In the late 1990s Steve Tidball, the Congressional Country Club’s Director of Tennis, started the Potomac Women’s Evening League (POTWEL) to accommodate the growing number of women wanting to play competitive evening tennis at his club. Steve initiated the league with his own club, Congressional, along with Bethesda, Columbia, Kenwood, and Bullis. Soon after it began, the league grew to include Potomac Tennis, Westleigh, and Georgetown Prep. Each club was permitted to have one or two teams at the 3.5 and 4.0 levels.

As the league continued to grow, Steve asked Chi Rust to take over the organizational duties of the league in 2003. Chi accepted and volunteered a great amount of her time organizing and growing the league for 7 years.

Membership in the league grew each year to include more clubs and teams. The league is currently comprised of 35 teams from 18 different Montgomery County tennis clubs. The league now supports three levels, women 3.5, women 4.0 and men 4.0.

The league strives to be competitive but informal. Due to Washington DC traffic issues and this being an ‘evening’ league, the league encourages flexibility regarding the match start time. The league also strives to maintain a minimum set of rules. A team captain is required for each team and they may be a player on the team, a tennis professional, or anyone willing to collect & organize the players for the matches.

In 2010, Tennis Topia agreed to sponsor the league so that the league could improve even more. By sponsoring, the league now has this website containing schedules, standings, match results, club directions, rules, and contact information. The website also contains a blog (web log) to allow for tennis related discussions and the sharing of information. In exchange, the league was renamed to the “Tennis Topia League”. The league really appreciates Tennis Topia’s sponsorship and keeping the league going strong.

Matches are scheduled to begin at 6:30pm on Thursday evenings and aim to be completed by dusk as many of the facilities do not have outdoor lighting. The format of a the ladies match are 3 courts of doubles where court 1 is the strongest doubles pair. The mens matches consist of one singles court and 2 doubles courts. Approximately half of the matches are played at the home facility. Generally the home team will provide beverages and snacks after match play, and best of all, a little social time.

In 2013 we added a Men’s 4.0 evening. The men play their matches on Tuesday evenings, one court of singles and two of doubles. The first 6 teams to sign up in 2013 were Bretton Woods, Carderock Springs, Georgetown Prep, Palisades, Potomac Tennis Club, and Westleigh.

Forming New Teams

If a club is interested in forming a new team and joining the league, it is recommended they contact Deb Dager at deb@debdweb.com. In order to participate in the league, the club of the team must be able to provide three tennis courts and the tennis balls for approximately half of the season’s 13 weeks. There are no participation fees due to Tennis Topia’s sponsorship. Provision of water and towels is also appreciated when hosting along with post match beverages and snacks.