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Florida Tennis Briefs(5): Curtis Steps Down; Gainesville M.S. League; Hollis Named

June 28, 2012 02:11 PM
Florida Junior Tennis Legend Bobby Curtis Steps Down as Tournament Organizer

curtis-formal-head-webBobby Curtis, the face of Florida junior tennis for more than 30 years since he became an employee of USTA Florida in 1981, announced due to age and health considerations his full retirement from organizing tennis events following the 64th USTA Florida Bobby Curtis Junior State Championships, held this week at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach.

The 84-year-old Curtis was on site this week as a tournament organizer, and prior to the event made the draw by hand for the 64th edition of the tournament that has come to bear his name.

"This was the tournament to retire on," said Curtis, who announced his part-time retirement in 2009, scaling back from running events full-time. "It's a good year, this was the first edition that the tournament was renamed the Bobby Curtis Junior State Championships -- it's an honor and it's very humbling.

"It's a good time to go out, that's for sure," said Curtis, who during this year's tournament spent a number of late nights as organizers had to reschedule due to frequent rains and late play. "I'm exhausted! I've had great help over the years between [tournament organizers] Ann Brown, Andy Gladstone and Sandi Pardon. It's been a good run."

Parents, coaches, and tournament directors needing junior competitive information in the future will now contact the USTA Florida office for help. For more information on USTA Florida junior tennis, contact USTA Florida Competitive Education Coordinator Ann Brown at (386) 671-8942 or brown@florida.usta.com, or USTA Florida Competitive Tennis Coordinator Andy Gladstone at (386) 671-8931 or gladstone@florida.usta.com.

Bradenton's 18-year-old Dominick Cotrone raised the Boys' 18s championships trophy on Thursday when play concluded, and like many Florida juniors, says Curtis has been an ever-present figure for him in junior tennis.

"I remember seeing Bobby at tournaments since I was 7 or 8 years old," Cotrone said. "Me and Bobby go back a long way, it's always good seeing him. He's kind of the face of the USTA, he's an all-around great guy, he really makes it a great event."

Many current pros on tour who came up through Florida, such as Andy Roddick, were also touched by Curtis' guiding hand during their junior days.

"Bobby's countless hours of pure love for the sport was a take-away memory for me from my junior days when I played in Florida," Roddick said.

As early as the 1960s, Curtis was taking players to the Florida state junior championships as a coach, and then in the 1970s was working as a tournament organizer. Curtis says he never missed a state junior championship he was involved in due to injury or illness, noting a hip replacement and heart stint were his only medical issues. "I never missed an event as the tournament used to move around some -- we were in St. Petersburg, Jacksonville, Tampa, Miami, Orlando, all over the place," Curtis said. In 2002 the Florida Tennis Center was constructed in Daytona Beach, and Florida's top junior event moved to the 24-court facility.

"I know all the players, parents, and coaches who have been involved in junior tennis in Florida will always be thankful for all the efforts Bobby made over the years," USTA Florida Executive Director, Doug Booth said. "Naming the premier junior event in Florida after Bobby highlights his importance to junior tennis in Florida over 32 years."

USTA Florida volunteer President Dan Casey notes that even before Curtis became a full-time staff member for USTA Florida (then known as the Florida Tennis Association), Curtis was already the face of Florida junior tennis in his work at Moore Park in Miami's inner city. In nine years at Moore Park, Curtis transformed the facility into a junior tennis hub, featuring a free program to inner-city youth, and a goal of giving kids "an alternative to a life of crime, to show them that tennis could help them attain a better life."

"Bobby Curtis has been the tireless face of Florida junior tennis for forty-five years, sanctioning and running thousands of tournaments for hundreds of thousands of participants," Casey said. "It is fair to say that all competitive juniors growing up in Florida, or those competing in Florida from other areas in the country, have been touched by Bobby in a positive way. He will be missed but certainly not forgotten. USTA Florida staff and volunteers and players hold a special place in their hearts for him."

For more on Bobby Curtis over the years see:

Roddick Family, Others Reflect on USTA Florida Bobby Curtis Retirement
Before the days of TennisLink, the internet and the wide-spread use of computers, there was Bobby Curtis -- dealing with the families of Florida juniors such as the Evert children and Mary Joe Fernandez, Andy Roddick and Jim Courier, submitting hand-written entries for their national USTA junior events.

USTA Florida Renames Top Junior Tennis Event After Legend Bobby Curtis
"Bobby Curtis really has been junior tennis in Florida, ever since I've been alive," said the former world No. 1 Courier. "If you're at a tennis tournament and Bobby's there, you know you're in the right place. He really does signify what's good and true about tennis in Florida. He does it for all the right reasons -- he cares about the kids, he cares about the sport, and he's always ensuring that the whole of junior tennis is successful."

USTA Florida Announces Tennis Volunteer 2009 Award Winners, Bobby Curtis Celebration
USTA Florida celebrated "60 Years of Love and 30 Years of Dedication" on Dec. 4-6, 2009, during the USTA Florida 60th Annual Meeting and Anniversary Celebration Weekend at the Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort, recognizing the 30 years of service by retiring junior tennis icon Bobby Curtis.

Gainesville Middle School Tennis League Supports Rising Local Talent
By Amy Milani

This spring, the Gainesville Area Community Tennis Association (GACTA) provided 150 area middle school students with plenty of match play during the GACTA Middle School Tennis League. Held during the months of April and May following the high school tennis season, the league was run by volunteer parent-captains who recruited middle school students from eight middle schools under the guidance of Anne Koterba, vice-president of GACTA and coordinator of the middle school tennis program.

"GACTA appreciates the opportunity to work with the Alachua County school system to provide middle school students with a safe, fun, and learning atmosphere centered on tennis," Koterba said. "Tennis helps teach students how to live a healthy lifestyle, and this program gives them the skills to play in high school and with their family and friends for the rest of their lives."

The League's emphasis on creating fair competition gave middle school girls and boys the opportunity to play together by skill level. Jonesville Tennis Center, Westside Tennis, Haile Plantation and Oak Hall School lent their courts to the league for practices and/or match play during the dual match part of the season. On May 30 and June 1, the two-day GACTA Middle School League Championship tournament was held at the Jonesville Tennis Center and Oak Hall School, and had approximately 115 participants in seven divisions.

Jordan Glen School was awarded the team championship trophy, and Oak Hall School was awarded the finalist team trophy. Ribbons for individual winners and finalists in each division were also awarded at the tournament's closing event.

League teams were comprised of players from Alachua County and Lake City who attend Oak Hall Middle School, Jordan Glen, Lincoln Middle School, Kanapaha Middle School, PK Yonge Middle School, Westwood Middle School, Fort Clarke Middle School and Lake City.

John Lear, parent-captain of the Lake City team said, "The GACTA Middle School Tennis League is a great opportunity for middle school kids to play against their peers in a team format. This gives them a taste of what high school tennis is like with regular season matches and finishing with a tournament."

The league increased from four teams and 85 kids in 2011 to 150 participants and seven teams in 2012.

Team Results:

1. Jordan Glen -- 17 points
2. Oak Hall -- 11 points
3. Lincoln -- 5 points
4. Westwood -- 4 points
5. PK Yonge -- 3 points
6. Lake City -- 2 points
7. Kanapaha -- 1 point

Individual Division Results (FINALS)

#1 Flight:  Harry and Grey Cacciatore (Jordan Glen) d Selin Yayali and Nicholas Springer (Oak Hall) 6-0
#2 Flight: Brandon Stewart and Dare Harris (Jordan Glen) d Sophie Papa and Marcus Milani (Oak Hall) 6-2
#3 Flight: Tucker Hagstrom and Zach Dryer-Zyke (Jordan Glen) d Abbey Foster and Tiffany Torres-Rosario (PK Yonge) 6-1
#4 Flight: Brock Frey and Hershel Flechas (Jordan Glen) d Zach Brandt and Sam Perz (Westwood) 6-1
#5 Flight: Cameron Trimble and Colby Stewart (Jordan Glen) d Summer Uman and Ike Gugel (Lincoln)  6-2
#6 Flight: Elaa Singh and Alex Ro (Oak Hall) d Robbie Lester and Sheridan Conway (Jordan Glen) 6-1
#7 Flight (Individual Flight): Chip Deal and James Wishart (Oak Hall) d Nadira Najm-Cary and Matya Kaye (Jordan Glen) 6-4

Ft. Lauderdale Jr. Tennis Tournament Receives Florida Sports Grant

tampa_bay_licenseFlorida Sports, a Division of Enterprise Florida, Inc., awarded 14 regional grants totaling $153,500 to statewide sporting events that will bring economic impact to the State of Florida during its June Board of Directors Meeting. The sale of Florida's nine professional sports team license plates throughout the state provides the source of funding for Florida Sports to award funds to statewide sports commissions hosting the events.

The USTA National Boys & Girls' 14 Clay Court Championships, held in Fort Lauderdale and Plantation, this year on July 15-20 was the lone tennis recipient.

The 14 granted events are expected to bring over $60 million into Florida's economy and over 104,000 visitors to the Sunshine State between late-June and December, 2012. Nine different areas of the state benefited from the Florida Sports Foundation Regional Grant Program and 11 sports were represented among the current grantees.

Sporting events bring additional tourism to Florida causing a significant out-of-state economic impact on an annual basis. Since 1996, the FSF has been assisting communities around the state in their efforts to attract sport events and opportunities.

The June round of grants represents the fourth and final quarterly awards of the 2011-12 fiscal year. The Florida Sports Regional and Major Grants Program awarded 48 grants totaling $623,500 and three Major Grants totaling $625,000. Combined, the Regional and Major grants projected an out-of-state economic impact of over $309 million and over 497,000 visitors to the state. The estimated dollar return per $1 for regional grants is $393 while the return per $1 for major grants is $104.

Wesley Chapel's Domijan Runner-up at USTA Pro Circuit Indian Harbour Beach

DomijanAfter several postponements due to rain, the singles and doubles championships for the Florida Beer Company Pro Tennis Classic were decided Monday, June 26, 2012, at the Kiwi Tennis Club in Indian Harbour Beach, Fla. This USTA Pro Circuit event drew players from around the world to compete for $10,000 in prize money, and benefits the Scott Center for Autism Treatment at Florida Tech.

Former Ohio State player Chase Buchanan faced Alexander Domijan for the singles championship, winning in straight sets 6-3, 6-4 following two rain delays and some crucial break points. Buchanan is also the 2012 NCAA Men's Doubles Champion and was named to the 2012 USTA Collegiate Team.
In doubles No. 2 seeds Ruben Gonzales and Darian King defeated Kevin King and Juan-Carlos Spir Monday afternoon to take the doubles championship 6-2, 3-6, 10-4.
"These young men are amazing examples of everything that is good about the sport of tennis," said Holly Baney, tournament director. "Patiently waiting for two days to compete in the finals, they shared laughter and good times with fans and opponents alike, making the hard work of all of the volunteers a pleasure."
With more than 90 tournaments throughout the country and prize money ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, the USTA Men's Pro Circuit is the pathway to the US Open and tour-level competition for aspiring tennis players and a frequent battleground for established professionals. Last year, more than 1,000 men and women from more than 70 countries competed on the USTA Pro Circuit for approximately $32 million in prize money and valuable ATP World Tour and Sony Erickson WTA Tour ranking points.

Hollis Named Head Men's and Women's Tennis Coach at Webber International 
Hollis robertWebber International University Athletic Director Bill Heath announced the hiring of Robert Hollis as the new head men's and women's tennis coach. Hollis served as men's and women's assistant coach during the 2011-2012 season.
"I am very excited about being named men's and women's tennis coach at Webber International University," Hollis said. "I would like to thank Bill Heath for giving me the opportunity to follow in his footsteps. I was fortunate to spend this past year coaching under Bill and it was a great experience learning from a coaching legend. I have some big shoes to fill and I look forward to the challenge."
Hollis served as a director of tennis and a teaching professional in Polk County for 34 years prior to joining the intercollegiate ranks as a coach. As a USPTA tennis professional, Hollis holds a P-I rating and has distinguished himself by receiving many awards as a teacher and as a USTA Florida volunteer.

Hollis currently serves as the USTA Florida Section secretary on the executive committee. In 1996, Hollis received the USTA Florida Male Merit Award which is given to the person who made the greatest contribution to amateur tennis in Florida for that year. The same year Hollis also won the national award as Volunteer of the Year for USTA Jr. Team Tennis. In 2000, Hollis also received the USTA/USPTA Florida Division Service Award. This award is given to the person demonstrating leadership and vision in promoting both the USTA Florida Section and the United States Professional Tennis Association-Florida Section.
After playing on the tennis team at Polk Community College for two years, and completing his A.A. Degree, Hollis transferred to Flagler College where he played his final two years of tennis and completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration in 1977. Hollis helped lead his team to 32-2 record his senior season and Flagler also won their first-ever NAIA National Championship. Hollis was inducted into the Flagler College Athletic Hall of Fame, as a member of the 1977 championship team, in 2010.
Hollis grew up in Winter Haven where he resides with his wife of 33 years, Alice. They have two sons that also played college tennis -- Drew graduated from Florida Teach and now resides in Clearwater, and Blake graduated from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and he lives in Daytona Beach.
"Robert will be a dynamic coach and leader for Webber Tennis," Heath said. "Robert knows more about tennis than I ever will know, he has very outstanding leadership abilities, his business background is solid, and he will get the maximum effort out of the student athletes that he is responsible for. It was a true pleasure to have Robert as my side-kick this season and I look forward to cheering him and the teams on next season."






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