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Florida Tennis Briefs(6): Coral Reef Rocks Jrs.; US Open Wildcards; More

August 18, 2011 03:10 PM
10 and Under Tennis Feature: Coral Reef Park in Miami

Kara Borromeo and Leroy Pettis
The "Coral Reef Cool Kids" 8-and-under team wasn't hard to miss in their tie-dye t-shirts at the USTA Florida Jr. Team Tennis 8-and-under Championships in July at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach. Neither was their team captain, Kara Borromeo, in her tie-dye shirt and clipboard, roaming the courts and speaking to her parent court-captains.

The teaching pro at Coral Reef Park in the Village of Palmetto Bay, Borromeo and her fellow pro Leroy Pettis have seen the USTA's new 10 and Under Tennis format create an explosion of junior tennis interest at their center. The two began as a "traveling team," using the 10 and Under Tennis equipment on their own before their city-run facility embraced the format.

Now Borromeo and Pettis oversee a small herd of 10 and Under Tennis and Jr. Team Tennis players, as exemplified at the Jr. Team Tennis Florida Section Championships where they fielded teams in the 8-and-under, 10-and-under, 12-and-under, 14-and-under, and two in the 18-and-under divisions.

"Lee and I have done 10 and Under Tennis for 1-1/2 to 2 years, and we always taught it, but as a traveling team, without a home, but then when the management of Coral Reef Tennis Facility changed hands to Friends of Miami Tennis, it made it easier for us because now we can play at home and all the parents are on board supporting it," Borromeo said.

The pair took up the format when it was first introduced four years ago as QuickStart Tennis, similar to the European mini-tennis format that pros such as Roger Federer and Kim Clijsters first learned with when they were small children.

"We looked at it and said, 'This would be good for our kids,' and little did we know," Borromeo said.

Pettis added, "Everyone that we have introduced to it has come on board, the camaraderie with the kids is very infectious. Coral Reef Tennis Center provides a community-type atmosphere where the kids and the family have fun on the smaller courts. It's like it's more than tennis, it's like the kids and families say 'Let's go have some fun,' and we're playing tennis too."

Pettis says the smaller children doing the same thing the bigger children are doing, but on a smaller court with equipment adjusted to their size, leads to bonding between tennis players of all ages.

"The little kids bond with the older kids, the older kids bond with the little kids, because they're all doing the same thing at the same place," Pettis said. "The older kids look out for the little kids, then they get to the point where they're playing on the little courts themselves, and they're saying 'This is fun!' [USTA Florida Executive Director] Doug Booth said he's sorry this wasn't happening 30 years ago when he was teaching, and I say the same thing, 'Where was this when I started playing tennis?'"

Parents play a large part in 10 and Under Tennis, where the focus is on fun rather that drilling children with proper stroke technique or lessons. 

"For example, we're here helping, but all the parents are here out on the court as captains," said Borromeo as she took a break from roaming the courts. "They play a big part and it is a family activity. They're loving it."

Cathy Nordlund, USTA Florida's tennis program coordinator for the Miami area, says the integration of parents and kids helping kids is a big part of Coral Reef's successful 10 and Under Tennis implementation.

"The success of this 10-and-under program is from the dedication of these two pros," Nordlund said. "They work hand-in-hand with the parents in making this a family event. They also have the older JTT kids help out with the younger kids in teaching, and always being there to help."

Coral Reef Park partners with other area Miami centers, and encouraged teams from the Tamiami and Salvador tennis centers to travel with them to Daytona Beach for the championships.

"That's just more family, and it expands," says Pettis of the centers helping each other grow tennis in the Miami area. "Say we need to practice on the hardcourts, then we can go to Salvadore, or they need to practice on the Har-Tru, and they can come to us. We're trying to make it playing tennis in a family atmosphere. So it's really great."

Also great is heading home from a tennis road trip with some hardware. The "Coral Reef Breakers" team in the 12-and-under Novice division won their division championship, captained by Kara Borromeo, with team members Catalina Amira Garcia, Kayla Hogan, Nyjah McKinley Head, Reilly Cabrera, William Reyes, and Zephyr Weddell Brokaw.

Clayton County Tennis Center to Host 11th Annual HBCU National Tennis Championships

HBCU tennis logoThe Clayton County Tennis Center will host the 11th Annual HBCU National Championships on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011, to Sunday, Sept. 25 in Jonesboro, Ga.

This year's competition will gather some of the top Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) representing NCAA Division I, II and NAIA tennis programs.

On the men's side the Rattlers (Florida A&M University), the four-time defending champions, are eager to add another crown to their name. On the women's side, two-time defending champion Southern University will once again be a big contender for the championships.

Last year's event boasted the participation of 16 schools such as Florida A&M University, Southern University, Bethune-Cookman, North Carolina Central, North Carolina A&T State, Winston Salem, Hampton, Southern, Xavier in Louisiana, Morehouse, Clark-Atlanta, Arkansas Pine Bluff, Prairie View A&M, Alcorn State, Alabama A&M, and Fort Valley State, as well as 175 student-athletes.

The annual affair will also feature a Welcoming Mixer on Thursday, Pro-Am Double Tennis Mixer on Friday and Junior Tennis Clinic on Saturday's schedule, to be held at the Clayton County Tennis Center.

The 11th HBCU National Tennis Championships has support from the USTA Southern and Florida Sections' Diversity Committees, COAN Tennis Association Inc., Rainbow Tennis League, VAS Solutions, Williams Property Group, and Clayton County Convention and Visitor Bureau.

For more information, please visit www.HBCUtennis.com.

Heathrow to Host Mercedes-Benz Mixed Doubles Tennis Tournament

The Heathrow Country Club in Heathrow, Fla., will on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011, host the Mercedes-Benz Mixed Doubles Tournament, benefiting Heart to Heart and homeless women and children in the community.

"This event will help support homeless women and children in our community," said Heart to Heart CEO Ellen Parcell. "Heart to Heart, a Community Care Organization, is dedicated to the needs of homeless women and children overcoming abuse issues, by providing housing, support and investing in their futures. We help women become self-sufficient able to live in the community independently with their children."

The mixed doubles format is $85 per person, and includes registration and breakfast at 8:30 a.m., the event kick-off at 9 a.m., and lunch and awards presentation at noon.

Each participant will also receive a gift package. The event is open to players 21 years and older. Space is limited, for more info go to www.H2HCentralFlorida.org or call (407) 463-6297.

Omni Doubles Challenge in Amelia Island

Omni Amelia Island Plantation in Amelia Island, Fla., will host the Omni Doubles Challenge on Oct. 14-16, 2011, benefiting the American Heart Association.

The entry fee is $90 per player, and includes a beer and wine social on Friday night, "Bubble-Que" Saturday night champagne and BBQ party, tournament hat, silent auction and more.

Doubles divisions include men's 3.0-4.0 and Open, Men's Super Seniors (over 65), women's 3.0-4.0, Open, and Super Seniors. Open division prize money is $900 first place, $500 second place, $300 third place, and $200 fourth place. Prizes will be awarded for all other divisions.

For further information, please call (904) 277-5145 or email Kelly Gunterman at kgunterman@omnihotels.com.

Americans Stephens, Davis, Riske Among 2011 US Open Women's Wildcards

US Open generic logoThe USTA announced that seven women who have been awarded women's singles main draw wildcard entries into the 2011 US Open Tennis Championships: Americans Jill Craybas, USTA Girls' 18s Champion Lauren Davis, Jamie Hampton, Alison Riske, and teenager Sloane Stephens, along with Australia's Casey Dellacqua and France's Aravane Rezai. 

The 2011 US Open will be played Aug. 29-Sept. 11 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.

One additional wildcard will be given to the winner of the 2011 US Open Wild Card Playoff, an eight-player invitational event held by USTA Player Development at the Junior Tennis Champions Center, a USTA Certified Regional Training Center in College Park, Md., this week.

In addition to the US Open women's singles main draw wildcards, the USTA also announced eight women who have been awarded wildcard entries into the US Open Qualifying Tournament, which will be held Aug. 23-26 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. One additional US Open qualifying wildcard will be awarded to the winner of the 2011 US Open National Playoffs-Women's Championship, taking place Aug. 18-21 in New Haven, Conn. 

Players receiving 2011 US Open qualifying wildcards are: 2011 Wimbledon girls' singles champion Ashleigh Barty (15, Ipswich, Australia); 2008 Orange Bowl champion Julia Boserup (19, Newport Beach, Calif.); 2010 US Open girls' singles champion Daria Gavrilova (17, Moscow, Russia); two-time USTA Girls' 18s finalist Nicole Gibbs (18, Santa Monica, Calif.), a rising sophomore at Stanford; 2010 Easter Bowl champion Krista Hardebeck (16, Santa Ana, Calif.); Madison Keys (16, Boca Raton, Fla.), who won her first professional title on the USTA Pro Circuit in June, 2010; Jessica Pegula (17, Boca Raton, Fla.), who reached her first professional final on the USTA Pro Circuit in January; and Taylor Townsend (15, Stockbridge, Ga.), who reached the semifinals at last week's USTA Girls' 18s National Championships.

Florida Legend Bollettieri to be Inducted Into Tennis Industry Hall of Fame

BollettieriFlorida tennis coaching legend Nick Bollettieri will be inducted into the Tennis Industry Hall of Fame on Aug. 27, 2011, at the Grand Hyatt New York. Bollettieri, one of the world's most famous coaches, will be honored for his significant impact on tennis.

A coach, businessman, motivator and educator, Bollettieri has worked with players of all age ranges and skill levels, coaching 10 world No. 1 players: Andre Agassi, Boris Becker, Jim Courier, Martina Hingis, Jelena Jankovic, Marcelo Rios, Monica Seles, Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams and Venus Williams.

Bollettieri started the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in 1978, and in the process developed a style and method of coaching and training that has revolutionized tennis instruction. His Bradenton, Fla., academy was the first major tennis boarding school, and it changed the way tennis was taught at the elite junior level.

"I am thrilled to be honored by the tennis industry," Bollettieri said. "I've dedicated my life to helping players of all ages and abilities enjoy the sport of tennis. It's quite an honor to be recognized by the tennis industry in this way."

The 4th Annual Tennis Industry Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place at the Tennis Industry Association (TIA) Forum, which is part of The Tennis Show at the Grand Hyatt New York on the Saturday before the US Open begins. Hundreds of tennis industry leaders, teaching pros, manufacturers, and retailers are expected to attend the TIA Forum.

"We're excited Nick will join our industry's Hall of Fame," said TIA President Jon Muir. "He's very deserving of this honor and of the specific recognition toward helping to pioneer the academy business, which has not just impacted tennis in our country but driven a business segment of our industry. His years of success in teaching tennis and the related business expansion, combined with his great support of the key 10 and Under Tennis initiative, demonstrates his ongoing commitment to driving long-term frequent player development for our sport and industry."

Bollettieri joins previous Tennis Industry Hall of Fame inductees Howard Head (2008), Dennis Van der Meer (2008), Alan Schwartz (2009), and Billie Jean King (2010). Plaques of Tennis Industry Hall of Fame inductees are on permanent display at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I.






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