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Florida Tennis Briefs(4): FSU Hosts Disney Event; Nickelodeon Play Days; More

September 4, 2012 10:22 AM
Florida Junior Tennis Profile: UF Freshman Danielle Collins
by Colette Lewis, www.zootennis.com

collins-headDanielle Collins didn't play a tournament for five months, but the St. Petersburg native returned to junior competition with a bang in July, winning the USTA Girls 18s National Clay Court Championship in Memphis, Tenn.

The 18-year-old Collins, who didn't compete in tournaments due to senior activities at Northeast High School and occasional tendinitis in her knees, survived a tough second-round match in Memphis against Jessica Ho after trailing 4-1 in the third set. With the confidence gained from that match, the No. 16-seeded Collins improved her play in every round, defeating top seed and defending champion Gabby Andrews 6-3, 6-0 in the semifinals. In the championship match, Collins downed No. 4 seed Jamie Loeb 6-1, 6-4, ending Loeb's 31-match winning streak.

"It feels really special," Collins said of her sixth gold ball, four of which are from junior competition. "I've been here a lot, it was time to win it."

Collins was 14 when she played her first Girls 18s Clay Court Championships in 2008, and she lost that year to Lauren Embree, who went on to claim the title. Collins began playing with Embree, not against her, when Collins joins the University of Florida Gators this fall.

"I just knew I was going to go to Florida and I knew it was the best place for my tennis," Collins said. "It's not too far from home, and the coaches are amazing. I felt it was the place where I could go and have the best training, work the hardest and have the best girls in the country to practice with. It's also a great school academically, so that was a bonus. I felt it was the best place for me."

Collins knows joining the two-time defending NCAA team champions comes with pressure to perform, but she's ready.

"That's how you get better," said Collins, who trains both with Scott Dei and at the IMG Bollettieri Academy in Bradenton. "You want to play for a team like that, go where you know you're going to improve. I'm really excited, and it's going to be a good experience."


Oviedo to Host 10 and Under Tennis Festival at Riverside Park

Nick-WWDOP-USTA-FLIn conjunction with the thousands of USTA Free Tennis Play Days being held across the country in celebration of Nickelodeon's Worldwide Day of Play, Riverside Park in Oviedo, Fla., will host a free 10 and Under Tennis Festival on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012, from 8:30-10:30 a.m.

The event will utilize the USTA 10 and Under Tennis format, which allows smaller children to play tennis on smaller court sizes, with racquet sizes that fit their hands, foam and low-compression balls, a simple scoring system, all adjusted to ease kids into the sport. Similar mini-tennis formats have long been popular in Europe, where current stars such as Roger Federer and Kim Clijsters first learned the game with age-adjusted racquets, balls and court sizes.

"For the last year and a half, Seminole County has hosted numerous festivals and introduced over 5000 kids to 10 and Under Tennis," says USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator for Central Florida Shelly Licorish.

During the festival parents and children can also sign-up for lessons or programming in the area.
 
Information will also be available for parents and players on local USTA Florida Jr. Team Tennis leagues and other play opportunities. USTA Jr. Team Tennis (JTT) brings kids together in teams to play singles, doubles and mixed doubles against other teams. It promotes social skills and important values by fostering cooperation and unity, as well as individual self-growth. It is designed for kids ages 5-18, and matches can be held anywhere from a local park or school to a commercial or private club. JTT teams are co-ed and divided by the play levels Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and utilize the 10 and Under Tennis format for the 10-under and 8-under leagues.
 
The event is an effort to get kids active and involved in tennis following National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. USTA Free Tennis Play Days provide kids and parents of all skill levels with the opportunity to experience tennis in a social and fun setting. The event is open to the public with an emphasis placed on family participation, effort and sportsmanship. 

Riverside Park is located at 1600 Lockwood Boulevard in Oviedo, Fla.
 
For information on area 10 and Under Tennis opportunities, or the USTA Free Tennis Play Day in celebration of Nickelodeon's Worldwide Day of Play, contact Sheryl Rivas at rivas@florida.usta.com.


FSU Men's Tennis to Host USTA Clay Court Invitational at Disney

disney-goofy-tennisThe Florida State men's tennis team will host six of the Top 20-ranked teams, including No. 1 USC, in addition to some of the top U.S. junior players at the inaugural USTA Clay Court Invitational at Disney on Nov. 2-4, 2012. The teams and juniors will compete at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Tennis Complex in Orlando.

"This is an unique opportunity to run a tournament that includes the best collegiate players and the best U.S. juniors players at the No. 1 tourist destination in the world," said FSU Head Coach Dwayne Hultquist. "We are excited about our future with the USTA and Disney in running this event."

Joining Florida State, who finished No. 32 last year, are No. 1 USC, No. 7 Kentucky, No. 8 Duke, No. 12 Florida, No. 13 California, No. 17 Tulsa, No. 43 Columbia, No. 62 Georgia Tech, UCF and Penn State. Fans will get a chance to watch some of the top players in the nation compete against one another in singles and doubles.

"We have a rich history of hosting tennis events that feature some of the fastest-rising stars in the game, such as Monica Seles and Jim Courier," said Kevin Weickel, manager of sports development for Disney Sports. "When you combine that tradition with the expertise of Florida State University and the USTA and a field loaded with tennis powerhouses, this event could quickly become one of the most prestigious in collegiate tennis."

Virgil Christian, director of community development and facilities for USTA national, says fans can get a close-up of some of the best in men's college tennis.

"As a former player, coach and now a fan of collegiate tennis, this would be an event I would want to play," Christian said. "I cannot think of many better places in the country to hold such an event, at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Disney in the wonderful city of Orlando. This will be an exciting weekend on clay as the top players and coaches gather this November to compete in this inaugural event."

Eight USTA juniors will also be competing in the tournament, which will feature four draws of 16 singles and two draws of 16 doubles, with the top draws in singles and doubles consisting of ranked players.

"We're excited to bring a group of top juniors to this new event and to have them compete against some of the country's top collegians," said Patrick McEnroe, general manager, USTA Player Development. "In teaming with Disney, ESPN Wide World of Sports and Florida State University, we have put together an amazing opportunity for our top junior and collegiate players to face off on clay this winter; it should be exciting to watch."

Fans that would like to attend the event can call Tami Brown in the FSU Tennis Office at (850) 644-1893. For more information visit www.Seminoles.com, and follow the team on Twitter @FSU_MTennis.


Sanford to Host 10 and Under Tennis Festival at Sylvan Lake Park

Nick-WWDOP-USTA-FLIn conjunction with the thousands of USTA Free Tennis Play Days being held across the country in celebration of Nickelodeon's Worldwide Day of Play, Sylvan Lake Park in Sanford, Fla., will host a free 10 and Under Tennis Festival on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, from 1-3 p.m. 

The event will utilize the USTA 10 and Under Tennis format, which allows smaller children to play tennis on smaller court sizes, with racquet sizes that fit their hands, foam and low-compression balls, a simple scoring system, all adjusted to ease kids into the sport. Similar mini-tennis formats have long been popular in Europe, where current stars such as Roger Federer and Kim Clijsters first learned the game with age-adjusted racquets, balls and court sizes.

During the festival parents and children can also sign-up for lessons or programming in the Sanford area.
 
Information will also be available for parents and players on local USTA Florida Jr. Team Tennis leagues and other play opportunities. USTA Jr. Team Tennis (JTT) brings kids together in teams to play singles, doubles and mixed doubles against other teams. It promotes social skills and important values by fostering cooperation and unity, as well as individual self-growth. It is designed for kids ages 5-18, and matches can be held anywhere from a local park or school to a commercial or private club. JTT teams are co-ed and divided by the play levels Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and utilize the 10 and Under Tennis format for the 10-under and 8-under leagues.
 
The event is an effort to get kids active and involved in tennis following National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. USTA Free Tennis Play Days provide kids and parents of all skill levels with the opportunity to experience tennis in a social and fun setting. The event is open to the public with an emphasis placed on family participation, effort and sportsmanship. 

Sylvan Lake Park is located at 845 Lake Markham Road in Sanford, Fla.
 
For information on area 10 and Under Tennis opportunities, or the USTA Free Tennis Play Day in celebration of Nickelodeon's Worldwide Day of Play, contact Sheryl Rivas at rivas@florida.usta.com.

 
 

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