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Florida Tennis Briefs(4): PlayDays, H.S. National R-up, USTA French Wildcard Change

April 2, 2012 04:10 PM
Family Tennis PlayDay in May in Wellington, Fla.

10_UnderPlayDaysBeginner to advanced parents and children can enjoy tennis together on age-appropriate sized courts when the Wellington Tennis Center in Wellington, Fla., hosts a USTA 10 and Under Tennis Family PlayDay on May 19, 2012, from 1-3 p.m.

A $25 per team registration fee includes a hat, snacks and prizes and more. For children age 10 and under the event will feature USTA 10 and Under Tennis, which encourages young people -- and their parents -- to get active and stay active. With smaller courts and racquets, lower-bouncing balls and simplified scoring, the game of tennis is now not only tailored to a child's size but also their attention span.

Gone are the days of the boring drills and chasing balls all over regulation-sized playing surfaces. From the first day, kids are playing and learning the rules through competitive experience.

PlayDays are events to introduce kids to competition in a fun, low-pressure setting where results are not documented and kids have the opportunity to get additional play experience. The Wellington Tennis Center is located at 12150 Forest Hill Blvd. in Wellington, Fla.

"Mom, dad, grandma and grandpa are invited to play in this fun, low-pressure, non-elimination, competitive afternoon of tennis with your child," said Debbie Ellsworth, USTA Florida 10 and Under Tennis Coordinator for the Villages of Wellington. "Come see and participate in this exciting program that is making tennis fun, while teaching this great life-long sport to our youth. Can't wait to see everyone on Saturday, May 19th."
Register at the Wellington Tennis Center by May 10, or for more information call (791) 4775 or e-mail Debbie Ellsworth at ellsworth@florida.usta.com.

Florida's Barron Collier H.S. Tennis Runner-up at National Championship

Barron Collier boysVarsityTennis 2011Naples' tennis powerhouse Barron Collier High School was stopped in the final of the 2012 DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championships over the weekend in Louisville, Ky.

The two-time defending Class 3A Florida state champion rolled through the tournament up to the final, losing 5-4 in the championship to New Trier Township High School of Winnetka, Ill. Barron Collier won its three matches leading to the final in impressive fashion by the team scores of 8-1, 9-0 and 7-2, the last over Florida Class 2A champion Fort Lauderdale-Pine Crest in the semifinals.

"I wish we could be happier for ourselves," said Barron Collier Coach Eric Manring of his squad's high goal, speaking to the Naples News. "Our expectations were not second. Everybody here is extremely disappointed."

For New Trier Township it was their second consecutive national DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championship title.

Barron Collier's No. 1 singles player and senior Brett Clark was handed only his second loss of his high school career, falling to New Trier's Jared Hiltzik 4-6, 7-6, 8-6.

Barron Collier's Alan Sweet won his singles match to finish with an 8-0 record in the tournament, as did No. 8 singles player Doug Small, finishing 4-0 in the tournament. Barron Collier this week starts its quest for a third straight Florida Class 3A high school championship.

Fort Lauderdale-Pine Crest finished in third place, blanking Kentucky's St. Xavier in the 3rd/4th place playoff.

Barron Collier and Pine Crest were the two Florida schools in the 16-team "A" boys' division at the event.

Tennis Volunteer Development Program Mentoring USTA Florida Volunteers

SEO-booth-volunteers-1.jpgThe United States Tennis Association-Florida Section (USTA Florida) is a volunteer-driven organization, from the grassroots level of USTA League and Jr. Team Tennis volunteer captains up to its various committee members and board of directors.

The USTA Florida Section is often noted for its seamless relationship between staff and volunteers. A large part of this success is due to volunteer training and mentoring provided by the Volunteer Development Program, which aims to develop and cultivate tennis volunteers to meet the USTA Florida Section's strategic, operating, and diversity objectives.

"I love being able to reach out to my Volunteer Development Program mentor," says Susie Rahimitabar of Orlando, a local league coordinator who volunteers at various levels. "I was recently curious about expanding my involvement with USTA in the area of junior programs. My mentor, Nancy Horowitz, listened, provided feedback and guidance, and later followed up to check on if I had further questions."

Rahimitabar says a mentor can be a huge asset when working within a large sectional organization, which is also part of the roughly 800,000-strong member USTA national association.
"The USTA is a huge organization, it can be intimidating," Rahimitabar says. "Having a guide and mentor can make the process of getting more involved more welcoming."

Rahimitabar, last year's USTA Florida Volunteer of the Year, adds that the benefits of volunteering in tennis are numerous.

"I love what playing tennis -- and living a tennis life -- has done for the quality of my life," she says. "Because I see how tennis has improved my life, I seek to bring this lifestyle to all who I feel would benefit from it, which is basically everyone."

The Volunteer Development Program also offers a prime opportunity to achieve and expand the diversity goals of USTA Florida, says Shelly Licorish, who is the tennis program coordinator for USTA Florida for Central Florida, and the Florida Section's diversity liaison.

"By reaching out to the potential market of volunteers in the section, we are also able to identify volunteers representing different backgrounds," Licorish says. "The section is committed to diversity, and to making the volunteer experience a fun and rewarding process."

Lyn Bruner of Ft. Myers, recently named USTA Florida March 2012 Volunteer of the Month, has also thrived as a volunteer under the mentorship of a "veteran" in the Florida tennis community. Clearwater's Judy Foster, who like Horowitz has received too many tennis accolades over the years to detail, helped Bruner along from the start as she volunteered to run junior tournaments and other events.

"Judy helped me learn about the USTA Florida organization and how it operates in support of growing tennis in Florida," Bruner says. "She introduced me to other volunteers and staff, and offered her insight to help me determine the best fit for my interests and the organization's needs. As a result, I have been a member of the Volunteers Council for the past two years and am currently a mentor for another volunteer who is becoming more involved with the organization."

USTA Florida staff member Lynne Salus, the volunteer development & meetings manager, has also worked closely with Bruner.

"She is a really good tournament director, she has been extremely involved with her local community tennis association, she is a member of the Volunteer Council, and helped last year reformat and restructure the USTA Florida Yearbook -- she just does everything," Salus says.

Along that same volunteer theme, like Rahimitabar, Bruner says she has received so much from tennis that she feels obliged to give back.

"I want others to enjoy as much as I do all that tennis offers," Bruner says. "I met my husband playing tennis. All my friends play tennis. I have met wonderful people through tennis and visited many parts of the country because of it."

Volunteer opportunities exist at all levels at USTA Florida -- for more information on volunteering, contact Nancy Horowitz at nancy@mgch.com or (954) 431-4609.

USTA French Open Wildcard Process Changes for 2012

Irina Falconi
Two Florida USTA Pro Circuit stops will take part in three events for the American women, and two events for the American men, that will determine which American players receive the USTA's men's and women's wildcards for the 2012 French Open.

In past years American players were named for a separate single-elimination tournament to determine who earned the USTA wildcards. In 2012, the American men's and women's players who earn the highest point totals from participating in selected USTA Pro Circuit events on clay will earn the men's and women's wildcards.

The three women's USTA Pro Circuit events will be April 16 in Dothan, Ala.; April 23 in Charlottesville, Va.; and April 30 in Indian Harbour Beach, Fla. For the women the players' best two singles results from the three events will be used and combined to calculate the point total. In the event of a tie, the player with the best WTA singles ranking in the published WTA rankings of Monday, May 7, 2012 will be awarded the wildcard. Players must compete in the singles event of at least one of the three events to be considered for the wildcard.

The two men's events will be April 16 in Sarasota, Fla.; and April 23 in Savannah, Ga.

American Donald Young will be among the participants in Savannah, where the 22-year-old will be looking to defend points from a runner-up effort in 2011, losing to fellow American Wayne Odesnik in the final.

Through an arrangement with the French Tennis Federation, the USTA will be awarding one women's singles main draw wildcard to the 2012 French Open, and one men's singles main draw wildcard.
Irina Falconi of Atlanta and Tim Smyczek of Milwaukee won the 2011 USTA French Open Wildcard Playoffs events to earn main draw wildcards at the French Open.

For more information go to www.usta.com/Pro-Tennis/Pro-Circuit/USTAProCircuit.






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