CLEVELAND — Top women tennis players from around the world are in Cleveland this week for the inaugural Tennis in the Land event.
This is Cleveland’s biggest women’s sporting event.
A temporary stadium court has been constructed under Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica in the West Bank of the Flats.
Not only is national talent on display this week, local talent, like Thomas Vinci, is being featured both on and off the court.
Vinci is a senior industrial design student at the Cleveland Institute of Art. He had the chance to partner with Case Western Reserve University School of Engineering to take center stage at Tennis in the Land, literally.
"It was a real blessing,” Vinci said. "It’s like I was given an opportunity to bypass what we are normally supposed to do as students.”
Vinci created custom umpire chairs that are more comfortable and easier to climb than traditional chairs.
He did extensive research to learn about what would make the chairs better for umpires.
"They connected me with a veteran umpire," he said. "She doesn’t work anymore, but she did many years as an umpire and I got input from her early on."
After doing his research, Vinci built the chairs using virtual reality technology before actually creating the physical pieces.
“3D modeling prototyping was 16-17 hours, concepting was 35 hours, refinement was 29 hours, research development that was 50 hours, fabrication, it was probably about 150 hours,” he said.
For Vinci, all of the hours of work were worth it to see his chair at an internationally televised sporting event.
"It’s kind of corny, but I kind of felt like my babies were going off on an adventure without me," he said. "You know, it was like I just spent all of this time building these things and it’s kind of like your child basically.”
Tennis in the Land will run until Aug. 28.
You can get your tickets online.