CLEVELAND: The best female tennis players from around the world are in Cleveland this week for the inaugural Tennis in the Land event.
This is Cleveland’s largest women’s sporting event.
A temporary stadium track has been built under the Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica, in the West Bank flats.
This week not only is national talent on display, but local talent, like Thomas Vinci, is appearing on and off the track.
Vinci is a senior student of industrial design at the Cleveland Institute of Art. He had the opportunity to partner with Case Western Reserve University School of Engineering to take a leading role in Tennis in the Land, literally.
“It was a real blessing,” Vinci said. “It’s like they give me a chance to skip what we’re normally supposed to do as students.”
Vinci created custom referee chairs that are more comfortable and easier to climb than traditional chairs.
He did extensive research to find out what would improve the chairs for the referees.
“They connected me to a veteran referee,” he said. “She no longer works, but she did many years as a referee and I got information from her at first.”
After researching, Vinci built the chairs with virtual reality technology before creating the physical pieces.
“The 3D modeling prototyping was 16 to 17 hours, the 35-hour concept, the 29-hour refinement, the 50-hour research development, the manufacturing, it was probably about 150 hours,” he said.
For Vinci, every hour of work was worth watching his chair at an internationally televised sporting event.
“It’s a little weird, but I felt like my babies were going on an adventure without me,” she said. “You know, it was like you just spent all that time building these things and it’s like it’s basically your son.”
Ground tennis will run until August 28th.
You can get your tickets online.