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Florida Tennis Briefs: Brevard JTT Kick-off, Scholarships, More

August 24, 2010 10:02 PM
Upcoming Tournaments Display Available on USTA Florida Website

Point your web browser to www.ustaflorida.com to see the Upcoming Tournaments quick-view that displays the next six upcoming junior tournaments and the next six adult tournaments that are coming up across the state for entry deadlines. The box showing the tournaments is located on the front of www.ustaflorida.com under the 'News & Headlines' section near the top of the page.

USTA Florida Jr. Team Tennis Kick-Off Party; Play Begins in Sept. in Brevard County

Team registration is still open for the upcoming season of USTA Florida Jr. Team Tennis in Brevard County, and USTA Florida will host a kick-off party on Friday, Aug. 27, 2010, at 7 p.m. at Jimmy Moore Park in Melbourne, Fla.

League matches will be held Friday nights on Sept. 10, 17, and 24, and Oct. 1, 8 and 15, at 5-7 p.m. at Jimmy Moore Park.

All USTA Florida Jr. Team Tennis participating teams, not just regional league winners, are eligible to compete in the spring, summer and fall sectional championships. Summer Sectional winning teams in the 18-and-under and 14-and-under Advanced and Intermediate divisions earn a chance to represent Florida at the USTA Jr. Team Tennis National Championships in Arizona. The Florida Fall Section Championship, open to all teams, will be held Dec. 11-12, 2010, at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach.

The $35 league fee also includes a boys or girls-cut Nike dry fit USTA Jr. Team Tennis jersey. Parent and teaching pro captains are needed, and captains receive a $20 gift card to TennisPlaza as well as other USTA Florida volunteer amenities.

The new QuickStart Tennis format for 10-and-under children is also part of the Jr. Team Tennis league, and local facilities such as Viera Regional Park, Jimmy Moore Park, Kiwi Tennis Center, and the Kiwanis Tennis Center have received USTA Florida 'Share the Love' grants of QuickStart equipment to start local QuickStart clinics and future leagues for 10-and-under players.

Players/parents should contact a participating facility or league coordinator to secure placement on a team for the fall season. Cost is $35 for the USTA local league fee, and if the player is not already a USTA member, a $19 USTA youth membership fee. USTA junior membership benefits include participation in recreational leagues to tournaments; subscriptions to TENNIS, USTA Magazine, the junior SMASH magazine, and the quarterly BOUNCE magazine for 10-and-under members; preferred ticket access to the US Open and Florida pro events; and a 10% discount off USTA and US Open merchandise, as well as discounts on dining, travel, retail, and entertainment at well-known hotels, car rental agencies, sporting good stores, and more.

For more information, contact Brevard local league coordinator Rita Gladstone at Rita@ritatennis.com or (386) 299-6551, or USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator for the Brevard area Molly Zimmer at zimmer@florida.usta.com.  

Suncoast Tennis Foundation Expands Youth Scholarship Program

The Suncoast Tennis Foundation (STF) has started a new program to provide opportunities for children with limited financial resources to participate in structured instructional tennis programs. The scholarships are awarded based upon criteria that includes financial need, dedication to learning to play tennis, good discipline, desire to improve and general overall positive attitude.

The first scholarships in the amount of $250 each were awarded to two youth players at the Henry L. McMullen Tennis Complex in Clearwater for two weeks of summer tennis camp. Erick Chall, City of Clearwater community tennis programmer and president of Chall Tennis Management graciously added a complimentary third week for the girls.

STF was contacted by Chuck Kiser, head tennis program at Largo/Southwest Tennis Center, and requested financial assistance for 11-year-old Tommy Stark who attend Seminole Middle School. Tommy had only been playing tennis for about six months, but Kiser said he loves the game and was advancing very quickly. Because Tommy lives in unincorporated Pinellas County, his summer tennis camp fees were well above the resident fees, and his parents are limited in finances. 

Describing Tommy, Kiser said, "His focus and listening skills are superb which make him easy to coach." Tommy's parents say, "Tennis has given Tommy confidence and it is evident in other things he does." STF awarded Tommy a two-week camp scholarship in the amount of $237.50, and Kiser took the lead from Chall and added a third week free of charge.

Following the request for assistance for Tommy, the Foundation was contacted again by the Largo/Southwest Tennis Center about a 9-year-old up and coming tennis player who also lived outside the city limits of Largo and needed financial assistance to further her promising tennis play. Samantha Anderson attends Bauder Elementary and also has been playing for about six months. Her parents, Chad and Kim Anderson said, "Tennis is all she can think about. After trying dancing, gymnastics and other activities, tennis has had the most impact for her. Samantha plans to play tennis for a long time." Samantha's scholarship was the same as Tommy's and again Kiser provided her with a complimentary third week of tennis camp.

To date, the Suncoast Tennis Foundation has given out scholarship for youth tennis players in the amount of $975, which is just the beginning. STF is actively seeking out additional candidates from public facilities all over Pinellas County. 

"It is our hope that we can reach as many youth tennis players as possible to give them the chance to keep on playing," said Judy Foster, STF executive director. "After all, this is where it all begins to insure the future of tennis in the U.S. by doing all we can to help young players stay in the game." For further information, contact Judy Foster, STF executive director, at judybfoster@mindspring.com.

Smyczek, Capra Earn US Open Wildcards at Playoff

Florida's Tim Smyczek and Beatrice Capra will compete in their first Grand Slam event at the US Open after winning their respective wildcard playoffs held at the USTA Training Center in Boca Raton, Fla.

The 22-year-old Smyczek defeated Ryan Harrison 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, to earn a US Open main draw wildcard in the men's final, and in the women's final the 18-year-old Capra, who trains at the Evert Tennis Academy, defeated top-seeded Madison Brengle 7-6(4), 6-4.

"I've played qualifying [at the US Open] a couple of times and I'm going to try to treat this the same way because I think that's the best way of going about it," Smyczek told the Miami Herald. "I'm thankful for the opportunity and I hope I'll make something of it."

Capra will compete in both the main draw and the US Open junior event.

"I'm so excited, I've never played any Grand Slam [main draw] before," Capra said.

Smyczek lives in Tampa but will start working with the USTA in Boca Raton with his coach Dustin Taylor. Capra is a recent high school graduate ranked in the Top 400 on the WTA Tour Rankings.






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