Tru® tennis courts; four PicklePave® pickleball courts; two regulation–sized croquet lawns; bocce, heated mountainside swimming pool; hiking trails; youth activities; and a full service hair salon and spa. Linville Ridge Country Club offers a variety of membership categories for golf and social members alike. Linville Ridge offers a range of ownership opportunities from estate homes, mountain cottages, town homes and homesites, through their on-site brokerage, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty. For more information, visit www.linvilleridge.com.

Conner Stroud at Linville Ridge 1

Conner Stroud at Linville Ridge 2