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Florida Tennis Briefs(6): USTA Youth Registration, 10 and Under Match Club, More

January 27, 2012 01:00 PM
'March' Into Tennis with USTA Youth Registration, Play Day Events

Youth Registration
Play Days
Kids Tennis Clubs
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) is already accepting registrations to partner with tennis facilities and clubs to host USTA Youth Registration events and USTA Play Days, leading into its "March Into Tennis" campaign to register youth for play opportunities in 2012.

Nine Florida facilities have already registered to host USTA Youth Registration events, Play Days, or to start a Kids' Tennis Club. Facilities signing-up will receive USTA national and local public relations support, geo-targeted online advertising, turnkey marketing materials, a $50 event pack voucher, a downloadable how-to guide, and national promotion on Nickelodeon and ESPN2 beginning in February to drive children and parents to local clubs. Events can be held any time through the month of March or beyond.

Early facility/club sign-ups in Florida include:

Apopka -- Apopka Tennis Academy
Auburndale -- Cindy Hummel Tennis Center
Daytona Beach -- Florida Tennis Center
Fort Myers -- Lee County Community Tennis Association   
Kissimmee -- Play the Clay Tennis
Largo -- City of Largo  
Pembroke Pines -- GTC Tennis Consultancy Inc.
St. Augustine -- Tennis4All @ Treaty Park
Titusville -- Titusville YMCA   

"The annual March Youth Registration events are great ways to get players to come out and connect with exciting new programs such as 10 and Under Tennis and Jr. Team Tennis," says USTA Florida Associate Executive Director Andy McFarland. "Clubs and facilities can sign-up kids for upcoming Spring and Summer tennis programs and other offerings."

Play Days are events to introduce kids to competition in a fun, low-pressure setting where results are not documented and kids have the opportunity to get additional play experience. Kids' Tennis Club is a program that allows kids to sample tennis through supervised play and interactive activities.

The month's activity will come together early on March 5 with the television broadcast of Tennis Night in America from Madison Square Garden in New York City on ESPN3 in prime time and re-run at 11:30 p.m. on ESPN2, featuring the BNP Paribas Showdown with Maria Sharapova vs. Caroline Wozniacki, and Roger Federer vs. Andy Roddick.

For more information on these programs, USTA Youth Registration and more, go to www.usta.com/Coaches-Organizers/event_calendar/.


USTA Florida Debuts 10 and Under Tennis 'Match Club'

USTA Florida will debut the "Match Club" for tennis players age 10 and under in 2012, where players can earn a year-end colored bag tag inscribed personally with the players name to indicate their club level.

Players will need to meet the following criteria by year's end to reach the club level:
Bronze Club -- 15 or more tournament matches in 2012
Silver Club -- 30 or more tournament matches in 2012
Gold Club -- 50 or more tournament matches in 2012
Platinum Club -- 60 or more tournament matches in 2012

USTA Florida will be selecting players for select 10 and under tournaments, such as the USTA Florida State Closed, based exclusively on number of matches played.

"USTA Florida is very excited to announce the Match Club for 10 and under players in lieu of 10 and under rankings," said USTA Florida Competitive Tennis Coordinator Andy Gladstone. "The Match Club is a new concept that promotes play by giving incentives to players who play more sanctioned tournament matches in 2012. USTA Florida's decision to disband 10 and under rankings was based on careful research from industry experts who felt there was too much emphasis on winning, and not enough on long-term game development and fun."

Results will be posted quarterly on the USTA Florida website's 10 and Under Tennis section, and players reaching the match milestones will receive a commemorative USTA Florida bag tag inscribed personally with the player's name.

"USTA Florida feels this decision will help the 10 and under group grow compared to other youth sports," Gladstone said.

Look for the quarterly 10 and Under Match Club standings at www.florida.usta.com/Tournaments/10_and_under_tennis_tournaments/.
 
Match Club results start as of Jan. 1, 2012.


Lee County, Fla., Parks & Rec. Receives USTA National Tennis Grant

lee county thumbnail web.jpgLee County Parks & Recreation has been announced as the recipient of a $3,900 USTA Facility Grant award from the United States Tennis Association (USTA) national body for tennis court renovations to the Veteran Park Tennis Center in the Fort Myers, Fla. Grant funding will be used for 10 and Under Tennis court lining, and courts lined for short-court tennis play for seniors.

Veteran Park Tennis Center will receive court renovations, joining Hancock Park Tennis Center, Rutenberg Park Tennis Center and Three Oaks Park Tennis Center in Lee County that have recently undergone renovations to accommodate 10 and Under Tennis.

"We appreciate the support in these tough economic times. The grant is going to help us convert the existing courts into one of four newly formed tennis centers in Lee County," said Lee County Parks & Recreation Planner Lee Lamey. "Up until recently, the courts were being used for both tennis and basketball. As part of this conversion, we will be removing the existing basketball nets and lines as there is already a separate basketball facility on-site. One of the things that we are most excited about is the addition of permanent QuickStart lines. These will enable the instructors to teach 10 and Under Tennis to kids with greater ease. These lines will also be used to start-up a Senior Mini Tennis initiative in this area."

A goal of the USTA Facility Grant is to provide communities access to safe, appealing and functional tennis environments, says USTA national's Virgil Christian, director of Community Tennis Development.

"We are happy to partner with the Lee County Parks and Recreation to help achieve these goals in Fort Myers," Christian said. "The essence of this initiative is to assist communities, leveraging their tennis facilities to promote lifelong healthy activity, and to improve their programming by advancing the latest tennis innovations for all program types."

The USTA Facility Grants are part of the USTA's plans to invest more than $5 million over the next three years to foster growth in 10 and Under Tennis in hundreds of markets across the country. USTA facility assistance programs offers competitive grant applications to tennis facilities that are open to the public and meet other public service guidelines.

"The grant is going to help us maintain the integrity of these courts," Lamey added. "This is important because, to my knowledge, there are very few hardcourts open to the public in this part of Lee County."  


USTA Florida Pensacola Adult Clay Court Chps. in February

roger scott tennis center signThe Pensacola Adult Clay Court Championships Designated will be held on Feb. 16-19, 2012, at the claycourts of Roger Scott Tennis Center in Pensacola, Fla.

Age divisions will be men's and women's Open, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70 and 80 singles and doubles with a first-match consolation, and mixed Open, 35 and 45 with a first-match consolation. Play will begin on late Thursday afternoon for any of the 50-and-over divisions that have draws bigger than eight. All other divisions could begin on Friday morning, depending on the size of the draw.

Entry fees are $43.50 per player for the first event and $23 per player for the second event. Players may enter one singles and one doubles or mixed doubles. Or, they may enter a doubles and a mixed doubles but NOT two same-gender doubles or two mixed, i.e. Men's 40 and 50 doubles or Open and 35 mixed.
 
Entry is online at http://tennislink.usta.com/TOURNAMENTS/TournamentHome_New/Tournament.aspx?T=113939
 
"We hope that this first adult USTA Florida sanctioned tourney in Pensacola will get a good reception from area players," said organizer and referee Scott Harrison. "We will lunch on Friday and Saturday, have t-shirts, and free coffee, hot chocolate, fruit and healthy snacks throughout the tournament."


Williams Sisters, McHale, Huber Named to U.S. Fed Cup vs. Belarus

 
mary joe fernandez
U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez
The USTA and U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez announced that 13-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams will be joined by her sister Venus Williams, Christina McHale, and world No. 1 doubles player Liezel Huber in representing the U.S. against Belarus in the 2012 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II First Round at the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass., Feb. 4-5, 2012. Sloane Stephens will also come to Worcester to train with the team.

Current world No. 3 Victoria Azarenka is expected to lead the Belarusian team.

The best-of-five match series begins on Saturday, Feb. 4, with two singles matches and is followed by two reverse singles matches and the doubles match on Sunday, Feb. 5.  Tennis Channel will present daily coverage beginning at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday and noon ET on Sunday. 

The match will mark the first-ever meeting between the U.S. and Belarus in Fed Cup competition. The winner of this match will advance to the World Group Playoff and play for a chance to compete for the Fed Cup title in 2013. The loser will compete in the World Group II Playoff and will either maintain its status in World Group II for the following year or be relegated to zonal competition.

"I am looking forward to having Serena and Venus on the team for the first time since I became U.S. Fed Cup captain. They bring so much to this team, not only for what they can do on court, but the influence they will have on Christina and the rest of the team," said U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez. "Victoria is playing the best tennis I have seen from her, so we are excited to be facing Belarus in our first match in the United States in two years."

Serena Williams will make her first appearance in Fed Cup since 2007. The 19-year-old McHale will be making her second consecutive appearance on the U.S. Fed Cup team and third overall. Venus Williams will be making her first appearance in sanctioned competition since the 2011 US Open when she revealed she had been diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome.

Huber has won six of her eight career matches for the U.S. Fed Cup team, including tie-clinching semifinal matches in both 2009 and 2010 with partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands. 
 
For more information, including access to player and historical Fed Cup records, please go to www.usta.com/fedcup

 
Coral Gables, Tallahassee to Host Women's College Tennis ITA Kick-Off Tournaments

ITA kick-off weekendThe spring season of collegiate tennis shifts into full gear Jan. 27-30, 2012, during the annual ITA Kick-Off Weekend. Sixty schools will be competing across the country for the 15 vacant spots at the ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championship, to be hosted next month by the University of Virginia.

The 15 universities hosting ITA Kick-Off Weekend events were designated as host sites in order of their year-end 2011 Campbell/ITA team ranking. Three visiting schools will travel to each host site for a four-team tournament. The host school will meet the No. 4 seed, the No. 2 seed will play the No. 3 seed, and the winners will come back the following day to play for a berth at the ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championship.

The Miami Hurricanes will host in Coral Gables as the top seed, welcoming No. 2 seed South Florida, No. 3 seed University of California-Santa Barbara, and No. 4 seed Cal State Northridge.

The Hurricanes have a talented one-two punch at the top of their lineup, but will rely on a handful of untested newcomers at the bottom, which makes them one of the more vulnerable host schools during ITA Kick-Off Weekend. While four Hurricanes' underclassmen did not compete in the fall, Miami No. 1 Anna Bartenstein posted a 20-5 record in six tournaments, picking up 13 wins over ranked opponents along the way. Bartenstein is ranked No. 15 in the country, while teammate Gabriela Mejia is No. 39.

Most likely to test the Hurricanes on their home courts is South Florida. Bulls' No. 1 Ecaterina Vasenina defeated Bartenstein 7-6(6), 7-6(6) at a fall event in Orlando, while Bulls' No. 2 Danielle Mills will be extra motivated after playing her first two seasons for Miami.

Florida State hosts in Tallahassee as the top seed, welcoming No. 2 seed Texas A&M, No. 3 Ole Miss, and No. 4 Ohio State.
 
After a memorable run to the ACC final in 2011, Florida State was fairly inactive during the fall. Consequently, the Seminoles were missing entirely from the latest Campbell/ITA singles and doubles rankings. With four newcomers and no seniors on the roster, the Seminoles will be hard-pressed to get off to a fast start in 2012.

FSU is hosting two of the more dangerous road teams participating in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend: Texas A&M and Ole Miss. The Aggies boast three ranked singles players, led by No. 11 Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar, a Maryland transfer who reached the USTA/ITA Texas Regional final and posted a win this fall over USTA/ITA National Indoors champion Marta Lesniak of SMU.

Ole Miss senior Kristi Boxx also enjoyed a successful fall season, earning a No. 12 ranking in singles and the No. 4 spot in doubles with Abby Guthrie. Boxx won the USTA/ITA Southern Regional singles title. Ohio State will bring in the No. 52 doubles team in the nation in Kara Cecil and Kelsey Dieters.

For more info go to www.itatennis.com.



 
 

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