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Florida Tennis Briefs(3): Kids Team Tennis, One-on-One Doubles, More

January 17, 2014 08:37 AM
Kids Team Tennis Challenge Set for Gainesville in March

JTT-Sun-2Kids love playing on teams, from junior team tennis to middle school tennis to high school. Now the new USTA Florida Regional Team Tennis Challenge is bringing recreational team play to Gainesville-area children.

USTA Florida's Team Tennis Challenge, presented by Wilson Racquet Sports, will be hosted by the Jonesville Tennis Center in Gainesville on March 15-16, 2014.

The two-day tournament will host teams with a minimum of two boys and two girls, and no more than eight players per team. Age divisions include 10-under Advanced, 12-under, 14-under, and 18-under, with three skill divisions: novice, intermediate and advanced.

These "BYOT" (bring your own team) events do not require previous team tennis league participation. Both USTA members and non-members can participate, with USTA members receiving a $10 discount on registration. Team registration closes on March 5, 2014. To register go to http://ustaflorida.com/teamtennischallenges.

"We have seen consistent demand across Florida for more open, recreational formats of play," said USTA Florida Associate Executive Director Andy McFarland. "The new USTA Florida Team Tennis Challenges offer fewer restrictions, allowing more teams to participate."

USTA Florida strongly encourages coaches to register teams early. "The partnership with USTA Florida Team Tennis Challenges is a great fit for Wilson Racquet Sports and our shared vision to attract more youth participation," said Erika Offerdahl, promotions manager for Wilson Racquet Sports.

Coaches and players can also connect with USTA Florida via Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #BYOTeamTennis.

For more information or to register go to http://ustaflorida.com/teamtennischallenges.

4 Florida $4,000 One-on-One Doubles Tennis Tournaments in 2014

One_on_One_LogoAn official pilot program of USTA Florida, One-on-One Doubles will make two upcoming stops in March and April in Florida, part of a four-stop circuit in 2014.

Upcoming tournaments are March 7 at the Kiwi Tennis Club in Indian Harbour Beach, and April 5 at Hawks Landing Tennis Club in Plantation, with $4,000 in total prize money on the line for each event.

The one-division event (men and women in the same draw) features cross-court only tennis play, where players must serve and volley on both first and second serves. Tournaments are in a compass draw format, with all matches first to four games with no-ad scoring and a 12-point tiebreaker at three games all. Players are guaranteed at least two matches in the compass draw format. The surface for the tournament will be green clay (Har-Tru).

The $80 entry fee includes tournament play, the Player Reception Party and Rockin' Blues Concert. A $15 guest fee admits guests to the Player Reception Party.

Four One-On-One Doubles Grand Prix Circuit tournament events in Florida lead to the National One-On-One Doubles Tournament and Rockin' Blues Event, to be held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Nov. 9, 2014. The winner of the Florida Grand Prix Circuit with the most points earned will receive an all-expense-paid trip to New York City to play in the national event.

Prize money and points breakdown are: Winner-$2,000 and 100 points; Finalist-$1,000 and 80 points; 3rd place-$750 and 60 points; 4th place-$250 and 40 points.

"The tournament includes rockin' Blues music, a live concert and the player reception with food and adult beverages," says event organizer Ed Krass. "A portion of the tournament proceeds will also go to benefit the Wounded Warriors Project."

For general information go to www.oneononedoubles.com or visit the Hawks Landing website at www.lake-tennis.com.

For specific tournament info:

Kiwi Tennis Club on March 7 -- http://tennislink.usta.com/tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=152396
Hawks Landing Club on April 5 -- http://tennislink.usta.com/tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.​aspx?T=152395
President's Message: Let's Take the Truth About Competition/Participation
and Turn It Into an Opportunity

Bob-Pfaender-web.jpgBy Bob Pfaender, USTA Florida president and volunteer

"We have a small bucket with a big leak" were the words of the USTA President Dave Haggerty at the US Open last year. USTA tournament play only appeals to a very small number of players. Here are some alarming statistics that will surprise you:

* Only 99,136 juniors under 18 played 1 tournament per year or more (nationally).
* Of those, 38% decided not to play a second event.
* Only 23,375 juniors under 18 played 6 tournaments per year or more (all age divisions nationally).
* Only 2,975 juniors in the 18's play 6 tournaments per year or more. So -- only approximately 1,500 "real tournament players" are available for the approximately 5,000-6,000 freshman college varsity spots in tennis that are open each year (D1, D2, D3, NAIA, JUCO). 
* There are 355,000 juniors who play high school tennis. Of those, only 36,396 play one USTA tournament per year -- only 8,665 played 6 tournaments or more.

SO -- We need to ask ourselves:

* "Do we possess a keen sense of urgency about the need to reinvent our current play/competition model?" (Dave Haggerty)
* "Do we devote more energy to prolonging the past than to creating the future?"
* "Are we about maximizing results in today's market, or are we defining how to succeed in tomorrow's?"

In the USTA Florida organization we have recognized these concerns for some time now. We have viewed this as an enormous opportunity that we have been missing. Your board of directors agreed on a strategic plan of action in September of 2012 to attack and improve the situation. We are well on our way with many grassroots programs to increase tennis play around our great state of Florida.

At our USTA Florida Annual Meeting & Volunteer Celebration Weekend in early December in Orlando, these new programs and opportunities were showcased to the volunteers and community activists that can make things happen back at home to stimulate play in their own backyard.

Here are some of the programs/ideas/tools/how-to manuals that those attendees received information on at our gathering and that are available to you from our office and on our web site (www.ustaflorida.com):

* Schools tennis, Tennis Clubs, Play Days, ROGY events (red-orange-green-yellow ball), and Rookie tournaments are back
* Florida After School Network (including tennis now)
* Team Tennis Challenge events -- regional junior team tennis events (offered and run by us) for 10-and-under and other age divisions for FUN!
* Tennis On Campus -- intramural team tennis on dozens of college campuses around the state of Florida for our non-varsity young people wanting to continue to have fun competing (road trips to other college campuses to play tennis are awesome !)
* Ultimate Tennis and USTA Florida Flex League Tennis
* Masters Tennis (adult beginner and senior alternative format of play on 60-foot courts with the orange ball)
* Tenis Para Todos -- Hispanic community outreach programs around Florida
* USTA Adult League Tennis -- 18 & Over to 65 & Over teams competing for sectional and national advancement
* Our partnerships with the tennis teaching professional organizations (USPTA and PTR) are key to helping you learn the game of tennis in any of these categories in your community

By building the base of youth participation in tennis, we will achieve the goal of more players in Florida to enjoy the recreational pathway of the game as well as the competitive one. 

The sport of a lifetime combined with our fabulous Florida climate is a perfect match for growing the game of tennis. 

Bob Pfaender
President, USTA Florida






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