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Florida Tennis Briefs(5): Beginner Fun League, U.S. Military Play Tennis, More

March 24, 2011 04:04 PM
Hammock Beach in Palm Coast Hosts USTA Tennis Beginner Fun League Event
Left to right: Hammock Beach Director of Tennis Harry Gilbert, and USTA Florida's Sandy Marshall and Tulsi Desai

Beginning and lower-level players in the Palm Coast area experienced a morning of round robin play and pointers, a "Hit for Prizes," info on beginner-level league opportunities, and lunch when USTA Florida and the Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast, Fla., teamed to host a USTA F.L. (Fun League) Tennis Blast event on March 23, 2011, free to area players.

"I love to see these beginners and 2.5-level players," said USTA Florida Director of Leagues Sandy Marshall. "They're out there for the right reasons; playing with their new racquets and their new outfits on, they're praising each other with 'Good shot!' -- it is great to see them having so much fun. An event like this brings the community together, because one player tells their neighbor about it, and invites them to come down and play, and the whole thing snowballs and we go from one team to two teams, three teams, and then we're helping groups of people lead a much healthier, well-balanced lifestyle through the life-long sport of tennis."

The beginner players, typically rated 2.0-2.5 on the NTRP (National Tennis Rating Program) scale, also got to see 3.5 and 4.0 women players competing during a lunchtime doubles exhibition.

"This creates an enthusiasm and lights a bit of a fire, and we tie this pathway for new players into local leagues, we can start them playing in that league and feed them into USTA Leagues," said Hammock Beach Director of Tennis Harry Gilbert. "This provides a lot of energy and excitement for the new players. When you do that, the game sells itself, but we have to create vehicles and opportunities like this to play in a non-threatening environment. This will help bring players back to the game or get started playing."

USTA League is the country's largest recreational tennis league, helping more than 325,000 players nationwide get on the court, have a good time, and step up their game. USTA League is organized as competitive team match play, with teams made up of a minimum of 5-8 players depending upon division. Teams and matches are set up according to NTRP ratings, so teammates and opponents play at the same skill level, with leagues ranging from the 2.5 beginner level up to 5.0 advanced and Open divisions. The competition is exciting, the atmosphere is social, and since players compete on teams, they have a built-in cheering section.

"We are really excited to offer this pilot program in the Volusia/Flagler counties," said USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator for the Volusia/Flagler county area Molly Zimmer. "This is a collaborative effort with local USPTA (United States Professional Tennis Association) tennis pros and the Greater Volusia Tennis League to introduce league play to the residents of Volusia and Flagler counties."
For more information or info on future events, contact Molly Zimmer at zimmer@florida.usta.com.

Seascape in Destin Hosts 10 and Under Tennis and USTA Jr. Team Tennis League Play

The Seascape Resort in Destin, Fla., hosted its first 8-and-under and 10-and-under USTA Jr. Team Tennis league matches on Sunday, March 20, 2011, involving teams from three tennis clubs.

"Teams from TOPS'L, Hidden Dunes and Seascape came out and had a great time and got to meet the other players in the league," said TOPS'L Director of Tennis and USPTA Florida District President Joe D'Aleo. "The stands were full with lots of parents that came out to watch with there cameras rolling. We also had plenty of volunteers that helped with scoring and keeping the balls off the courts to make the event a huge success that ran smoothly."

Children competed with an abbreviated scoring system and used 10 and Under Tennis featuring the QuickStart play format equipment. Fernando and Holly Guarachi, director of tennis and head professional at Seascape, hosted the event, assisted by Jessica D'Aleo, a USTA local league coordinator. 

"The best part of the event was at the end most of the kids wanted to stay and keep playing, which is something I have not seen in a long time," D'Aleo said. "Seeing the amount of fun the kids were having is just another reason why QuickStart Tennis is going to spur the biggest increase in junior players competing in tournaments, and hopefully staying with it throughout adulthood."

USTA 10 and Under Tennis featuring the QuickStart play format is designed for children featuring smaller court sizes, racquet sizes, foam and low-compression balls, a simple scoring system, and net heights adjusted to ease kids into the sport. Similar mini-tennis formats have long been popular in Europe, where current stars such as Roger Federer and Kim Clijsters first learned the game with age-adjusted racquets, balls and court sizes. To see a video of 10 and Under Tennis in action or for more information, go to: http://10andundertennis.usta.com.

Austin to Host U.S. Davis Cup vs. Spain in July

US Davis Cup Team.jpgThe USTA and U.S. Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier announced Wednesday that Austin, Texas has been selected as the site for the 2011 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas quarterfinal tie between the United States and Spain on July 8-10, 2011. The matches will be played at the Frank Erwin Center on The University of Texas at Austin campus.

Austin is the hometown of U.S. Davis Cup stalwart Andy Roddick, who is second all-time in U.S. Davis Cup singles victories with 33. World No. 1 Rafael Nadal said after Spain's first-round win over Belgium that he was committed to compete in the Davis Cup quarterfinal against the United States.

This will be the first home tie for Courier, who is in his first year as U.S. Davis Cup captain. It will be the first home tie for the U.S. since it defeated Switzerland in the 2009 first round in Birmingham, Ala. Since then the U.S. has played in four consecutive away ties.

"We are excited to play in Austin as we have not hosted a tie in the U.S. for quite some time," said Courier, who made his debut as captain in the United States' first-round win over Chile earlier this month. "We will be ready to use our crowd's energy for what promises to be an exciting and challenging tie versus Spain."

Tickets will go on sale to the general public the week of April 4. For more information, fans can call the U.S. Davis Cup hotline at (888) 484-8782 or visit www.usta.com/daviscup.

The U.S. leads the Davis Cup career series with Spain 5-4, with its last victory against Spain coming in the 2007 quarterfinal in Winston-Salem, N.C. Nadal led Spain to a 4-1 victory in the last meeting between the two countries in the 2008 semifinal in Spain.

"I appreciate the USTA for even considering Austin," said Roddick, after leading the United States to victory over Chile with two singles victories. "I think it's been no secret that I have wanted it for a long time."

Tennis Channel will present live daily coverage of the U.S. vs. Spain Davis Cup weekend.

USTA Membership Dollars, Fundraisers Support U.S. Troop Morale with Tennis Equipment

Ninety percent of USTA Florida membership dollars go directly back into the community -- but did you know the USTA also provides overseas U.S. troops with recreation and stress relief via portable tennis equipment?

USTA Florida and other USTA sections can support U.S. troops through the "Adopt-A-Unit" program, which encourages USTA Community Tennis Associations (CTAs) and other groups to provide care packages of simple items such as hand sanitizers, socks, hard candy, toiletries, etc. More information about this program can be found at www.usta.com/military. Also check out the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/USTAMilitaryOutreach.

"Simply register at www.usta.com/military and we will assign you a unit," says Kristi Wright, USTA Adopt-A-Unit coordinator. "Once you have your unit, start collecting care package items such as hand sanitizers, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrushes, foot powder, disposable razors, socks, hard candies and letters of support. Or, collect $10 per person to purchase the supplies and cover shipping costs. For every person participating, you can support one soldier serving in harm's way. Once the items are collected, simply mail it away to your assigned unit."

USTA Serves, the charitable arm of USTA National, will then follow-up by mailing portable tennis equipment to the unit. Several units are currently waiting to be adopted.
More information can be found at www.usta.com/military or e-mail kwrightusta@gmail.com.

Young, Sweeting, Schuettler Feature at 2011 Tallahassee Challenger

Tallahassee-CH-logo-2011The field for the 2011 USTA Tallahassee Tennis Challenger Presented by Comcast has been released, and includes former world No. 5 Rainer Schuettler, hot-handed American stars Donald Young and Ryan Sweeting, big-serving American veteran Robert Kendrick, and defending champion Brian Dabul of Argentina.

Young, currently ranked No. 128, received a wildcard into the US Open in 2007 and made it to the third round, falling to Feliciano Lopez of Spain in four sets. At Indian Wells this month he defeated world No. 5 Andy Murray in straight sets.

The USTA Tallahassee Tennis Challenger will be held at Forestmeadows in Tallahassee on April 9-16, 2011. This will be the 12th year for this USTA Pro Circuit/ATP event.

A pre-qualifying tournament will be held at Florida A&M University on April 1-3. The entry fee paid by the players helps raise money for the university's men's and women's tennis teams. The winner of the pre-qualifier will earn a wildcard into the qualifier of the Challenger event. 

The 32-player field will be completed with four wildcards, four qualifiers and two special-exempt entries. For more info go to www.tallahasseechallenger.com.






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