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Tennis Briefs: New USTA Florida Jr. Endorsement Rule; Stars at Sarasota Open; Gainesville JTT

May 12, 2010 07:00 PM

Jesse Levine at the Sarasota Open

by Rick Vach,

New Endorsement Procedure for USTA Florida Junior Players

Florida junior players wishing to be endorsed for USTA National Championships events will be required to play in at least one USTA Florida Designated or Sectional tournament in the three months prior to the scheduled National Championship, beginning in Sept. 2010.

To be eligible for endorsement to the upcoming USTA Winter National Championships on Dec. 27, 2010, a player will need to compete in the one of the designated or sectional tournaments on Sept. 11, Oct. 9, or Nov. 6 of 2010. No waivers will be issued for any situation.

Stars Shining This Week at Sarasota Open

While top-seeded Taylor Dent was upset in the opening round, a number of stars are still fighting for quarterfinal spots this week at the Sarasota Open in Sarasota, Fla., an ATP Challenger-level event.

No. 2 seed and former Florida Gator Jesse Levine remains alive, as does unseeded IMG Bollettieri product Kei Nishikori who is making his return from elbow surgery. On Wednesday in Sarasota Nishikori subdued American Tim Smyczek, who had upset Dent, in straight sets.

No. 6 seed and Florida resident Ryan Sweeting remains alive, and on Thursday was scheduled to face wildcard and fellow American Bobby Reynolds. Reynolds earlier dismissed wildcard and Bradenton product Sekou Bangoura, who currently plays for the University of Florida.

Hosted by the renowned resort at Longboat Key, the tournament not only attracts solid crowds but is reportedly drawing fan clubs of 3,000 in Tokyo locations to watch the Sarasota live stream of Nishikori playing.

Live scoring for the event can be followed at:

Sign-ups Open for Gainesville USTA Jr. Team Tennis Leagues

Gainesville will be abuzz this summer and fall with tennis activity, specifically USTA Florida Jr. Team Tennis league play for all ages and abilities. The Spring 2010 season featured 220 players on 24 teams at clubs and public facilities across Gainesville.

Jr. Team Tennis age flights include 8-and-under and 10-and-under (QuickStart Tennis format), 12-and-under, 14-and-under and 18-and-under, in beginner, intermediate and advanced divisions featuring 6-10 players per team. QuickStart Tennis is the new USTA format that utilizes smaller courts, low and slow-bounce balls, lighter and smaller racquets, lower nets, simplified scoring, and shorter matches to allow youngsters to advance quickly as they play in a fun, team environment with friends. Visit www.quickstarttennis.com to learn more.

According to Linda Green, area league coordinator, "Young players need to play matches in order to apply what they've learned in clinics or lessons. It's important to learn how to play strategically, to construct points and communicate with your partner. USTA Jr. Team Tennis gives young players the opportunities to learn these things in a fun and supportive team atmosphere."

For the summer season teams are organized and registered in May-June, and matches are played June-July with a minimum of six matches played per season in the Gainesville area. Each season is followed by a state-wide sectional tournament which is optional for players. This year's sectional tournament for the summer season will be held Aug. 6-8, 2010, at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach, Fla. Four teams from the Gainesville spring league advanced to the sectional tournament in Orlando in April, with two of the teams, the Powershots 14-and-under intermediate and the G-Power 12-and-under advanced, winning the state titles.

Teams are coed. Matches consist of singles and doubles play. Each team is required to have a parent captain who will receive guidance and training. All USTA Jr. Team Tennis players must also be current USTA members ($19.00 per year). To join online visit www.usta.com/membership. The Jr. Team Tennis fee is $35 per season, and all players receive a Nike dri-fit team shirt and an end-of-season party. First- and second-place teams from each flight receive trophies, and all QuickStart players receive medals.
To find a team or for more information contact Linda Green, Gainesville area league coordinator, at (352) 870-6134 or jrteamtennis@cox.net.






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