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Florida Tennis Briefs(4): Tamiami Re-opening; Controversial Gulbis Wins Delray

March 5, 2013 11:03 AM
Tamiami Tennis 'Grand Re-opening' Showcases Permanent Kids Courts
 
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More than 300 children, parents and family members came out to the Tamiami Tennis Center to celebrate the "Grand Re-opening" on Saturday, March 2, 2013, when the new permanent 36' and 60' tennis courts designed especially for kids were unveiled.
 
"The kids didn't want to get off the 60' courts, it was a huge success," said USTA Florida Miami-area Tennis Program Coordinator Cathy Nordlund. "Those who came early had an opportunity to see the 8-and-under and 10-and-under league matches going on. Special thanks to the staff at Tamiami Tennis under the direction of Kevin and Andre Chow, and all of our great volunteers who came out to help."
 
In addition to the tennis the event featured games, prize-giveaways, face painting, tennis ball crafts and more.
 
"Tamiami Tennis Center is one of the most kid-friendly tennis facilities in the country," Nordlund said. "The center after the construction now features four permanent 36' courts, and four permanent 60' courts. The court installation is part of a commitment by the USTA to encourage children in diverse communities to become more active by playing tennis."
 
Tamiami Tennis Center was the first facility in Florida to feature both 36' and 60' permanent courts for kids (compared to a full 78' court). The Tamiami courts are the result of a collaboration of grants from the USTA national body, the USTA Florida Section, the USTA Florida Section Foundation, and Friends of Miami Tennis. Friends of Miami Tennis, a 501(c)3 organization, manages the Tamiami Tennis Center.
 
A number of USTA programs for both children and adults of all ages and skill levels are available at the facility, including USTA Leagues and Junior Team Tennis.
 
Tamiami Tennis Center and Tamiami Park are public facilities under Miami-Dade County Parks and Recreation, the largest parks and recreation organization in Florida.
 
All the courts built or renovated were specially lined to enable participation in the USTA's youth participation initiative, 10 and Under Tennis. Youth tennis is geared towards getting more kids to participate in tennis using modified equipment and courts tailored to a child's age and ability. By featuring shorter and lighter racquets, slower-bouncing balls, smaller courts and simplified scoring, children learn to play more quickly and easily while having more fun in the process.
 
For more information and photos go to www.ustamiami.com.
 
 
Controversial Gulbis Wins Singles, Blake/Sock Doubles at ATP Delray Beach
 
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Ernests Gulbis (photo: John Moreno/USTA Florida)
Former ATP Delray Beach champion Ernests Gulbis, who this year needed to qualify to the main draw due to his low ranking, captured his second career Delray Beach International Tennis Championships title on Sunday, defeating unseeded Frenchman Eduardo Roger-Vasselin 7-6(3), 6-3 for his first title of 2013 and the third of his career.
 
"I'm really happy. I worked hard," Gulbis said. "These last nine days were tough. I had a match almost every day, except one day when it rained, so I'm exhausted now. It's my favorite tournament. It's the only tournament in the world I am winning."
 
Gulbis caused a stir after winning his opening-round match, commenting on the quality of players in the Top 100.
 
"I was really getting [angry] to see who's in the Top 100," the Latvian said. "There are some guys who I don't know who they are. Some guys, I'm sorry, with respect -- they can't play tennis."
 
It was the first time two players ranked outside the Top 100 contested an ATP final since Houston in 2007 when No. 108-ranked Ivo Karlovic defeated No. 156 Mariano Zabaleta. Roger-Vasselin in his semifinal upended No. 1 seed John Isner in three sets.
 
"I had a set point but he made an unbelievable backhand winner," said Roger-Vasselin after his first career final. "When you lose in a final, it's tough, but it was a great week for me. It will give me confidence for the next tournament."
 
The American wildcard contingent of veteran James Blake and youngster Jack Sock claimed their first title as a team in the doubles final, defeating top seeds Max Mirnyi and Horia Tecau 6-4, 6-4.
 
"I really have to thank Jack. He played unbelievable," Blake said. "It's a ton of fun to play with someone who really enjoys playing. He's a great partner."
 
The pair had lost the previous week in the Memphis final to the Bryan brothers.
 
"Obviously, it's a big step for me," Sock said. "I want to thank the tournament director (Mark Baron) for giving me a wildcard in both singles and doubles. That was very generous. I was lucky to play with such a great player. We had a blast. We joked around and had fun, but I learned a lot, too."
 
 
Free Kids Tennis Festival Coming to Roger Scott in Pensacola
 
Tennis_Festival_USTA_FL_graphicRoger Scott Tennis Center will host a Tennis Festival, designed to get kids active and excited about tennis, on March 10, 2013 from 2-4 p.m.
 
More than a thousand facilities across the U.S. will host Tennis Festivals this spring to showcase the fun and excitement of playing tennis, as well as sharing with parents the benefits of involving their children in the sport.
 
Tennis Festivals welcome the whole family to play tennis at all skill levels. Parents and children are encouraged to participate and experience first-hand the way in which tennis is now sized right for their kid's age and ability.
 
"The free Kids Tennis Festival will be a forum for the beginner- and intermediate-level player to find out about more tennis play opportunities starting in our community, and register on-site," said USTA Florida Youth Tennis Coordinator Tara Dominguez. "The event will have a DJ, food, on- and off-court activities, prizes and more."
 
The event will also showcase 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, low-compression balls, and a simple scoring system, all adjusted to ease kids into the sport. Similar mini-tennis formats have long been popular in Europe, where stars such as Roger Federer and Kim Clijsters first learned the game with age-adjusted racquets, balls and court sizes.
 
"I think that it is an advantage from the beginning," said Florida resident and former No. 1 Maria Sharapova on 10 and Under Tennis. "It is much easier to have the lighter balls, and much easier to have a smaller court and I think it gives them a better sense of the game in a way. Whereas you are coming onto the tennis courts for the first time, and since it is one-on-one sport, it can be quite overwhelming. So for a young player that is trying it out, I think it is a wonderful opportunity."
 
Information will also be available on other local play opportunities such as youth team tennis. Youth team tennis leagues bring 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.
 
Players age 10 and under that are new to the USTA can also sign-up for a free one-year USTA membership to receive USTA youth publications and access to leagues and tournaments.
 
For more information contact Tara Dominguez at Dominguez@Florida.usta.com or (850) 261-6192.
 
For more information on Tennis Festivals at Roger Scott, contact Bruce Caton or Michael Edge at (850) 912-4103.
 
 
Sarasota Area to Host USTA Pro Circuit Women in March
 
usta pro circuit logo-collageThe Oaks Club in Osprey, Fla., just south of Sarasota, will host a women's USTA Pro Circuit $50,000 tournament on March 24-31, 2013.
 
The qualifying event will be held March 24-25 beginning at 10 a.m.
 
Tournament events include Kids' Day on March 30 from 9-10:30 a.m., a Pro-am on March 17 at 6 p.m. and VIP/Player Party at 7:30 p.m., USTA Member Day on March 19 featuring a complimentary tennis clinic, USTA Kids Club Day on March 20, and more.
 
In last year's singles final, former world No. 1 junior Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands defeated former Top 40-ranked Sesil Karatantcheva 6-4, 6-1 to break into the Top 100 and secure herself a spot in the 2012 French Open main draw.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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