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Florida Tennis Briefs(4): Awards, Contest Winners, More

December 20, 2013 12:03 PM
USTA Florida and Wilson Bring the Heat in February with High School Team Tennis Challenges

WilsonUSTA Florida is bringing the heat to Satellite Beach and Clearwater on Feb. 1-2, 2014, as high school students from Region 3 and Region 4 will battle in their respective areas in the first-ever High School Team Tennis Challenges, presented by Wilson Racquet Sports.

Teams from Region 3 will play at Henry L. McMullen Tennis Complex in Clearwater, while teams from Region 4 will battle at DeSoto Recreation Complex in Satellite Beach. Registration for both High School Team Tennis Challenges is open until Jan. 22. Teams are gender-specific, with a minimum of four players and a maximum of eight. Intermediate and advanced divisions will be offered, and format of play is two lines of doubles and two lines of singles.

"Team Tennis Challenges are the ideal format for high school-aged players who are looking to warm-up for their spring tennis season," said USTA Florida Associate Executive Director Andy McFarland. "These two-day events provide all players with a challenging and fun environment, where they can build camaraderie and skills. As with our other team tennis challenges, these events also offer a clear value proposition for our junior USTA members."

"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 of Wilson Racquet Sports. "The high school challenges are a great addition to the series."

USTA Florida hosted eight Team Tennis Challenges in 2013, with Wilson Racquet Sports as presenting sponsor. As many as 20 Team Tennis Challenges are planned for 2014, focusing on all ages and skill levels. 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 discount on registration. 

For more information and to register for the Region 3 or Region 4 High School Team Tennis Challenge go to www.ustaflorida.com/TeamTennisChallenges. You can also connect with USTA Florida via Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #BYOTeamTennis.


Tampa's Beard Wins 2014 US Open Experience Tennis Package

USTA_FL_Section_Foundation_logoThe USTA Florida Section Foundation's 2014 US Open Experience Fundraiser raised approximately $10,000 to assist the USTA Florida Section Foundation's meet its mission of "Changing Lives Through Tennis." The Foundation provides grants to charitable organizations in Florida that provide tennis programs to under-served youth, and adaptive and wheelchair programs for all ages. 

The first, second and third-place prize winners were announced on Dec. 7 during the 2013 USTA Florida Annual Meeting & Volunteer Celebration Weekend in Orlando.

The Grand Prize winner was Barbara Beard of Tampa, who claims a trip for two to the 2014 US Open, including two tickets to the USTA President's Box, round-trip domestic airfare for two to New York and two nights hotel accommodation, complimentary US Open bus transportation to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, lunch in the USTA President's Dining Room, hospitality in the President's Suite, and access to courtside seating in Louis Armstrong Stadium, as well as Grandstand and all other courts.

"What a thrill, I danced around my office telling everybody what I had won and immediately posted it on my Facebook page," Beard said. "I have purchased tickets the past three years and have encouraged all of my close friends to purchase them as well.  Raising funds for Florida youth tennis programs is a great cause that directly benefits children within our state." 

Second Prize was won by Amber Hill of Naples. She will receive two 2014 courtside box seats in Arthur Ashe Stadium at the US Open.

"I still can't believe I won a prize!" said Hill, who was present at the USTA Florida Annual Meeting & Volunteer Celebration when her name was drawn. "That night was one of the best of my life. I have been selling and buying tickets for four years now after hearing the amazing stories about how the foundation helps those in need, at-risk children and communities that are forgotten about, I was overwhelmed hearing the stories of the work done. Selling raffle tickets became more about raising money for the foundation than winning the prize. I still buy my share of tickets each year hoping to win, but I now have a great understanding of what the foundation does and I am so proud to support it."

Third Prize, two 2014 Sony Open box seats for the men's or women's finals in Miami, went to Chelie Casey of Palm Beach Gardens.

Serving as the charitable arm of USTA Florida, the USTA Florida Section Foundation's provides grants to charitable organizations that provide tennis programs for Florida's youth and special-needs populations, along with building and renovating public tennis courts. The USTA Florida Section Foundation is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

For more information on the USTA Florida Foundation go to www.USTAFloridaFoundation.com.


Plantation Wheelchair Tennis Program Awarded USTA Grant

wheelchair-watching-webThe USTA national organization this week announced awards of $65,000 in USTA Wheelchair Tennis Grassroots Grants to 18 wheelchair tennis programs across the country for the sixth consecutive year. Grants were awarded to local organizations that promote and develop the growth of wheelchair tennis and use the sport of tennis to build stronger, healthier communities. Since the inaugural grants in 2008, the total pool of USTA wheelchair tennis grant money has increased each year.

The Plantation Community Tennis Corporation in Plantation, Fla., was one of the 18 recipients. Grant amounts were based on each program's existing budget and the future programmatic needs of the organization. Recipients can use the award to meet the USTA's grant initiatives including coaching, court time, equipment, recruitment and events (tournaments, camps, etc.).

Located at the City of Plantation's Frank Veltri Tennis Center, the Plantation Community Tennis Corporation offers wheelchair programming and events, and is a 501(c)3 organization that hosts four large tournaments each year in the City of Plantation. Monies raised from the events fund programming and facility improvements throughout the City of Plantation. The Frank Veltri Tennis Center & Club is one of the largest public tennis facilities in South Florida with 26 lighted clay courts and 2 hard courts. The facility has been chosen as the USTA Organization of the Year in 1997, and USTA Facility of the Year in 2007.
 
"We are delighted to award and recognize these deserving wheelchair tennis organizations nationwide for their commitment in promoting and growing wheelchair tennis and positively impacting wheelchair tennis players," said Dan James, USTA National Manager, Wheelchair Tennis, "These grants are just a part of the continued effort in implementing important programs that reach out to the wheelchair community through tennis and foster growth and success in individual players. The USTA is very happy to assist in these endeavors."
 
Additional USTA Wheelchair Tennis Grant opportunities will be announced in 2014. Organizations that are interested in starting a wheelchair tennis program or would like more information about wheelchair tennis can email wheelchairinfo@usta.com.
 

Murphy Named USTA Florida Masters Tennis Coordinator

murphy-christine-head-shotUSTA Florida announced in December that Christine Murphy of Pembroke Pines has been named Masters Tennis coordinator for the USTA Florida Section, effective Jan. 1, 2014.

The newly-created position will oversee the Masters Tennis program, which debuted in Florida in 2013. Masters Tennis is a 60-foot short-court option played within a full-size 78-foot tennis court for a wide array of players -- veterans looking to get back in the game after injuries, players who can no longer cover a full court or can benefit from a softer ball, or adults newer to the game looking for a fun challenge.

Murphy received an Associate of Arts degree from Broward College (formerly Broward Community College), studied dance at the University of South Florida, exercise physiology at Florida State University, and finished her Bachelor of Science degree from Virginia Commonwealth University, specializing in Wellness and Fitness through Movement. She was introduced to the outdoors by her father, a retired fireman, fisherman and tennis pro who taught her the game of tennis. Over the years she has continued her education, earning several certifications from various fitness entities, along with a Personal Training Certification from Jacksonville State University, and also enjoys USTA League play.

"As part of our association's strategic plan, we have a responsibility for growing and developing recreational tennis for adults, and with Masters Tennis as our new product, there was a strong need to have a staff resource in place," said USTA Florida Associate Executive Director Andy McFarland. "Christine brings a wealth of knowledge, education and a diverse number of skill sets to the organization, not to mention her enthusiasm for wellness and exercise is a perfect fit for adult recreational tennis."

The Masters Tennis 60-foot court with the lower-bouncing "orange ball" provides the perfect learning laboratory for players or teaching pros working with new players. Players can use their regular racquets, or smaller racquets which provide more control. "Clubs and players in Florida with our older demographic have been asking us for a program like this for years," says USTA Florida Executive Director Doug Booth. "Anyone can play with the smaller racquets, slower balls and smaller courts. Players who left the game due to age or injuries can again play with this format, truly making tennis the 'Sport of a Lifetime.'"

For additional information contact Andy McFarland at mcfarland@florida.usta.com, or visit the Masters Tennis website at www.MastersTennisFlorida.com.
 
 

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