Florida Tennis Briefs(4): Taylor 10-U Spokesperson, Gladstone Award, More

February 28, 2012 03:13 PM
Florida's Rita Gladstone to Receive PTR/USTA Tennis Service Award

Rita-Gladstone.jpgProfessional Tennis Registry (PTR) presented its annual awards last week during the 2012 PTR International Tennis Symposium. The event, which included 50-plus on court and classroom presentations for tennis teachers and coaches, a tennis trade show and tournament, was held Feb. 24-28, 2012, at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, in Orlando, Fla.

Rita Gladstone, of Port Orange, Fla., was presented the PTR/USTA Service Award.

Recently Gladstone was also named the USTA National On Court Trainer of the Year, an honor bestowed on an individual who promotes the growth of tennis through exemplary on court training, assists the national office with the direction of the program, and is well connected with their section's efforts.

A grassroots tennis advocate, Gladstone serves at the national and sectional levels of the USTA. She is a member of the USTA national 10 and Under Tennis Task Force and serves as vice chair of the Jr. Team Tennis Committee. Very active in her home state of Florida and in her community as an RCW Trainer, Gladstone conducts tennis training for physical education teachers and after-school program providers.

"Rita Gladstone has had a remarkable impact on the game of tennis and her commitment and enthusiasm are unparalleled," said Kurt Kamperman, USTA chief executive, community tennis. 

Gladstone has been a trainer, coach, volunteer and player for more than 30 years. She played tennis for the University of South Carolina from 1984-88, and her 127 wins remains an unbroken school record.

Actress Taylor Named USTA National 10 and Under Tennis Spokesperson; March 5 Event

taylor christineThe USTA announced that on March 5 it will launch "March Into Tennis," a month-long drive to get more kids playing the sport. Actress and tennis enthusiast Christine Taylor will endorse 10 and Under Tennis as its official spokesperson.

Taylor, who began her career on the Nickelodeon network, has appeared in films such as The Brady Bunch Movie, The Wedding Singer, Zoolander, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, and Tropic Thunder, as well as other TV shows. She is married to fellow actor Ben Stiller.

"I know that if my kids try something new and it is too difficult for them, they immediately want to shelve it and go to something else," Taylor said. "With the new 10 and Under Tennis equipment that features shorter and lighter racquets, slower-bouncing balls, smaller courts and simplified scoring the game is a fantastic way to encourage all children to play and have fun."

Throughout March a record 1,200 USTA youth tennis events will take place across the country. March Into Tennis coincides with "Tennis Night in America," which will feature Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki squaring off in a battle of former world No. 1s in New York City's Madison Square Garden.

"Tennis Night in America is a terrific event that celebrates the game of tennis in our country. Our March Into Tennis promotion will showcase the fun and excitement of playing 10 and Under Tennis as well as the simplicity with which parents can involve their children in the game," said Jon Vegosen, chairman of the board and president, USTA. "We are thrilled to have Christine Taylor as our spokesperson to share with parents the many benefits their children gain by playing 10 and Under Tennis."

As part of the USTA's March Into Tennis promotion, Youth Registration Events across the country will allow parents to sign-up their children for spring and summer tennis programs at local tennis facilities and youth serving organizations. Play Days will provide kids of all skill levels the opportunity to experience the fun of competition in a social and fun setting. These events will take place in short, continuous matches over a two-to-three hour period. Kids' Tennis Clubs will give children the chance to try tennis in a fun, safe and supervised format, while they gain confidence and enhance their physical development and social skills.

Live television coverage of the matches begins at 7 p.m. on ESPN3 domestically and on ESPN International to over 130 countries. A tape delayed broadcast of the event will air at 11:30 p.m. on ESPN2 featuring Chris Fowler, Mary Joe Fernandez and Patrick McEnroe. A 10 and Under Tennis demonstration, in which local New York City kids using shorter and lighter racquets, slower-bouncing balls, on smaller courts, will precede match play by the professionals.

Parents and children can find more information about all the March Into Tennis promotions by visiting www.marchintotennis.com.

8th Annual Guardian Golf & Tennis Classic in Jacksonville to Benefit Children

The 8th Annual Guardian Golf & Tennis Classic at Jacksonville Golf & Country Club in Jacksonville, Fla., will be held on March 24-26, 2012, benefiting local low-income school children.

"The event has grown to be a highly-publicized celebrity, community, and local businesses-focused event in an effort to improve education for low-income children attending St. Pius V and Holy Rosary Catholic Schools," said Shariffa A. Spicer, executive director for Guardian Catholic Schools in Jacksonville.

Saturday will feature the Opening Draw Party Celebration and Wine Toast, registration, goodie bag pick-up, and the tournament draws. Auction items will also be available, and food and beverages served, all from 4-6 p.m. On Sunday the tournament will be played in a compass draw format from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The semifinals and finals will be played on Monday.

The 2012 Honorary Chair for the event will be Josh Scobie, Jacksonville Jaguars kicker. Raffle tickets can also be purchased for a trip for two to Paris -- only 60 tickets will be sold at $100 each. Tournament entry is $125 for individuals and $200 per team, and the registration deadline is March 16.

For more information go to www.guardiancatholicschools.org.

300 Elem. School Kids Experience 10 and Under Tennis in Rosemary Beach, Fla.

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More than 300 Bay Elementary School students experienced USTA 10 and Under Tennis on Feb. 21, 2012, when TOPS'L Director of Tennis Joe D'Aleo, staff and volunteers taught physical education classes in grades K-5 in Rosemary Beach, Fla.

"With it being another mild day in the Panhandle we were able to convert their one tennis court into five 36-foot courts for the kids to play on," D'Aleo said. "For most of the kids this was there first experience to play tennis, and with the lower-compression balls and correct-sized racquets, everyone was having a great time learning the basics of 10 and Under Tennis. The PE staff at Bay Elementary learned a lot about the new way for children to play tennis and was very excited about how much fun it was."

Also working with the children were Jonathan Clark, head tennis professional at Rosemary Beach Tennis Center, and Jessica D'Aleo, USTA Jr. Team Tennis local league coordinator for the area.

D'Aleo is working with Bay Elementary, their second partner school to become a USTA organizational member, to apply for a USTA Florida "Share the Love" grant for 10 and Under Tennis equipment.

"With the limited amount of public tennis courts in our area, if we can keep getting more schools involved I believe we could be on the right track to eventually build some permanent 36-foot and 60-foot courts on the school grounds," D'Aleo says. "Teaching these PE classes has been a great time for me and a great way to give back to a sport that has given me so many fulfillments in life. I encourage all teaching tennis professionals to go out to their local schools and donate there time -- the reward of seeing all the kids smiling and having fun is priceless."