Florida Tennis Briefs(2): Campus Showdown in Lakeland; More

September 5, 2013 10:40 AM

Florida Southern College to Host USTA Campus Showdown

USTA Campus Showdown logo
Florida Southern College and coach Trish Riddell will host a co-ed USTA Campus Showdown event on Sept. 21, 2013, on the Florida Southern College campus in Lakeland, Fla.
USTA Campus Showdowns are fun, competitive one-day events held on college campuses that are open to all -- college and high school players, juniors, adults, league players and weekend hackers.
Singles and doubles are usually offered at the events, which give junior and college players opportunities for varied competition and a chance to see college campuses and college life.
The events also help the host colleges build stronger ties between college programs and the local tennis community.
For more information contact Riddell at priddell@flsouthern.edu.                                                                            

Florida Region 3 Tennis News Round-up

by Nancy Morgan, USTA Florida Region 3 (Tampa/St. Pete area) Columnist
New Port Richey’s Graham Heads to Austria for ITF Championships
Ria Graham of New Port Richey was selected for a second trip to the ITF Super-Seniors World Team Championships to represent the United States. She leaves this month for the 33rd championships in Austria.
Ria competed in her first world team championship in 2010, held that year in Turkey. In all, there are five men’s and five women’s teams, with Ria among eight women and six men from Florida that were invited, and the only player from Region 3!
Ria Graham
Team age divisions include men’s and women’s 60s-80s. The USA is the defending champion in four men’s and three women’s divisions, including the Queens’ Cup for the 75s, which Ria is one of four players on the team.
"I was halfway surprised to be asked because I hadn’t played that many big tournaments this year," said Ria, 75. "We hope to do well. This will be only my second time to play on red clay – the first when the Super Seniors were played in Turkey – and I remember the clay is finer than what I’m used to and if it gets wet, it’s a mess because it packs and plays slower."
Ria does expect it to be cooler there than in Florida, and plans to be prepared for different conditions. The teams play two singles and a doubles match each team match, and expects her teammates will discuss the line-up for each match. There are 11 countries represented in the Queens’ Cup with the USA seeded No.1.
In spite of taking up tennis in her adult life, Ria quickly made a name for herself in community play and then the tournament scene. She has been ranked as high as No. 1 in Florida and No. 5 in the USTA largely due to her tenacity and mental toughness, along with her natural athletic ability.
 The ITF team championships are Sept. 9-14, 2013. 
Innisbrook is a 10 and Under Tennis Go-to Club
The Innisbrook 10 and Under Tennis Play Day in July
Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor has been the hot-spot club of late for USTA 10 and Under Tennis activities.
 In the last few years, the north county Pinellas club has embraced the 10 and Under Tennis concept and seen the results of their efforts. Innisbrook teaching pro Judi Alford, originally from England, was a huge proponent of the program and couldn’t be more pleased with the results.
"The key is getting the kids playing the game as soon as possible to keep up their interest," said Alford, who played mini tennis in her homeland as a youth and later taught the concept there as well. "You can do that using the red, orange and green balls, as opposed to the yellow ball.
"All other sports allow the child to play the game practically from the beginning and their interest is kept at a high level. Now, once a player can rally, they can play, and this keeps the young kids in the game."
Innisbrook has hosted USTA Florida Play Days and ROGY events, and this month will host a Region 3 10 and Under Team Tennis Challenge.