Hall of Famer Swain coming to Johnson City

Joe Avento • Updated Jun 14, 2016 at 5:39 PM

A racquetball legend is coming to Johnson City in a couple of weeks.

Cliff Swain, one of the best-known players of all time, will be at the Johnson City Racquetball Club on July 2 to do semi-private lessons, group lessons and a general clinic. He'll also take on Wesley Miller in an exhibition match later in the day.

"We're extremely lucky to get him," said Steve Miller, owner of the Johnson City Racquetball Club. "It would be like Jimmy Connors or John McEnroe coming to town."

Swain was the No. 1 player in the world six times and won the U.S. Open in 1997 and 2001. He was inducted into the USA Racquetball Hall of Fame in 2003.

He's now 50 years old, but still plays professionally and has been turning more of his attention to coaching.

"He's still playing, still competitive," Steve Miller said. "He makes his living in racquetball. After all these years, he's one of the few."

"He does lessons, clinics. I said 'Why not here?' We'll find enough racquetball players in the area. I'm already getting calls from people in Abingdon, Roanoke, Knoxville."

Wesley Miller, Steve's 40-year-old son, was a youth national champion in racquetball and only returned to the sport in recent years. He won the 35 age-group division at the U.S. Open.

The match between Swain and Miller will be a rematch of sorts. Swain beat Miller in a pro tournament in Tampa, Florida, on April 28, and that relationship helped get Swain to come to Johnson City.

Also in that Tampa event, Swain beat Charlie Pratt, the No. 9 player in the world.

"That was a big win, a 50-year-old beating a top-10 player," Steve Miller said. "In racquetball, you're old when you're 35 or 36. It's not like golf."

The lessons will begin at 8:30 a.m. Costs are $95 for the semi-private lesson, $45 for group lessons and $25 for the general clinic.

To make arrangements to participate in the lessons, call the club at 282-3091.

The exhibition match, scheduled for 1 p.m., will be open to the public and free.

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