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Briefs(4): Florida Tennis Players Win Gold at World Special Olympics in Greece; US Open Series + Playoffs; More

July 14, 2011 04:40 PM
Florida Tennis Players Strike Gold at Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece

special olympics doring
Jonathan Doring
Three Florida tennis players took the medal stand during the Special Olympics World Summer Games Athens 2011, held June 25-July 4 in Athens, Greece, where more than 7,000 Special Olympics athletes from nearly 180 countries around the world competed in the largest international multi-sport event of the year.

The event was held at the historic Kallimarmaron Panthinaikon Olympic Stadium, site of the first Olympic Games of the modern era.

During the opening-night celebration, members of Special Olympics Team Hellas and Special Olympics Team USA lead the athletes in the Special Olympics athlete oath, and the Flame of Hope was run through the stadium. Law enforcement officers from across the globe helped usher the torch in through the hands of athletes representing all seven Special Olympics regions of the world, serenaded by musician Stevie Wonder.

Jonathan Doring of Boynton Beach, Fla., won gold in his men's singles division, and 4th place in men's doubles. Doring is a USTA-certified official who was given the option of officiating at the games or competing, and was happy he chose the latter.

"I'm sorry I'm crying...it's just that I've never been this happy in my whole life," Doring said to friends and family courtside after the match. The 30-year-old Doring has been competing in Special Olympics for 22 years, has a Bachelor's degree in computer science, and has Fragile X Syndrome, the most common known cause of autism.

"Jonathan is a very polite, kind-hearted guy, but Fragile X has kept him at an emotional distance from others," said Amie Dugan, vice president of marketing and communications for Special Olympics Florida. "For years, Jonathan couldn't make direct eye contact, his tactile sensitivity issues made it hard for him to wear his medals, he wouldn't shake your hand, and interactions were always brief and pragmatic. But over time, that has slowly changed. He'll now shake your hand. He can look you in the eye when you talk to him, for a bit. He wears his medals, after some adjusting. His parents, Mark and Kathy say, 'We truly believe that his personal success, his transformation, is due primarily to his participation in Special Olympics.'"

Brittany Tagliareni of Sanford, Fla., captured the silver medal in women's singles and the bronze in mixed doubles. The popular Tagliareni also participated in a mixed doubles exhibition match, partnering Paris Gemouchidis of the Greek Davis Cup team. She won the gold medal in tennis singles three years in a row at the Special Olympics Florida State Championship, and another gold medal at the Special Olympics National Tennis Tournament.

Coconut Creek's Michael Bederman was also a gold medal winner in men's singles in his division, and won silver in mixed doubles.

For more information go to www.specialolympicsflorida.org.

11th Gainesville Local Senior Games Tennis Set for October

florida senior gamesThe tennis competition for the 11th Gainesville Local Senior Games for athletes ages 50 years and older, a qualifier for the Florida State Championships, hosted by the Gainesville Sports Commission (GSC), will be held on Oct. 22-23, 2011, at the Jonesville Tennis Center in Gainesville.

The three events for the tennis competition will be singles, doubles, and mixed doubles.

In addition to tennis, the GSC will be hosting 12 other events: volleyball, archery, 3-on-3 basketball, basketball shooting, bowling, cycling, golf, horseshoes, road race, table tennis, swimming, and track & field.

For more information, please visit www.gainesvillesportscommission.com. You can also email info@gsoc.com or call (352) 228-9300 for additional information. For more information about the facility, please visit www.jonesvilletennis.com. This Local Senior Games is sanctioned by the Florida Sports Foundation and is a qualifier for the Florida State Championships.

ATP Atlanta Event Kicks Off US Open Series, 200 Hours of TV Tennis in U.S.

US Open Series 06.jpgThis coming Monday begins the Atlanta Tennis Championships, the eighth season of the US Open Series, and TV tennis mania -- six weeks of nearly 200 hours of live tennis on ESPN2, Tennis Channel and CBS Sports, leading to the 2011 US Open.

The six-week North American summer tennis season that links 10 ATP World Tour and WTA summer tournaments to the US Open will be highlighted by back-to-back men's and women's finals on Sundays on ESPN2, and select finals on CBS Sports.

The Olympus US Open Series premieres Friday, July 22, from the Atlanta Tennis Championships with two hours on Tennis Channel, followed by four hours on ESPN2. An additional seven hours of coverage on both networks will follow over the weekend, with the finals airing live on Sunday on ESPN2 beginning at 3 p.m. ET.

For 2011, both the men's and women's US Open singles champions will earn a record $1.8 million, with the ability to earn an additional $1 million in bonus prize money (for a total $2.8 million potential payout) based on their performances in the Olympus US Open Series. 

Broadcast initiatives will include efforts to further enrich the television viewer experience through the creation of "look-in" coverage during select matches between tournaments as well as the planned introduction of a new broadcast animation package. In addition, the new gender-combined Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, and virtually-combined Rogers Cup event in Canada (men's Montreal event and women's Toronto event) will present viewers with expanded match coverage from three television courts both weeks.

The roster of television talent covering the 2011 Olympus US Open Series season includes: 

ESPN -- Chris Fowler, Patrick McEnroe, Mary Joe Fernandez, Darren Cahill, Pam Shriver, Cliff Drysdale and Brad Gilbert
Tennis Channel -- Lindsay Davenport, Leif Shiras, Corina Morariu, Justin Gimelstob, Ian Eagle, Brett Haber and Ashley Fisher
CBS Sports -- Mary Carillo, Bill Macatee and Mary Joe Fernandez

For more information go to www.usopenseries.com.

5 Winners from Florida Ready for US Open Qualifying National Tournament

From right: Ellis Ferreira and Amanda Rodgers
Four Florida residents captured the four spots (men's singles, women's singles and mixed doubles) during the US Open Playoffs-Florida event, and one Florida resident won the title at the US Open Playoffs-Southwest tournament in 2011. All five will convene at the WTA New Haven Open at Yale, a US Open Series event, in August to compete for a spot in the US Open main draw or qualifying.

Oleg Dmitriev, a tennis coach from Dania Beach, Fla., via Russia, will compete in the men's singles of the national tournament after capturing the men's title at the US Open Playoffs-Florida event, held earlier this year at the IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Sarasota teenager Caroline Dailey will compete in the women's national tournament after winning the Florida women's title.

Former Grand Slam doubles winner Ellis Ferreira, a tennis coach from Holmes Beach, Fla., via South Africa, will compete in the mixed doubles national event after winning the Florida competition with his student, Amanda Rodgers of Bradenton, who is looking forward to her freshman year playing for Syracuse.

Seventeen-year-old Nicole Melichar of Stuart, Fla., will also compete in the national mixed doubles event after winning the USTA Southwest mixed tournament with partner Sam Harison of Arizona, where Melichar trains.

The US Open National Playoffs men's and women's singles championships will take place Aug. 18-21, with the champions earning a wildcard into the US Open qualifying tournament, held the week prior to the US Open. The US Open National Playoffs mixed doubles championship will take place Aug. 24-27, with the champions receiving a mixed doubles main draw wildcard into the 2011 US Open.

Here is a numerical look at some of the champions and other competitors who participated in the US Open Playoffs sectional events in 2011:


1 --- Defending champion of the US Open National Playoffs (Strode)

2 --- Players who have reached the final of a Grand Slam doubles draw (Tarango as 1999 French Open men's doubles finalist, Ferreira as 2000 Australian Open men's doubles champion and 2001 Australian Open mixed doubles champion)

3 --- Number of NCAA champions competing in the 2011 US Open National Playoffs (Mamiit in 1996, Bielik in 2002, McDowell in 2008)

3 --- Women who will be returning to the 2011 US Open National Playoffs women's championship (Diaz, Falcon, Tedjakusuma)

5 --- Players who have been ranked in the Top 100 in singles (Bardina, Mamiit, Tarabini, Tarango, Washington)

6 --- Men who will be returning to the 2011 US Open National Playoffs men's championship (Larson, Mamiit, Niculescu, Quigley, Strode, Wettengel)

8 --- Players who will compete in both singles and mixed doubles of the 2011 US Open National Playoffs (Diaz, Healey, Martin, Morton, Pelletier, Schnack, Strode, Vlaski)

8 --- Players who have ranked in the Top 100 in doubles (Ferreira, Fusano, Healey, Martin, Pelletier, Tarabini, Tarango, Washington)

12 --- Teenagers who advanced to the 2011 US Open National Playoffs Championships (H. Adams, S. Adams, Anderson, Corning, Dailey, Harrison, Jurova, Melichar, Morton, Niehaus, Rodgers, Withrow)

13 --- Players that are over the age of 30 that advanced to the 2011 US Open National Playoffs (Donley, Ferreira, Fusano, Healey, Keronen, Mamiit, Mullins, Nelson-Kortland, Ruegsegger, Tarabini, Tarango, Tedjakusuma, Washington)

192 --- Teams who competed in mixed doubles across the 16 USTA Sectional Qualifying Tournaments

306 --- Women who competed in singles across the 16 USTA Sectional Qualifying Tournaments

690 --- Men who competed in singles across the 16 USTA Sectional Qualifying Tournaments

1,223 --- Total players who participated in singles and/or mixed doubles during the 2011 US Open National Playoffs Sectional Qualifying Tournaments






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