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Florida Rolls Out 'Masters Tennis' in 2013 for 55-Over Players

December 10, 2012 09:43 AM
Masters-Tennis-webUSTA Florida will introduce Masters Tennis in 2013, comprised of local club play or leagues for players 55 and older using the red, orange, or green lower-compression balls.
 
Masters Tennis will feature beginning play on 36-foot courts and lower nets with the red low-compression ball; and for more advanced players the 60-foot court with regulation-height net using the orange ball, or the full 78-foot court using the green-dot lower-compression ball.
 
"This has been in the planning for the last couple years, and is one of our strategic priorities for 2013," said USTA Florida President Bob Pfaender. "We are very excited about this new format which will be serving a large demographic in Florida."
 
In the Masters Tennis format players can still use their own racquets, and the lower-compression balls cause less stress on the body. Pilot programs featuring variations of the Masters Tennis format in 2011 were held in Lee County, The Villages retirement community and other sites, and were well received by players whose ability to cover a full-size court has been compromised by injury or age-related hindrances, but still want to play tennis.
 
"This is coming along at just the right time for me, with my age and all my injury problems," said USTA Florida Executive Director Doug Booth. "Tennis is one of the few sports for a lifetime, and the Masters Tennis format gives players 55-and-older another option."
 
USTA Florida is also currently accepting applications for Share the Love grants (www.USTAsharethelove.com) for equipment to start Masters Tennis leagues within individual clubs or facilities.
 
In January the Lee County Parks & Recreation department received a $3,900 USTA Facility Grant award from USTA national to put down permanent blended lines on their full-size courts for 10 and Under Tennis and Masters Tennis (55-over), and have since kicked-off play for both age groups using the modified balls and equipment.
 
"With all the public courts in Lee County now lined for 10 and Under Tennis, it seemed the right time to launch a modified tennis game for players 55 and older," said Harriett Bohannon, former executive director of the LCCTA, which received a Share the Love Grant. "Seventy-eight players attended one of the nine Play Day events at five park locations where the game was introduced. The concept was embraced by participants, many who had given up tennis due to medical limitations."
 
For more information on Masters Tennis, grants for Masters Tennis leagues or hosting Play Days, go to www.USTAFlorida.com/MastersTennis.
 
 
 
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