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Florida Flex League Tennis Growing; New Cities Announced

August 6, 2009 07:00 AM
Approximately 700 Floridians are playing league tennis on their own terms less than six months since Flex League became part of the USTA Florida Leagues umbrella. The Flex League, which includes singles and doubles play, allows competitors to schedule their own matches within a 6-8 week period season.

Players track their progress and standings on the internet, with the winner of leagues with more than one flight determined by a playoff.

"These players like the flexibility because they have kids at home or a job that demands a lot of travel, but they still want to play and schedule tennis in their lives, that is why Flex Leagues are becoming the perfect convenience for that busy person," says Sandy Marshall, USTA Florida director of leagues. "It's going to fill a void for a lot of people."

Orlando is currently leading the way with the most USTA Florida Flex League players, followed closely by the tennis retirement mecca of Naples.

"I was really surprised looking at these numbers, because Orlando, and Naples which is primarily retired individuals, is out-performing Miami-Dade in terms of participation," Marshall said. "And I see room for much more growth when we get our TPCs (USTA Florida's regional Tennis Program Coordinators) involved in their respective  regions working with the Local Tennis Organizers. I think our participation numbers could be doubled, especially in Miami-Dade where the problem with court availability is a serious issue. The formation of active 'Player Advocacy Groups' are needed to play a role in bringing new public facilities into the area."

In addition to Orlando, Naples and Miami-Dade, Flex Leagues are also currently offered in Palm Beach County and St. Pete/Clearwater.

"My partner Lorraine and I thoroughly enjoyed playing in the Flex League this summer," said Susan Green of Sanford, who also received a $300 gift certificate for Tennis Warehouse as a Flex League Sweepstakes winner. "We both commented that we met some of the nicest people and played some really great matches. This was one of the best ways we have found to keep up with our tennis during the summer. It was a wonderful way to practice against different teams and try different strategies."

For the fall season (registration is open now), Tampa and Jacksonville Flex Leagues will also be rolled out, with registration closing in August and September respectively (check the schedule at www.ustaflex.com for more info). Daytona Beach and other additional Florida cities will be announced in the near future.

USTA Florida Flex League is for men and women 19 years and up, for playing levels from 2.5 to 5.0 and up. The 2.5 level is for beginners, while the 5.0 is for advanced players and current/former collegiate players or teaching pros. Singles, doubles, and mixed doubles play is available. Become a USTA member, or as a current USTA member you save $10 off the $35 league fee. The "home" player for each match on your schedule will supply the balls and choose a site, and pay if necessary for court time.

"I think its an excellent tool for people who want to be involved in a league that's flexible, when they haven't got the time to commit to play a regular weekly league," Marshall says. "I'll be playing in the Daytona Beach Flex League when it begins as I want to play, but don't have time to play in a regular weekly league."

To sign up for a Florida Flex League or to learn more, visit www.ustaflex.com.






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