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Annual Tournament of Champions Brings out the Best

February 10, 2009 12:38 PM

With more than 155 players and 124 matches in three days, the 7th Annual Suncoast Tennis Foundation (STF) Tournament of Champions finished Jan. 25 at Royal Racquet Club in Clearwater. The competition was by invitation-only and attracted players who had to qualify by finishing as a winner, semi-finalist, finalist, or consolation winner in each of the six major charity tennis tournaments held in Pinellas County in 2008. The tournament caters to the top players by not only putting together a competitive event, but by providing player services such as on-site promotional vendors, a medical team including orthopedic doctors and physical therapists, and a draw party complimentary with food and music, in addition to raffle drawings, goodie bags and a silent auction throughout the event.

“That invitation is a coveted thing because the Tournament of Champions is now the premiere tennis competition for amateur players in Pinellas County,” said Judy Foster, executive director of the STF. “The event benefits the entire community and it benefits the other local charity tennis tournaments too as more people enter them to try to qualify for the invitation to the Tournament of Champions.”

The tournament raised over $12,990 for the Foundation’s grassroots tennis projects, which assist hundreds in the local community. The funds will help disadvantaged children and adults who cannot afford equipment and lessons to play tennis.

“The tournament raised the most it ever has in its seven year history,” Foster said.

Over the past four years, the STF has facilitated giving over 430 free refurbished tennis racquets and thousands of used tennis balls to elementary, middle and high school programs. Additionally, they’ve provided financial assistance through scholarships to youth and adults to aid in the costs of participating in tennis programs.

“It was wonderful that in today’s economy people came out of the woodworks this year to donate,” said Foster, who mentioned that over 100 items were contributed for the raffle and auctions. “Our board was extremely great this year in getting sponsors, which played a big part in the success of the tournament.”

The Tournament of Champions involves so many segments of the community in Pinellas County who come together to help others less fortunate and make possible an enjoyable recreational experience for all.

“It is a group effort,” Foster said. “There were a lot of great volunteers who pitched in and everyone was pleased with the way it was run.”

Due to the generosity of Knology, presenting sponsor for the past three years, Cody’s Original Roadhouse, draw party refreshment provider for the past six years, and comedic tennis players Grahame Bell and Dale Alford, “We just had a heck of a good time,” Foster said. “It is a serious event because the players want to do well, but everyone knows that no matter what, win or lose, the community triumphs in the end.”

Congratulations to all participants and division winners below.


Men’s Open

Jeff Singer/Jeswin Jolly - Winners

Alex Bose/Marcel Kluth – Finalists

Donn Aikins/Cornelius Brickhouse – Consolation

Men’s 4.5

Randy Meisner/Mike Hooper – Winners

Ron Wiser/Tim O’brien – Finalists

Rob Tenney/Steve Crivello – Consolation

Men’s 4.0

Shon Craig/Ken Emery – Winners

Rob Tenney/Rob Schramm – Finalists

Todd Whittington/Cal Bowen – Consolation

Men’s 3.5

Skip Parker/Dan Delosh – Winners

Jim Gardner/Matt Ruby – Finalists

Felix Herrera/Andy Svenson – Consolation

Women’s 4.5

Maria Drew/Joan Simmons – Winners

Karen Olson/Lisa Haidermota – Finalists

Mary Gordon/Carol Cotney – Consolation

Women’s 4.0

Joanne Valone/Turtle Marshall – Winners

Dianne Albina/Emily Signoracci – Finalists

Deb McCleery/Theresa Lawrence – Consolation

Women’s 3.5

Lisa Savarese/Denise Schonwald – Winners

Maureen Alten/Jill Cox – Finalists

Patti Beck/Robyn Wittleder – Consolation

Women’s 3.0

Donna Genet/Christine Campbell – Winners

Sherry Knitter/Suzanne Ehrlich – Finalists

Barbara Doten/Kathleen Hollick – Consolation

Mixed 4.5

Karen Olson/Craig Hajdich – Winners

Aimee Jacobson/Josh Melton – Finalists

Diana Gabay/Brett Hayman – Consolation

Mixed 4.0

Kim Cherry/Todd Whittington – Winners

Kim Tran/Chitthasone Noythanongsay – Finalists

Kirsten Willis/Pete Katsarelis – Consolation

Mixed 3.5

AmyWilliams/ Paul Williams – Winners

Jennifer Ramella /Matt McDonough – Finalists

Barbara Emery/Craig Emery - Consolation

*Picture 1: Tennis jokesters Grahame Bell and Dale Alford in matching women's attire
*Picture 2: 3.0 women's winners Donna Genet and Christine Campbell
*Picture 3: Silent auction and raffle items






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