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Florida Tennis Briefs(5): Mardy Fish-Fest; King of the Court This Friday

October 11, 2011 12:15 PM
Tamiami Tennis Center in Miami Debuts Permanent 10 and Under Courts for League Play

nordlund-photo-4More than 85 children with racquets in hand took to the freshly-painted 36-foot 10 and Under Tennis courts on Saturday, Oct. 1 at the Tamiami Tennis Center in Miami, celebrating the new permanent courts for children age 10 and under, and kicking off a league for children age 8 and under, featuring the QuickStart play format.

"The first day of Fall matches for the 10 and Under Tennis league was a huge success," said USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator for the Miami area Cathy Nordlund. "The South-Dade USTA Jr. Team Tennis Local League Coordinator Cyndi Johnston brought in all the local teams to play at Tamiami on the new courts, and started matches at 10:30 a.m., finishing around 4:30 p.m. The parents loved the courts so much and the facility, it is very family friendly."

Johnston said it was difficult to get the kids off the new courts.

"I think they are going to want all their matches at Tamiami from now on," said Johnston of the permanent 36-foot courts. "It was so easy to have the matches there with the 36-foot courts and blended lines on the rest of the six courts. The kids really felt like it was their facility, specially-designed just for them."

Sergio Velarde, a parent and captain of the 8 & Under team from Salvadore, said the courts were tailor-made for the smaller players.

"The Salvador team loved the QuickStart courts," Velarde said. "So much more realistic and easy to manage, judge and enjoy. Thanks to who ever is responsible for this addition!"

Tamiami Tennis Center is the first Miami facility to install permanent 36-foot courts for beginning tennis players utilizing the 10 and Under Tennis format, which features kid-sized racquets, nets, and lower-bouncing balls so children can learn proper technique in a fun format, rather than struggling with adult-sized equipment.

"Tamiami Tennis Center has been a wonderful collaboration between Miami-Dade County Parks & Recreation, Friends of Miami Tennis, and the USTA to embrace and bring QuickStart Tennis from the very start of the 10 and Under Tennis movement to this facility," Nordlund said.

The Tamiami 10 and Under Tennis courts are the result of $24,000 in grant assistance from the USTA Florida "Share the Love" initiative, USTA national, and Friends of Miami Tennis.

On the following Sunday the Fall 10 and Under Tennis league kicked-off at the Michael-Ann Russell Jewish Community Center in North Miami, where approximately 50 children played with mini-nets on 36-foot lined courts within standard 78-foot courts.   

"This is such a nice addition to our existing USTA Jr. Team Tennis league in North Miami Dade. By having the 10 and Under players joining the league this fall we will see this program grow tremendously," Nordlund said.

For more info go to www.ustamiami.com.

'King of the Court' Tennis Fundraiser This Friday at ATP in Ponte Vedra

atp tennis club logoThe First Coast Tennis Foundation, an official USTA Florida Community Tennis Association, will once again present the "King of the Court" tennis fundraising exhibition at the ATP Tennis Club in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., on Friday, Oct. 14, 2011, at 7 p.m.

Admission is free to the event that benefits Wolfson Children's Hospital, and features some of Ponte Vedra Beach's best pros and players. The King of the Court is held concurrently with the USTA National Husband-Wife Clay Court Championships, also at the ATP Tennis Club. The event raised $5,000 last year and was one of the loop sponsors for Wolfson's "One To Grow Ultra Marathon." 
"We are thankful for ATP Tennis Club staff and members for their effort and support for Wolfson Children's Hospital," says Megan Denk, community development coordinator for the Baptist Health Foundation.

The Friday night will also feature a silent auction, raffle prizes and food courtesy of Zoe's Kitchen.
"The entire North Florida tennis community is invited to come out and enjoy some great tennis while supporting the charity initiative with Wolfson," says the First Coast Tennis Foundation's Philippe Dore.
For more information contact the ATP Tennis Club at (904) 285-6400 or e-mail pdore@atpworldtour.com.

'Sets in the City' Tennis Raises Money for MaliVai Washington Foundation in Jacksonville

sets in the city jacksonvillleMore than 45 young professionals enjoyed social events and tennis during the first-of-its-kind "Sets in the City" fundraiser on Oct. 7-8, 2011 in Jacksonville, Fla., where participants raised money for the MaliVai Washington Kids Foundation. Players participated in social tennis and learned more about local tennis league options for beginning through advanced players.

"I think it was one of the best events that I have been a part of, everyone had so much fun," said USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator for the Jacksonville area Amanda Becker. "The heavens were with us as it not just rained, but poured everywhere else in Jacksonville all day on Saturday except at the MaliVai Washington Tennis Center. Young professionals age 21-40 of all tennis levels enjoyed two days of fun social gatherings that raised money for a good cause."

A "Player's Social" was held the night prior to the tennis at Whiskey River restaurant, where players received two free drink tickets and enjoyed complimentary appetizers and raffle prizes. Tennis was played to background music and lunch enjoyed from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. the following day at the MaliVai Washington Youth Center, featuring tennis clinics with MaliVai Washington and his staff, round robin play and food from TacoLu Baja Mexicana.

"Everyone received a Nike players duffel bag donated by Nike, stuffed with USTA items as well as coupons for restaurants around town," Becker said. "The round robin winner received a $300 gift card to Tennis Warehouse, provided by USTA Flex League. It was a lot of fun, and we look forward to repeating this event again next year."
The event raised more than $2,000 for the MaliVai Washington Kids Foundation, whose mission is to develop champions in classrooms, on tennis courts and throughout communities via after-school programs and summer camps for at-risk youth.
For more information contact Amanda Becker at becker@florida.usta.com.

Florida School Programs Delivering Tennis District-wide Following Summer Camp Success

A partnership between USTA Florida and Florida school systems are resulting in hundreds of physical education (PE) teachers being trained to conduct tennis classes, including instruction with the USTA's 10 and Under Tennis kid-sized equipment for smaller beginning children. The PE in-services are free, curriculum-based workshops that train teachers how to introduce tennis to their students. Multiple district-wide PE trainings have been held this year.

In Pinellas County, PE teachers have partnered with the program to find opportunities to teach tennis outside the PE class in summer camps at their local YMCA. It is the second year of the program, with PE teachers serving at summer camps featuring tennis with more than 500 children. For additional program information contact Jason Guerra at jguerra@stpeteymca.org.

"PE teachers are accustomed to managing large groups of children in an active yet safe setting," says USTA Florida Schools Coordinator Rebecca Halpern. "They are familiar with following a curriculum or lesson plans and know how to engage students and keep them motivated and having fun."

Sandra Leigh Lundin was one organizer in the St. Pete YMCA tennis program.

"We always start with the dynamic warm-up, a few running exercises to get their little heart rates going, then a review of what was learned from the week before," says Lundin, who starts beginning children with the basics. "We saw the children's' progress?helped each individual child with their swing?you can see their faces light up as soon as they hit the ball...their confidence went through the roof!"

Elementary schools involved in the program included Bay Point, Campbell Park, Pinellas Park, Northwest, Sawgrass and Meadowlawn.

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.

Fish, Querrey Feature at 'Mardy's Tennis & Jake's Music Fest' in Florida

Vero Beach, Fla., native Mardy Fish, the top-ranked American tennis player, has welcomed a long list of tennis greats to Vero Beach to participate in the annual tennis exhibition, one of the highlights of the Mardy's Tennis & Jake's Music Fest benefit. That tradition continues in the event's sixth year, as Fish announces the participation of ATP professional Sam Querrey in this year's tennis exhibition, to be played Dec. 9, 2011 at Grand Harbor Golf & Beach Club.

mardy-tennis-fest.jpgThe event will begin with a singles match of Fish vs. Querrey, followed by a doubles match featuring Fish, Querrey and additional players to be announced.

"Sam Querrey is one of the best young players on the ATP World Tour," Fish said. "Jake and I are thrilled to welcome him to our hometown to support the foundations through this exciting event. I'm looking forward to facing Sam on the court once again. These matches will be a great tune-up for the 2012 season."

The Mardy Fish Foundation, established in 2006, has a mission to provide children access to after-school exercise, nutritional and enrichment programs in a safe environment to prepare them for healthy, productive and successful lives so they can achieve their dreams. Founded in 2010, the Jake Owen Foundation was created to offer its support on a national level to children battling cancer and other childhood diseases while also lending its support to the Mardy Fish Foundation and its mission to assist youth in Fish and Owen's hometown area of Indian River County, Fla. 

Owen will be joined by Gold-certified recording artist Chris Young for the concert at 6,500-seat Holman Stadium. Supporters of Fish, Owen, Querrey and Young will have the opportunity to see these stars at the two-day event featuring a Kids' Tennis Clinic, reception with live and silent auction, and tennis exhibition. The concert with Jake Owen and Chris Young will be held on Saturday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m.

Tickets for the tennis exhibition are $75 for Box Seats (reserved chair-back seat) and $35 for General Admission tickets (bleacher seat). Tickets for the concert are $100 for VIP Premier Seats (on field, first 15 rows), $75 for Premier (on field, starting at row 16), $65 for Pit Area (standing room only), $35 for Reserved Seats (stadium seating) and $25 for General Admission (stadium seating). To purchase tickets, call (866) 333-7623 or visit www.chevents.com






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