With the cold wind once again biting at the Rome-Floyd Tennis Center, the final day of the annual tournament found the 13-year-old Calhoun athlete surrounded by his parents, sisters, and aunt and grandparents.
Even though he lost in two sets to Chase Smith of Acworth in a 6-4, 6-3 match, Kessler said he was happy to participate.
“Chase played a really great match,” he said.
He said he was looking forward to facing him again.
“Maybe next time I’ll get the big win on Chase,” he said.
He played in a three-hour-long match on Tuesday, his second match of the day, to cement his place in the championship round.
Tournament director Mark Dodd was glad to see the event end Wednesday just after lunch and before any rain threatened to halt play.
“From everybody I’ve talked to, the tournament went real smooth and we didn’t have any major problems at all,” Dodd said.
Kessler said his loss Wednesday had “something to do with” the long match on Tuesday.
He began playing in tennis tournaments when he was seven. His parents, Julie and Carl Kessler, were both college tennis players at the University of Central Florida, where they met.
“He’s better than we were at his age,” Carl Kessler said.
Though Kessler lost his first championship game of the day, he was able to pull through and win the doubles championship.
Kessler and Andy Martinez of the Atlanta area took the championship in an 8-6 match.
“We played a really good match, and everything went right for us,” he said.
Kessler said that one lesson he learned from the tournament was that “you can’t win them all, you just have to keep going.”
Dodd brought up that the cold weather would not be as much of a factor the next time the tournament is played.
The United States Tennis Association has decided to move the four-day event to April, making it the Georgia State Junior Spring Open Championships.
It will once again be hosted by Rome and utilized a number of sites around the area.