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Florida Tennis Briefs: Kozlov, Kenin Win Jr. Titles; Jacksonville YMCA 10-Under Grant; Children's Cup

January 3, 2011 10:46 AM
Kozlov, Kenin Collect Titles at USTA National Winter Championships Tennis

Two Florida juniors brought home titles from Arizona and the USTA National Winter Championships, which wrapped up on Jan. 1, 2011. The boys' and girls' 12s and 14s were played at the Reffkin Tennis Center in Tucson, while the 16s and 18s were contested in Scottsdale.
kozlov forehand 2009
Sofia Kenin Stefan Kozlov

Pembroke Pines' Stefan Kozlov won the Boys' 14 championship as the No. 3 seed, in the final defeating the No. 2 seed from Washington, Toshiki Matsuya, 6-2, 6-4. In the semifinals Kozlov steamrolled top-seeded Henrik Wiersholm 6-1, 6-0.

Another Pembroke Pines resident, Sofia Kenin, rolled to the Girls' 12 title without dropping a set as the top seed. In the final Kenin defeated No. 7 seed Elizabeth Porter of Dallas 7-5, 6-1. In her first four matches through to the quarterfinals, Kenin won her first eight sets by the score of 6-1 or 6-0.
"I did feel some pressure entering an event as the No. 1 seed, but that was not the first time and I've been managing it a little better now," Kenin said. "First matches are always a game of nerves, new surface, new people, etc., but I played pretty good."

For good measure Kenin also won the doubles title as the top seed with partner Zoe Spence of Chicago, in the final defeating No. 6 seeds Samantha Martinelli of Denver and Arizona's Delaney Nothaft 7-5, 7-6(2).

"I've been to the finals of two Super National tournaments in 2010 and I'm really happy to win a Super National event finally!" Kenin said. "Winning the doubles makes it even better!"

Another Floridian reached a national final when Bradenton's Ognjen Samardzic lost in the Boys' 16 doubles final. As the No. 8 seed with partner Thomas Pure of Pacific Palisades, Calif., they lost to Californians and No. 3 seeds Gregory Garcia and Nicholas Hu.

Williams-YMCA-kids-webWilliams YMCA in Jacksonville Receives USTA Florida Grant to Expand 10-Under Tennis

Jacksonville's Williams Family YMCA has received a $1,000 grant for 10-and-Under Tennis equipment from the United States Tennis Association-Florida's (USTA Florida) "Share the Love" grant initiative to grow the game with beginning children.

"In the past there has been a high demand for our beginner junior tennis programs," said Tennis Director John Dister. "We want to meet the needs of the community by offering programs that incorporate the 10-and-Under Tennis format. Once small children start lessons they can quickly lose interest in tennis. This is often because younger children are unable to learn and enjoy tennis from the beginning when standard-sized equipment and courts are being used."

The 10-and-under Tennis play format is designed for children featuring smaller court sizes, racquet sizes, foam and decompressed 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, Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters first learned the game with age-adjusted racquets, balls and court sizes. To see a video of the 10-and-under Tennis play format in action go to: http://10andundertennis.usta.com.

"The 10-and-Under Tennis program will allow the YMCA to scale the game down to the children's sizes," Dister said. "Also, the program will allow young children to enjoy and be successful in tennis from the beginning."

USTA Florida annually directs 90% of member dollars back into the community to support tennis programs and projects throughout Florida. USTA Florida's Share the Love grant program helps fund tennis programs and projects throughout Florida communities during challenging economic times. Funding priorities include 10-and-under Tennis and Jr. Team Tennis (coordinator training, start-up, etc.), public facility funding (schools, parks, conversion to permanent 10-and-under play format courts, etc.), community tennis awareness (innovative pro-active start-ups, program expansion), school programs and senior tennis programs/projects.

"We look forward to hearing of the further success of this program," said USTA Florida Director of Community Tennis Linda Curtis. "It is with USTA membership dollars that we are able to offer program grants to communities like these."
Share the Love grant applications are still being accepted by USTA Florida at www.USTASharetheLove.com, or questions can be e-mailed to grants@florida.usta.com. For more information on the 10-and-Under Tennis play format in Florida, go to www.ustaflorida.com.

To learn more about the Williams Family YMCA tennis programs go to www.firstcoastymca.org/williams-branch.

From left: Victoria Rodriguez (winner of 1st Children's Cup), USTA Florida Board of Directors member Nancy Horowitz, Pierre Arnold, Nicole Jimenez and Gustavo Granitto
Brazil Squad, Jimenez Crowned 2010 Children's Cup Junior Tennis Winners

Teams representing Argentina, Aruba, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Sri Lanka, and the United States participated in the 2010 Children's Cup, held Dec. 9-12, 2010, at the Pembroke Pines Racquet Club in Pembroke Pines, Fla. The Brazil National Team captured the Boys' 14-and-under title, while Pembroke Pines' own Nicole Jimenez of the GTC Elite High Performance Group won the Girls' 14-and-under individual title, in the final defeating Juanita Ceidel of the Arnold-Tobon Tennis Academy.

"This is a concept that allows players to compete from a development point of view, and it's great preparation for Jr. Orange Bowl as well," said Patrick Arnold, Brazil's national director of junior competition. The Children's Cup allows on-court coaching, and the team competition features a round robin format with singles and doubles.

"With their participation, competitors were helping other children to defeat their unfortunate situations," said Children's Cup founder Gustavo Granitto, who noted the event resulted in a $1,000 donation to the Broward Health Foundation, and a $500 donation to the USTA Florida Foundation. In addition the Children's Cup featured two days of exhibitions and Pro Ams with ATP player Benjamin Becker of Germany, pro Todd Widom, and ATP/Davis Cup player Lucas Arnold, who inspired players and coaches with stories of his diagnosis of cancer at the peak of his professional career, and his subsequent return to pro tennis.

For more information go to www.childrens-cup.org.






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