EDWARDSVILLE - The Edwardsville Futures Tournament attracted more fans than ever this year, Director Dave Lipe said on Thursday, despite probably some of the most difficult weather conditions ever for the event.

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The tourney winner said that it was "amazing for a small little city like Edwardsville to do such a great job with this. Blew my expectations out of the water for this place," Vandecasteele said after taking home the crown.

Lipe, who has become renowned for not only success as Edwardsville’s boys and girls varsity tennis coach, but the Futures Tournament and the courts. The courts are exquisite, much above any other high school in the state, if not the nation.

There have always been key contributors to the courts and the Pro Wildcard and Futures events. Lipe always mentions those supporters and key volunteers and coordinators and deflects attention from himself. Simply put, he sees the success of Futures as "because of the team of people involved."

Lipe is also a highly regarded English teacher in the Edwardsville School District 7 system. Many of his students have positive memories of their times of learning in his class and often remark he was one of their best instructors, regardless of the subject, because of Lipe's approach to education. Off the court, Lipe is simply that teacher who makes students enjoy learning and remember what they have been taught.

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Each year at the end of July, individuals throughout the world come to the Futures event. The economic impact with hotels, restaurants, etc., has a huge impact, the tourney director said.

Lipe has always been the ringleader of the Futures' success, but he said there are several individuals and sponsors who participate year in and year out. He deflected some of the spotlight onto those people.

The truth is, Lipe has been an incredible force for tennis not only in Edwardsville but throughout the region, state, nation and now world with the development of The Futures Tournament.

Lipe praised the EGM Foundation and City of Edwardsville for their Futures support and all the other sponsors.

“Our participation becomes stronger every year,” he said. “We had great attendance, especially with the heat and some of the storms that took place. I think we get a little bit better each year. The tourney this year was filled with some challenges because of the weather, but our incredible staff and volunteers did a great job of rising to the challenges."

Lipe concluded: "We continue to gain attention with the tournament. We also get a lot of great media attention. I am very thankful for the event. We have an incredible tennis community here.”

Dr. Steve Stuart, principal of Edwardsville High School, in attendance at the Futures.

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