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USTA Florida North/South Tennis Notes -- August 2009

August 3, 2009 07:00 AM

MaliVai Washington (right) presenting at the
year-end Foundation awards ceremony
The University of North Florida tennis teams, as well as all 17 of its sports teams, will be outfitted by Nike under a new deal that coincided with the university making the gradual jump to Division I status...Jacksonville's former ATP pro David Witt on how he began his now three-year relationship as a traveling hitting partner for Venus Williams: "It happened through an agent connection at IMG [International Management Group]," said Witt, speaking to the Florida Times-Union. "I started hitting with her when she came to Amelia Island. It's something I kind of approached to take it further. Until then, Venus was getting somebody different to hit with each tournament. When you're trying to prepare for a Grand Slam, you want to be comfortable with somebody so you can get things done. I think she trusts me and I trust her. We're both similar, very laid back, and that helps us get along real well."...Orlando native Michael Venus, a recent graduate of Louisiana State University, in July won the USTA Futures of Peoria title, his first pro event.

GAINESVILLE -- Tennis players and other high school athletes are invited to the free "Sports Medicine Jamboree," which will be held on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2009 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center. Sponsored by the Children's Miracle Network, the UF Department of Pediatrics, Alachua County Public Schools and St. Francis Catholic High School, the Jamboree seeks to educate parents and student athletes on appropriate nutrition before, during and after athletics; conditioning and training; heatstroke; head and spine injuries; prevention of overuse injuries and other topics. Approximately 650 participants are expected for the first-time event, which will include speakers from University of Florida sports medicine, health education and human performance colleges, among others. For more information or to register go to www.sportsmedicinejamboree.com.

JACKSONVILLE -- Adrienne Clark was named the 2009 MaliVai Washington Kids Foundation (MWKF) Player of the Year. Adrienne has been with MWKF since the 3rd grade and will be entering the 7th grade at Darnell Cookman, excelling both on and off the court. She will be recognized along with other award winners during The Kossak Companies Golf & Tennis Gala, the year-end MWKF awards gala, in September...

A turnout of 215 players ages 6 to 18 are participating in Northeast Florida's summer Junior Team Tennis (JTT) program in the greater Jacksonville area, according to JTT and QuickStart Local League Coordinator Diana Gardner. "Many thanks to all the clubs and facilities who made it happen...and more thanks to the captains and parents who coach and manage the teams," Gardner said. The five divisions with 26 teams include: Under-12 Beginner and Intermediate teams, Under-14 Inter./Adv. East and West, and Under-18 Inter./Adv. "Thanks to Dede Allen at St. Johns Golf, Chuck Hormann at Treaty Park, Larry Hedges at Mandarin, and Marie Waller at San Jose, 27 youngsters are playing the QuickStart format on 60-foot courts," Gardner added. "That is four teams in the Under-10 Beginners level." A free QuickStart participation event will also be held in conjunction with the Georgia/Florida Challenge JTT event on Saturday, Oct. 3 from 9 a.m.-noon for children age 10 and under, with racquets provided. For more info e-mail jrtennisjax@yahoo.com.

ORLANDO -- The fourth season of the Orlando Jr. Grand Prix series begins at Interlachen Country Club on Sept. 19, the series of one-day singles competition designed for novice players to gain experience in a round robin format to make the next step to sanctioned events, junior high and high school tennis. "The guaranteed time frame is what makes the Grand Prix so popular," says Henner Lenhardt, head tennis professional, Interlachen Country Club. "There is less waiting and more playing, and that leads to a positive first impression of the sport. The round robin format creates parity. The players do not have time to be demoralized or dominate. There are participation points, and points for first through fourth and a sportsmanship award." The series has partnered with Nancy Biggs and www.tenniscores.com to create the web site www.jrgrandprixtennis.com which contains match times, results, photos and tournament summaries. For more info you can also see a video on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeKNM485w2s. "There are three elements necessary for players to stay in the game," Lenhardt says. "The first is that they have friends that play; the second is that they improve, and the third is that they have fun...The second tennis boom is here as the game is growing in spite of poor economic times. The Orlando Jr. Grand prix combines old-school fun with new-school technology." For additional info on the Orlando Jr. Grand Prix series go to www.getcourtside.com.

PALM COAST -- Brian Gottfried was featured in a Mixed Doubles Exhibition Match at the Palm Coast Tennis Center on Friday, July 31, 2009. Gottfried, a long-time ATP Tour player, holds 16 singles titles and both the Wimbledon and French Open doubles titles. The match was followed by a Beat the Pro Doubles clinic. 

PENSACOLA -- The Youth Tennis Foundation (YTF) of Florida held its first-ever Junior Championships Tennis Tournament on the campus of Florida Gulf Coast University on July 4-5, featuring 32 participants. The YTF also announced its 2009 "Kelley Awards" scholarships, received from applications across the state. This year's winners were Rafael Alvarez of Miami, Jake Cole of Plant City, Brooke DeMorat of Merritt Island, Tristan Mignogna of Melbourne, Heather Peele of Apopka, and Courtney Zeng of Orlando. Established in 1962, the Youth Tennis Foundation of Florida, Inc., is a non-profit organization that offers support for the development of youth tennis in Florida.


20th anniversary of Florida Open (from left): Tournament
Co-director Lyn Bruner of Ft. Myers, Boys 18 winner
Matthew Braunworth of Boca Raton, and Tournament Co-
director Beth Behrhorst of Ft. Myers, at the conclusion of
the last match of the 20th anniversary Florida Open (photo
courtesy of
At 14 years and 5 months old, Boca Raton's Madison Keys become the youngest player in World TeamTennis history when she debuted for the Philadelphia Freedoms in July, and later in the month defeating Serena Williams 5-1 in singles...Tampa's Connor Smith, runner-up at the USTA Florida Jr. Closed Boys 18s this year, has committed to play for Florida State University...Pete Lashmet of West Palm Beach was the lone Florida participant at the USTA National Men's 45 Hard Court Championships in Westlake Village, Ca., losing in the second round to the No. 3 seed...Texas A&M men's tennis All-American Austin Krajicek of Brandon, Fla., reached the doubles final of the UBS Men's Futures of Pittsburgh in July with partner Rhyne Williams of the U.S...Wimbledon winner and Palm Beach Gardens resident Serena Williams visited President Barack Obama on July 14 at the White House. "I love President Obama; he has such an unbelievable presence, and he seems to be so normal -- and he noticed my shoes," Williams said. "I think that was the highlight of the whole day, was he liked my shoes." The younger Williams sister also got to meet Michelle Obama and the rest of the first family. "I didn't know she had such an amazing personality," Williams said. "She had me cracking up and laughing." And from her roomate, the 29-year-old Venus on when she will retire from pro tennis: "I'm planning on stopping when I'm terrible. As long as I'm doing great I have no plans of stopping."...Miramar's 14-year-old Sachia Vickery, who is now training at a French tennis academy, has reportedly turned pro...Representing Florida at the USTA Boys & Girls 16's Intersectionals in July at Shreveport, La., were St. Petersburg's Garrett Betsarakis and Emily Dvorak, Miami Beach's Shea Brodsky, Palm Beach's Zachary Krumholz, Naples' Natalia Maynetto, Delray Beach's Miles Ransom, West Palm Beach's Nicole Robinson, and Plantation's Kenneth Sabacinski. "The tennis was great and I met a lot of new people," Brodsky said. "This was the first time I've ever done housing with a family instead of staying at a hotel and I loved it. Our house family was so nice and they even came out and supported the team. I made new friends and new competition. In our free time we spent time with our team and our house families which was nice. We also got to experience a new city when our house family took us around Shreveport to do a little site seeing. I've always liked team competitions like Zonals and high school tennis but this was really different and I enjoyed every second of it."...Marco Island's Matt Browne finished runner-up in the 16s singles at the Wisconsin State Junior Open at Woodfield, Wis., and won the doubles with Wisconsin's Jack Porritt as an unseeded pair...Jose Gracia of Delray Beach upset No. 1 seed Nikko Madregallejo at the National Boys 14s Clay Courts in July...Former University of Miami women's tennis volunteer assistant coach Megan Bradley was hired in July as the head women's tennis coach at Princeton University...Sarasota's Taylor Albrecht will play tennis for the University of North Florida...Boca Raton's Madison Keys was featured in a Sports Illustrated article "Where Will They Be?" which went on, "These 14 teens have already found their places in the sun. Watch over the next few years to see how far their dreams will carry them -- to college stardom, professional titles or Olympic gold." The article said of the 14-year-old, "Madison made just one WTA start this year because of her age; she can play only a limited number of tournaments until she turns 18. Her goal is to win a Grand Slam title. Which of the four does she want most? "Any of the above."...Daniel O'Connor of Boca Raton and partner Hayden Sabatka won the doubles title in July as the No. 2 seeds at the USTA National Open Boys 14s in El Paso, Tx...Jeffrey MacKenzie of Surfside and partner Marshall Sharp, top-seeded at the USTA National Open Boys 14s in July at Little Rock, Ark., won the third-place playoff...No. 5 Dennis Novikov of Boca Raton beat top-seeded Connor Smith of Tampa in the final of the U.S. National Open Boys 18 in July at Tallahassee. Novikov also claimed the doubles title, teaming with John Yetimoglu of Miami to defeat Boris Bogomolov of Miami and Zach McCourt of Sunrise in the final. Top-seeded Danielle Collins of St. Petersburg won the third-place playoff in the Girls 18s bracket. Miramar's Kelsey Laurente and partner won the Girls 18 doubles, defeating Kelly Kambourelis of Melbourne and her partner. Gulf Breeze's Jacqueline Kasler and Jennifer Pfeifler won the third-place doubles playoff...No. 2-seeded Diana Kussainova of Windermere won the championship at the U.S. National Open Girls 12s in July in Lupton City, Tenn. Kussainova and partner Sofia Kenin of Pembroke Pines finished runners-up in the Girls 12s doubles...Boca Raton's Sloane Stephens of the World TeamTennis' New York Buzz beat Venus Williams of the Philadelphia Freedoms 5-3...Paul Walker of Lakeland will coach the women's team, and John Becker of Boca Raton will compete on the men's team at the 25th anniversary of the Invacare World Team Cup, the wheelchair equivalent of Davis Cup and Fed Cup. More than 30 countries will be represented on July 27-Aug. 2 at the Nottingham Tennis Centre in Nottingham, Great Britain...In July, 56-year-old Jan Proctor of Delray Beach won her first singles title, capturing the Midwest Wheelchair Tennis Championships at Orchard Hills Swim and Sports Club in Grand Rapids, Mich., along with the Women's Open Doubles title.

Bradenton resident Ryan Harrison sings during the Davis
Cup welcome dinner in Croatia during his rookie
indoctrination in July as a practice partner (photo
courtesy the Bryan brothers)
The Auburndale Tennis Center in July received a $45,000 USTA Public Facility Grant from the USTA national office. "A goal of the grant is to provide communities access to safe, appealing and functional tennis environments and we are happy to partner with the city to help achieve this goal in Auburndale," said USTA Chief Executive, Community Tennis, Kurt Kamperman. "The essence of this initiative is to assist communities leverage their tennis facilities to promote lifelong healthy activity and improve their programming by advancing the latest tennis innovations for all program types. Thank you for efforts to promote the game of tennis in your community and the commitment to keep the facility open to the public and provide programs for the next 5 years. I look forward to seeing the new courts and covered QuickStart court." City officials are eying the construction of a tennis complex similar to the Beerman Tennis Center in Lakeland. City of Auburndale Special Projects Director Cindy Hummel said the Auburndale building would be situated to overlook all eight new tennis courts, with construction slated for completion by mid-September this year.

BOCA RATON -- Former Top 10er Tim Mayotte has been hired as a USTA national coach, based at the USTA Training Center Headquarters in Boca Raton. Mayotte will facilitate coaching and training programs while working with players in the USTA Player Development program. He will report to Jay Berger, director of men's tennis, USTA Player Development.

BROWARD/PALM BEACHES -- The deadline is Aug. 30 for the Palm Tennis Mixed Doubles Fall League, with play beginning Oct. 11. The interclub is league offered in three regions: Broward, South Palm Beach and North Palm Beach, with levels 4.0, 3.5 and Senior 3.5/under (age 50 ). Matches will be played on Sundays at 11 a.m (or earlier if both captains agree), and three mixed doubles positions will be fielded each week. Winners will advance to the South Florida Finals. For more info contact Ann Bent at ann@palmtennis.com or (561) 289-2299, or Orly Mayron at orly@palmtennis.com or (561) 212-1641.

LAKELAND -- The Florida Southern College women's tennis team was one of 32 in the U.S. to be recognized as an All-Academic team for the 2008-2009 season by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.

Miami's Royal Palm Tennis Club's all-women
build for Habitat for Humanity
Women from the Royal Palm Tennis Club dropped their tennis racquets to tie toolkits to their hips, grab a hammer and nails and volunteer their time to help build a Miami Habitat for Humanity house in Liberty City. It was all part of an all-Women's build for a family of four, and by the end of July, the Flennory family of four were anticipating owning their first home, with the women from the Royal Palm Tennis Team invited to the housewarming celebration. "It was a very fulfilling day for all of us," said participant Jocelyn MacNair. "We had more fun than we ever could imagine and it was all for a wonderful cause."

POMPANO BEACH -- You've probably seen the "Cash4Gold" commercials on TV, which entices people to mail in their old gold jewelry for cash. After Wimbledon, the Pompano Beach-based company invited Wimnbledon champs Serena Williams and Roger Federer to appear in a Cash4Gold commercial and have their championship trophies appraised. The company has featured past celebrity endorsers MC Hammer and the late Ed McMahon of The Tonight Show. "Cash4Gold is pleased to invite these two tennis legends to appear in a Cash4Gold commercial, and we would be glad to provide them both with free appraisals of their hard-earned trophies," said Cash4Gold CEO Jeff Aronson. Both the Williams and Federer camps have taken a silent "pass" on the offer.

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour announced in July that Stacey Allaster, the tour's president since 2006, would fill the vacated chairman and CEO position left by long-time leader Larry Scott. Allaster will continue to be based at the tour's U.S. headquarters in St. Petersburg. "I am honored to lead the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, which since its founding by Billie Jean King 36 years ago has continued to break barriers and grow into a premier global sporting league," said the 46-year-old Allaster.

Doral pro Ernesto Rachi (left) celebrated July 4 with
his family playing tennis at JC Bermudez Park
Local music producer and entrepreneur Bill Edwards bought the Treasure Island Tennis & Yacht Club from Regions Bank for approximately $8 million after the club filed bankruptcy, saying he will make few changes in the way the club is run, and retain all employees. The club was founded in 1986 and as of its bankruptcy filing had 450 members, off from its peak of 700.


Professional Tennis Registry (PTR) will hold its Professional Development Weekend on Sept. 17-20, 2009. PTR Headquarters on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, is the site of the annual event, which will feature on-court and classroom topics include The Millennium Forehand, Teaching & Practicing Motor Skills, 101 Drills & Games, Physical Skill Development, Coaching League Doubles, Programs and Lesson Plans, and more. The event is open to PTR members for $275, and to non-members for $325. For the full schedule, accommodations and information about Professional Development Weekend or to register go to www.ptrtennis.org or call PTR at 800-421-6289.

A new promotion by the Tennis Industry Association (TIA), designed to drive consumer awareness of tennis while helping to stimulate retail sales, will offer a once-in-a-lifetime chance for a lucky winner to serve for $1 million and win a trip to the US Open. For the promotion "Racket Up, America!" anyone who buys a new tennis racket -- of any brand, and at any tennis retailer or pro shop -- from July 15 through Sept. 30, 2009, could win a chance to serve for the $1 million grand prize, along with a trip for two to the finals of the 2010 US Open. The serve for $1 million will take place at the BNP Paribas Showdown in New York's Madison Square Garden on March 1, during Tennis Night in America. Consumers register their racket purchase at playtennis.com/million -- and they're immediately entered to win. Also available will be other prizes totaling $10,000. More information is at playtennis.com/million and playtennis.com/partner.

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