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Blogs: USTA Florida at 2009 USTA League/Tournament Nationals

October 15, 2009 07:00 PM
USTA Florida Blog from:

USTA League Women's 3.0 Senior National Championships
Oct. 30-Nov. 1, 2009
Tucson, Arizona

by Margie McLellan

Saturday, Oct. 31, 2009

Our team gathered at the courts again in the early morning hours for a brief warm-up before the day's matches. We were very enthused about attempting a strong victory over Southern, which would tie us for first place with Northern California in our flight. However, that was not to be. We won only one of our three courts against Southern's Alabama team. So, the pressure was on to sweep Northern California when those matches started at 10:30 a.m.

Michelle and Linda won their court in straight sets at #3, and our players won their first sets easily at #1 and 2 courts. We were beginning to think "sweep" but then a few minutes found our teams in intense battles to survive their second sets. At both #1 and #2, our opponents fought their way back to win the second sets.
Once again, we faced a nail-biting third-set tiebreak showdown. Our team was confident that we were the tiebreak comeback kids during this tournament, so we were sure to win one, if not both, of these third sets. A few seconds later, or so it seemed, we were watching the scores heavily against our players, 3-6 in one tiebreak, and 4-9 in the other. Almost before we could exhale, it was over. Our run came to a startling conclusion on this nice sunny day in Arizona. 

Our road to the Nationals this year has been a wonderful experience. The great camaraderie, the outpouring of support from our Citrus Hills community in Florida, the opportunity to travel and compete, and the overall sportsmanship of the other teams at Nationals have all contributed to create lasting memories.

Tomorrow many of us will continue our Arizona travels to enjoy new sights and new experiences; some will visit the Grand Canyon, others head to Sedona, or to lodges in the foothills for some well-deserved relaxation. Once home, we'll look forward to more USTA competition in 2010 and beyond, because we agree that tennis truly is a sport for a lifetime.

USTA League Women's 3.0 Senior National Championships
Oct. 30-Nov. 1, 2009
Tucson, Arizona

by Margie McLellan

Friday, Oct. 30, 2009

What a fantastic day of competition! Our players were warmed up and ready to go for the 7:30 a.m. match against Texas on this cold but sunny morning.   

At court #3, serving at 1-4 in the first set, Diane and Margie went for down-the-line winners, some sharp crosscourt shots, and occasional lobs to even the score at 4-4. However, we were unable to hold off the Texas players from their 6-4 win in the first.  One of our opponents raised the level of her game by becoming very aggressive at net, and we found ourselves hitting up on shots at our feet...and then they were able to put away their next shot. In retrospect, we could have tried some new strategies, such as playing one up, one back to prevent the shoelaces shots, and challenged them with some lobs to keep them off the net. Instead, we stuck with our game plan and suffered a disappointing loss.

Meanwhile, our #2 court players, Karen and Karen were enjoying a straight-set victory. They put into practice the wise advice to "play your game, play within yourself, and refocus after missing a shot." In long rallies, they stayed focused and played patiently until they were able to get the put-away shot.

Kris and Betty, at #1 court, provided a thrilling cliff-hanger of a match. After losing the first set 3-6, they came back in the second to bring it to a tiebreak. For the fans and teammates cheering them on, this was a real nail-biter, as they were down 3-6 -- several match points against. Even so, they felt confident in a tiebreak situation due to the many team practices that incorporated tiebreakers all summer. They were able to stay focused on the next point by talking and strategizing together. They concentrated on playing one point at a time to tie-up the score and then to pull ahead, winning the second set!

Now, they were pumped for the third-set 10-point tiebreak. This set went neck and neck, with the fans on both sides alternately cheering and biting their nails. Finally, the score was 10-9, and Kris and Betty were able to win the point for a well-fought victory of 11-9! This gave our team the 2-1 overall win for the match.

Next up, we faced Pacific Northwest. Linda and Michelle won in straight sets, Ginny and Ann lost in straight sets, and we were once again treated to a nerve-wracking three setter at court #1 with Kathy and Maria. This was truly a hard-fought battle. The first set went to a tiebreak yet again, and resulted in a 6-7 win for the opponents. Then, you guessed it: the second set resulted in a 7-6 victory for us. So, on to another third-set tiebreak, with the stress levels of the fans and teammates running very high. Every winner by either side was greeted with both wild applause and subdued sighs. Our team was behind, so it was a constant uphill battle. Then, one winning shot after another went our way. Maria and Kathy pulled off a great victory for another overall 2-1 team win.

All of our team members commented on how nice the opposing players were, with everyone demonstrating good sportsmanship on the courts. It seems that there are lots of wonderful people in the tennis communities across the nation.

After a celebratory drink at the bar in the lobby, we have once again scattered to various activities: a scenic drive to Mt. Lemmon, museum trip for the Ansel Adams exhibit, golfing for some of the husbands. Looking forward to another day of great competition and camaraderie tomorrow!

USTA League Women's 3.0 Senior National Championships
Oct. 30-Nov. 1, 2009
Tucson, Arizona

by Margie McLellan

Thursday, Oct. 29, 2009

Despite unusually cold temperatures diving into the 30s, our Florida women's 3.0 team received a warm welcome in Tucson. For several of us, it is our first visit to the area, so we are intrigued with the desert and mountain scenery that are so different from Florida!

The 12 members of our team (as well as some of our spouses) arrived a couple days early to do some exploring or visit with friends in AZ. So far we've participated in a variety of Southwest activities: some have played golf, hiked in the desert and the foothills, visited the Desert Museum, others have seen one or more of the missions, and toured the historic downtown district.  A bunch of us stormed The Pueblo Grill for dinner on Wednesday night.

On Thursday morning, all 12 of us took to the courts for a team practice, and were pleasantly surprised that we could soon discard the fleece and warm up pants as the air warmed up. But watch out; the temps are predicted to be near freezing again tonight, and our first match is scheduled for the pre-sun hour of 7:30 tomorrow morning. Well, to us Floridians, the late fall air is refreshing!

The welcome banquet this evening provided a good time: an extensive buffet, a number of drawings for new tennis bags (one of our players, Kathy, was a winner!). This was followed by dancing to the music of a very entertaining DJ, spinning lots of our favorite oldies.

Well, some of us have an early, EARLY match tomorrow, so updates to follow.

USTA National Husband-Wife Clay Court Championship
Oct. 23-25, 2009
Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

By Larry Bush, Ocala

Sunday, Oct. 25, 2009

Sunday morning

After cramping last night I slept like a baby -- I woke up every two hours crying.

But, it is finals Sunday, and the Carl sons are waiting.

Later Sunday morning

That didn't take long. Carlson won the 100s 6-1, 6-1. The good news is, there were no bagels for the Bushes this year. Woo Hoo!

The real final for the Husband-Wife tournament is also over. The Vermeers beat the Edges 6-0, 6-4, in a great match. I'm not sure what game those people played, but it didn't look like the game called tennis that I play. There were some great shots and tremendous returns.

All I know is Debbie and I did not get bageled in our finals.

Firehouse Subs was again the sponsor and provided free lunches for the entire weekend. Please eat at Firehouse this week. Tell them you are there because they support tennis. It really does make a difference.

Saturday (late pm)

Cramps, beers and some great tennis.

The finals are set for tomorrow morning. We have Mike and Krysta Edge against Trudy and Frank Vermeer in the finals. Ought to be a good one.

In the Age Combined 100, it is Anne and Marc Carlson against Debbie and me. We won a hard third set in the semis, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 against Josef and Lidia Vesely. At 4-1 in the third set, my calves and thighs cramped so bad I fell to the ground like a wet bag of sand. After a rub down and some bandages, we were fortunate to pull it out 6-1.

It is going to be a long night, but we're headed to Pusser's for dinner to meet the Edges and join former ATP big wig Weller Evans and his daughter Sammy. It think Guinness is good for medicinal purposes, isn't it?


2009 USTA League 3.5 Senior National Championship
Oct. 23-25, 2009
Indian Wells, Calif.

By Connie Fenchel

Saturday, Oct. 24, 2009

WOO HOOOOO...After our night of margartias, castinets and a strolling Mariachi at the local Mexican restarant, we all won our matches in 2 sets!  We played the Eastern team from Long Island, a very nice group of women. Martha and Dianne won it again in spite of Dianne dropping her racquet in the middle of a point, retrieving her racquet and winning the point. Sandy and Marie cruised through their match against a very strong team. Janice and I played a competitive team and had some great points in spite of a less-than-pleasant court official. Winning all three positions was a wonderful way to finish our final day at Indian Wells.
We are now just hanging out and enjoying the area for the next 2 days. There is something to be said for not having the stress of competing in the finals.
We would like to thank USTA Florida for their support in our efforts to get to the finals. Also, members of Oceans Racquet Club and the City of Daytona Beach Shores for their encouragement and support. And thanks to all of our families, friends and fans for being there for us. Special thanks to Nancy's husband Steve for coming to all of our matches and cheering us on and my sister, Michaelene, and friend, Bonnie for coming to be here with us.


 On the grass court at the ATP headquarters

USTA National Husband-Wife Clay Court Championship
Oct. 23-25, 2009
Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

By Larry Bush, Ocala

Saturday, Oct. 24, 2009

It was a great night at the beautiful Ocean Club last night for the player dinner. Right on the beach with a breeze.

Looks like everyone had a fun time and stayed to talk a while. Everyone knows there is a lot of tennis on Saturday so everyone went home early. It's like Michael Edge said on the way home when he and his wife, Krysta, rode with Debbie and I. "This may be the only time I've had a designated driver and not taken advantage of it."

Lots of conversation about former champions and others who didn't/couldn't make it back this year. Jonathan Barth even made a preventative phone call to me because he knew we were at dinner. After his call, it reminded us about his 6-0, 6-0 finals loss to Paul and Kathy Settles one year.

Coming to the Husband-Wife is like a family reunion.

Take a look at the picture (to come). This is my imitation of Phil Dore doing the draw. We've only been out of the first round once in eight years of coming. Our only hope is the consolation, which will be tough too.

I've never been so happy to qualify for the Age Combined 100s.

USTA National Husband-Wife Clay Court Championship
Oct. 23-25, 2009
Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

By Larry Bush, Ocala

Friday, Oct. 23, 2009

Opening day of the USTA Nation Husband/Wife Clay Court Championship and we are in the backdraw after a really great match against Anne and Marc Carlson. We lost the first set in a tiebreaker after being up 5-4 and 6-5. They played very well in the second and we did not adjust.

For some reason there are a lot of spectators here this year. They are watching a match between Parker/Kuchar and the No. 4 seeds Trudy and Frank Vermeer. Lots of folks cheering for Parker/Kuchar. She looks like a great player. I gotta Google her and see what the big deal is. Be right back.

Holy smokes! Now I see why everyone is watching the match...She played No. 2 at Georgia Tech. The girl can play! Her husband is someone named Matt Kuchar. He looks OK -- a tall, thin guy with a big serve. All tall thin guys have a big serve.

The weather is beautiful and there is lots of tennis left to be played.

The gift bag was very special this year. We got a great-looking shirt, hats, ATP World Tour Official Guide and some strings.  Tournament Director Phil Dore went all out making sure we all got collector items. We have a 2009 calendar (good for another 2 months) and cleared out all of the old ATP logoed hats. I'm not going to use mine. I'll put them on Ebay and see what I can get.

Be back soon. I need to go watch Sybi play.

2009 USTA League 3.5 Senior National Championship
Oct. 23-25, 2009
Indian Wells, Calif.

By Connie Fenchel

Friday, Oct. 23, 2009

Life is great at Indian Wells!! Our 3.5 women's senior team from Daytona Beach is having a blast! 

We are writing this group blog from a "luxurious" suite at the Best Western hosted by Dianne. Our signature drink is "2 buck chuck" from Trader Joes available in red or white varietals. Finding the local Trader Joe's was the highlight of the day for those of us from the North. We have the most fantastic group of ladies on this team!!! Everyone is supportive, friendly, happy and easy-going.  Apparently that is not the case on all teams out here.
Our first match this morning, at 9am against Mid-Atlantic was a tough one. Dianne and Martha played their usual frustrating game against their opponents and won in 2 sets. Phyllis and Nancy lost a very close gut-wrenching (Phyllis' gut) match in a second set tiebreak. Sandy and Marie also had a grueling very close match that could have gone either way...unfortunately it went the wrong way. The Mid-Atlantic team was very solid, steady and competitive.
Our second match at 2pm against New England was equally challenging. Martha and Dianne had a repeat performance and won handily.  Again, their opponents left the court wondering whatever happened to them.

On top of that, Martha and Dianne are the "cutest" team out here...that further infuriated their opponent. Sandy and Nancy almost pulled off a win against a very talented team. Janice and I had an equally heartbreaking loss in a third-set tiebreak after winning the first set 6-1.  We learned a new term from our opponents, "cooperative tennis," during the warm-up...go figure...
So, you would think after what appears to be disheartening news, our team would be dejected and forlorn. Au contraire...we're off to Margaritaville to strategize about our big win at tomorrow morning's match.


 The tennis center at Indian Wells

2009 USTA League 3.5 Senior National Championship
Oct. 23-25, 2009
Indian Wells, Calif.

By Connie Fenchel

Thursday, Oct. 22, 2009

The 3.5 Women's team from Daytona Beach have all arrived in Indian Wells well and accounted for. Several of us had great stories to share regarding our trips. We agreed that Janice Gennone had the best story about her seatmate on the flight out here....one of the actual "Real Housewives of Atlanta." 

I got stuck in a beautiful snowstorm in Denver. Sandy Smith-Johnson and Marie Bracciale drove up from San Diego and Martha Janus, Dianne Krupski and Phyllis Vance woke up at 4:30am for their cross country flight. Nancy Miles and her husband, Steve, had an uneventful flight into Ontario and were very impressed with Ontario airport.

This evening we had a great time at the players party around the pool at the host hotel, complete with DJ and dancing. We had hoped to find the team that we face tomorrow morning to plow them with drinks...but they could not be found...they probably were practicing while we were loading our plates at the sumptuous buffet.

Our first match is tomorrow (Friday) morning at 9:00am. Everyone is very excited and ready to WIN!

We'll send photos and an update tomorrow.


From left: Julie Claude and partner Susan Anderson before
going on the court to play Northern

2009 USTA League 4.0 Senior National Championship
Oct. 16-18, 2009
Indian Wells, Calif.

By Julie Claude

Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009

Greetings once again from the Florida 4.0 Ladies team. We are sad to report we played our final match today. 

We needed all the stars to align properly today for us to be able to advance to the finals on Sunday. We did our part by winning the match against Northern. Unfortunately, Southern Calif. managed to win 2 courts against New England to earn their position in the finals. As a result, Southern Calif. won our flight -- congrats to them and good luck!
On a positive note, we are happy to report all of our players survived the heat (barely in one case!) and are still healthy. We played the tournament with a limited number of players -- only 7 were able to travel. We missed Eileen greatly and are sorry she could not be with us in person!!! The tournament desk shared with us there were record number of players being carried off by ambulance. NOT a good way to end your Nationals experience!

From left: Mary Ellen Stewart and partner Joan Fraiser
getting ready for 3rd match

Now that we are not in the finals on Sunday, we have a day to site see. We are looking forward to going to higher elevation tomorrow in search of cooler weather! Also, we are very happy to know we will be flying home to Florida weather and NOT snow like many of the players.
We will look through our pictures and post any we think may be of interest once we return home.
I want to give a special thanks to my partner, Susan Anderson, for a very special Nationals experience. Thanks to our captain, Gail Neufeld, for putting together the team.

2009 USTA League 4.0 Senior National Championship
Oct. 16-18, 2009
Indian Wells, Calif.


Before the first match vs. New England -- left to right: Mary Ellen Stewart,
Susan Anderson, Joan Frazier, Sue Ammerman, Barb Slavin, Julie Claude,
and Gail Neufeld (captain)

By Julie Claude

Friday, Oct. 16, 2009

Florida was off to a great start by winning our first match. 1st position won 6-3 and 6-3, 2nd struggled and lost in straight sets so it came down to 3rd position. Of course. We dragged it out and finally pulled it out 13-11 in the 3rd set.

We had a very quick turn around and were right back on the court to play Southern Calif.

First position was fresh and ready to get started. They had a slow start and Florida was able to get off to a quick lead winning the 1st set 6-2. The 2nd set was closer with us coming from behind and winning 7-5.

3rd position was off the court quickly. The heat was a factor hitting 100 today. 2nd position played their hearts out and could not quite get it to a 3rd set. 

So, we now have to hope Southern Calif. loses tomorrow so we have a chance to advance. We realize the odds are not great, but we will continue to do our best in the morning vs. Northern.

Now the big decision is where to have dinner!

Look for updates tomorrow.

2009 USTA League 4.0 Senior National Championship
Oct. 16-18, 2009
Indian Wells, Calif.


The Florida 4.0 ladies from Daytona Beach -- Left to right: Barb Slavin,
Julie Claude, Sue Ammerman, Susan Anderson, Joan Frazier,
Mary Ellen Stewart, and Gail Neufeld

By Julie Claude

Thursday, Oct. 15, 2009

Greetings from the ladies 4.0 Florida team. We have all finally arrived in Indian Wells. We had a team bonding lunch to kick off our Nationals experience followed by a practice at Indian Wells.

Our captain called ahead and arranged a practice against some of the local ladies. Since we all normally play on clay, we were happy to spend a little time on the purple courts.

The facility is nestled in the valley surrounded by amazing mountains. We had to concentrate hard on keeping our eye on the ball and not get distracted by the majestic views!!!

Tonight is the players party. We will have our first opportunity to size up the competition!!!

Our first match is tomorrow morning at 9:00 with the 2nd match scheduled for 12:30. We hope to have good results to report tomorrow!!!

Stay tuned for an update!!!


 Team captain Gail Neufeld

USTA League 2.5 Adult National Championships
Oct. 9-11, 2009
Indian Wells, Calif.

By Kevin Kintzele, Ocala 2.5 men's team

Sunday, Oct. 11, 2009

Good Morning Florida,

Well I have to give the outcome. We were in a must-win situation Saturday AM playing against Northern California. My partner and I won our doubles match but we lost our other doubles court so once again it was up to Dr O. This was a wild match.

Dr. O lost the first set 7-6 in a tie breaker. He was down 5-2 in the 2nd when his opponent started to cramp severely. He called for a trainer and played on. It was painful to watch. He played the next 3 games barely moving his legs. Chris came back and led 6-5 before his opponent began to move better. His opponent won the last game to force another tiebreaker. Dr. O fell in the tiebreak 10-6. Chris played his heart out but fell a little short. A big hats off to his opponent for not quitting. As an FYI this team is in the semiinals today!

Our last match was against Puerto Rico who was 3-0 and clearly the dominant team in this tourney. Their singles players won all 3 matches 6-0. We were up for the challenge but lost 0-3. My partner and I lost our match against the doubles team that had lost only a few games in 3 matches 6-0 7-5. We actually had them in the second set but could not pull it out. After the match all the wives came by our team and said "you all played the best tennis they have ever seen in a match."

Jeff, oursingles player, lost 6-1 6-2 but after the match his opponent said he was the best singles player he played in the tourney.  So although we lost, we left on a very high note and this helped soothe the sting. This was an experience of a lifetime and one we will never forget.

Our captain, Cameron, did an excellent job this year and not only helped orchestrate our championship run but made the last 9 months truly enjoyable. A big thanks to the Ft. King Tennis Center as well. Leigh Chak, our teaching pro, was there for us all the way through this journey. Also a big shout out to all 3.0 players who made it their focus the last 2 months to play with us and make sure we were at the top of our game. John, Charlie, Hector, Chris, Bobby, Paul you are the best. Putting our team ahead of your own personal teams and practices will not be forgotten. I can honestly say there may not be better tennis club in the state than Ft. King in Ocala. If any of you are passing through Ocala bring your racket and stop by and tell them Kevin's blog sent you! You will not be disappointed.

I have some fantastic pictures I will post later next week when I get back home. As I said before this facility was awesome and for those who have not seen Indian Wells pictures will help describe the beauty.

So instead of playing tennis my wife and I are going for a drive down the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) and have lunch in Laguna Beach and maybe dinner in Malibu.

Thanks for letting me share my/our experience. Typing the outcome each day was not only was therapeutic it also will serve as a great reminder of this was once in a lifetime event.

Take care everyone.

Friday, Oct. 9, 2009

Hello Florida -- well we have now experienced the lows of nationals. Our second match was against a team from Salt Lake City. We were brimming with confidence on another carbon copy hot desert afternoon. To make a long story short, Jeff lost our singles match and Cameron and Chris won our #2 doubles in a 3rd set tie breaker but unfortunately Bob and I could not hold up our end of the bargain.

We lost for the first time as partners 10-7 in a 3rd set tiebreaker. We are trying to stay positive as we still have a chance. The team from the Caribbean is the team to beat in our bracket. They have an unbelievable team so that leaves 4 teams vying for one slot. We will know more tomorrow after this afternoon's matches are complete. I am personally drowning my sorrows in Crown Royal and Fritos (just one drink)...We are getting together with our team tonight at a house Bob and Greg rented for some drinks and Ziti.

I will not be able to update until after tomorrows matches since we play at 7:30 am and 10:30 am. We need to win the first match for sure. Wish us luck...

Enjoy your Friday everyone.

Your friends from Ft. King Tennis in Ocala...

Friday, Oct. 9, 2009

Hello Florida! Well I will start by saying Indian Wells is unbelievable.

Anyone considering making a trip to Palm Springs and loves tennis must play Indian Wells. The mountain backdrop is breathtaking. Well enough with the fluff let's give out some results. Court 1 (Bob and Kevin) won their match and in Court 2 Dwayne and Greg lost a hard fought battle. So we are down to the singles match. Dr. O, as we affectionately call Chris now, lost the first set 6-4 and was down in the second set 3-2 before storming back to win 6-4 setting up the tiebreaker. And....

Dr O pulled it out 10-7. This match was unreal. During one point Chris's opponent hit 6 straight overheads but all were somehow returned. That seemed to be the turning point. 

So. Florida 2.5 mens is 1-0. Our next match is at 12:30. Bob and Kevin play Ct. 1 Dr. O and Cameron (our captain) play in Ct. 2 and Jeff in singles.

We are all very excited.

I will post some pictures and give you all an update later tonight.

Friday, Oct. 9, 2009

Good Morning Florida. It's 3:30 am her in Palm Springs, California and we are ready to get started!! I have been asked to blog our experience here at Nationals and I am more than happy to oblige. My name is Kevin Kintzele and I will be the one writing to ya'll.

Our 2.5 team from Ocala and Ft. King Tennis Center have made it to Nationals. Our team consists of 7 players: Cameron McCaskill (our captain and one hell of a guy), Bob Parko, Chris Okonkwo, Greg Slay, Dwayne Molock, Jeff Fusco and myself. All of us are 40-something players with one player in his mid twenties. We all picked up rackets for the first time on a committed level about a year ago and we are thrilled to be here at Nationals. As tons of people have told us, "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity so soak it in and play your best." We plan to do both.

Most of our team arrived in Palm Springs yesterday afternoon and were able to practice a little at Indian Wells (host courts for Nationals). Chris and I arrived in LA later in the afternoon and our 128-mile drive took a little over 3 hours. We love So. Cal. traffic. The traffic looked like the Palmetto or I4 during rush hour but much longer. The only positive is that we were surrounded by mountains which seemed to ease the frustration. Cameron said the facility at Indian Wells is spectacular. Besides the great courts, being surrounded by mountains adds to the ambience of the event.

There is not much more to report until later today. We are practicing at 5:30 am at another hotel's tennis courts and our first match starts promptly at 7:30 am. We play Inter-Mountain West. What that means is beyond me. All I know is they have the same goal as us. We are very excited and a little nervous but we have to remember, SO ARE OUR COMPETITORS. Our second match is at 12:30  against the Pacific Northwest. Weather is beautiful as expected in the desert. Game-time temps should be around 80 with 5% humidity...that's right 5%!!! Now I know you are all jealous.

I will snap some pictures today and include with my write-up tonight. We hope to bring back a big national trophy for Florida and travel the state to be wined and dined by all the clubs. Ok -- a man can dream...

You can also follow us and other members from Ft. King Tennis Center on the FT. King Facebook page. Just search Ft. King Tennis Center and become a fan. I will also be updating that site.

Have a great Friday.






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