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Florida Tennis Briefs(5): One-on-One Doubles, Regional Columnists

February 5, 2014 04:13 PM
One-on-One Doubles Comes to Indian Harbour Beach, Fla.

One_on_One_LogoOne-on-One Doubles is quickly becoming know as "the third game of tennis."

In addition to singles and doubles, now players can hone their doubles skills with the game that pits two singles players against each other, but playing cross-court tennis only. The doubles alleys are good, and players have to serve and volley on both first and second serves.

One-on-One Doubles tournament events, endorsed by USTA Florida, include food, live music and more, part of a four-tournament circuit in Florida in 2014. The first event will be held on March 7 at the Kiwi Tennis Club in Indian Harbour Beach.

"I think that tennis fans who enjoy live music will really enjoy attending the One-On-One Doubles Grand Prix Circuit tournament events," says organizer Ed Krass. "With a $2,000 first prize, $1,000 second prize, $750 third prize and $250 fourth prize, many players will be encouraged to enter. The Compass tournament format is short sets to 4 games, no-add scoring. If a player loses early, they can keep on playing in the compass draw."

The $80 entry fee includes tournament play, the Player Reception Party, and the Rockin' Blues Concert. A $15 guest fee admits guests to the Player Reception Party. The one-division event (men and women in the same draw) will be played on green clay (Har-Tru).

"What makes the game exciting is that many of the top 35- and 40-year-old players have a shot to beat the younger players in this game of One-On-One Doubles," Krass says. "We even have Roscoe Tanner and Mikael Pernfors signed up to play in our April 5th tourney event in Plantation at the Hawks Landing Club.

"One-On-One Doubles tournaments have a party atmosphere, with the rockin' blues band performing during the tournament! Good food, beer and wine is all available. Players will be treated to a special reception party towards the end of the four-hour tournament. We try to make the tournament event friendly to the most casual sports fan, and allow for talking and rowdy behavior that is done in positive taste."

Events on the One-on-One four-tournament Florida swing will be:

March 7 -- Kiwi Tennis Club, Indian Harbour Beach
Enter at: http://tennislink.usta.com/tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=152396
April 5 -- Hawks Landing Club, Plantation
Enter at: http://tennislink.usta.com/tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.?aspx?T=152395
May 3 -- Buckhorn Springs Tennis and Swim Club, Valrico
Oct. 25 -- Avila Golf & Country Club, Tampa


The winner of the Florida Grand Prix Circuit with the most points earned will receive an all-expense-paid trip to New York City to play in the national event, held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Nov. 9, 2014.

"This tournament will be a true event not to miss for any competitive tournament player wanting to test his or her serve-and-volley skills on half a court," Krass says. "There will be no doubles partner, so this game will show who is the best One-On-One Doubles player with the most skillful all-court game."

For more information about One-On-One Doubles tournaments, visit www.oneononedoubles.com or call Ed Krass at (813) 684-9031.

League Team to Nationals; Junior Results and Winter Weather
by Scott Harrison, USTA Florida Region 1-West (Panhandle) Columnist

region_1W-2013_Gulf_Breeze_Mixed_40___Over_7.0_ChampsGulf Breeze Wins USTA League Mixed 40 & Over Sectionals, Headed to Hawaii
The Mixed 40 & Over 7.0 USTA League team from Gulf Breeze defeated Indian River/St. Lucie 2-1 on Nov. 10 at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach. The Breezers will play the Nationals in April in Hawaii.

Gulf Breeze won their flight pool 3-0 with the deciding match won by Brad Bradford and Renee Baggett 5-7, 6-4, 1-0 (super-tiebreak) over the Alachua team.

Gulf Breeze team members included Bradford (captain), Baggett, Kim Grub, David Jenkins, Anna Kreis, Gordon Paulus, Christy and Glenn Shane, Angela Stewart and Bonnie and Justin Witkin.

Great job and good luck in Hawaii.

Pace's Weaver 3rd at First Level 3 Girls 14 Tourney in Bardmoor
Pace's Elena Weaver finished 3rd at the Girls 14 Level 3 in Largo, having defeated No. 3 seed Andrea Amortegui of Weston 6-2, 5-7, 6-2. Weaver also defeated in the quaterfinals the No. 2 seed Margaret Owensby of Boca Raton 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 after being down 2-5 in the third. Weaver's only slip came in the semifinals to the 6th seed.

USTA Florida has restructured its junior tournament format and levels, with one of the higher levels being Level 3. The first of these level threes were held in the Central Florida area from Lakeland to Largo on the weekend of Jan. 18-21, 2014.

These tournaments are quite difficult to get into and eight area players made the cut: Boys 12 Frank Muldowney (Mary Esther), Boys 14 Jacob Baehr (Pensacola), Boys 16 Chris Ephron (Pensacola) and Danny Sullivan (Gulf Breeze), Girls 14 Weaver, Emmy Dobbins (Panama City), Elizabeth Nowak (Pensacola) and Caraline Scheufler (Gulf Breeze).

3rd Annual Pensacola Adult Clay Court Championships Feb. 27
The only sanctioned adult tournament in Escambia or Santa Rosa County will be held Feb. 27-March 2, 2014 at the Roger Scott Tennis Center in Pensacola. The tournament is a designated event and has age groups along with open, 35 and 45 mixed doubles.

Winter Weather on the Beach
On Tuesday night Jan. 28, the Panhandle of Florida froze up solid. All the bridges were impassable and folks like me who live at the beach were stuck at home. These conditions lasted until around noon on Thursday. Obviously, tennis players were frustrated as clay courts were frozen or mushy for a week.

But the most amazing thing I have ever seen was that the beach itself was frozen solid. Kids were boogie boarding down dunes as if they were snow hills. One could NOT stomp a footprint in the sand if one tried.

Then, on Saturday for the Double Bridge 10K Run, 3,000 runners enjoyed high 60s and short sleeve weather!

Tallahassee Golden Boys 'A League of Its Own'
by Kelly Tucker, USTA Florida Region 1-East (Tallahassee-area) Columnist

region_1E-Golden_Boys_008The "Golden Boys," a group of senior men age 60 and up, have been gathering on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at Forestmeadows to play tennis, socialize, and/or reminisce with longtime friends since the early 90s. 

The group began relatively small, needing only two to three courts, but over time, the group grew significantly, needing up to 10 courts to accommodate the expanding roster.  As a result, the group split off a few years ago to allow an earlier group, now known as the "Early Birds," to play at 8:30 a.m. since they couldn't get enough courts at 10. 

Mel McCarthy, the group's coordinator since 1993, says that although some of the Golden Boys can't play anymore, they still manage to come out to watch their friends play. A few years ago Paul Beckham coordinated the group for Mel, but now both Paul and Mel share the responsibility. Mel says the group used to have a schedule to ensure that there were enough players to fill the allotted courts; however, it became increasingly hard to find substitutes, so now the members of the group just show up and draw for their court assignments. If the right number of players don't show up, some might be asked to play singles or someone might need to recruit a player to fill a fourth.

Mel says, "Sometimes it works out and other times someone might have to go home." In either case, nobody seems to mind much. 

Many of the Golden Boys are nearing 90 or older. Bob Threadgill, believed to be the oldest in the group at age 92, is still playing despite having heart surgery last year.  He is only a month or two older than Rex Toothman, who was playing regularly up until last December when he had to be hospitalized for a few days. 

Frank Sherwood, 93, doesn't play anymore due to injuries but still manages to come out to watch and visit with his longtime friends. Pete Durland, 91, and Bob Peters, 89, are still actively playing and have been with the Golden Boys since its inaugural year. Each of the men saw action in World War II. In fact, Bob was a prisoner of war in Germany when the war ended. His life was saved by a German soldier who was searching bodies for cigarettes when he discovered Bob unconscious but alive in a foxhole. This is just one of the many stories that these men have shared over the years with one another. 

What makes this group special in my opinion is their love of the game, their commitment to the community through their volunteerism, and their enduring friendships. The members of the group are so close that they organize out of town trips together. In the past, the group has traveled to Calloway Gardens, Vermont twice, New England, Jekyll Island, Blue Water Bay, and the US Open in Flushing Meadows. They also get together for lunch once a month after tennis on Fridays.

As a player for more than 35 years, I can only hope that I am able to play with my friends well into my 80s and 90s, assuming that I am fortunate to live that long. Thanks for keeping some of us players inspired guys!

Upcoming Tennis Events Benefit Charities
by Nancy Morgan, USTA Florida Region 3 (Tampa/St. Pete area) Columnist

region_3-IMG_222621st Frenchy's Benefits Kids
As far as charity tennis tournaments go, Frenchy's Gumbo Classic is among the best -- the best in number of players with more than 200, the best in overall NTRP competition, the best in players' amenities and the best in supporting the children's charity Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay.

The brainchild of Michael "Frenchy" Preston, the charity tournament began in 1992 and has raised $15,000 to $20,000 each year. In 2013, $35,000 was raised from players' fees, sponsors, donations and the Silent Auction.

"It was really by accident that I became involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters, and yet it is the charity today that I get most involved in personally," Preston said. "Years ago, I was a Big Brother and I have been a board member for over 20 years."  
                
Thirty-three women's doubles teams, 51 men's and 42 mixed competed at the Henry L. McMullen Tennis Complex in Clearwater, with competition staged on both soft and hard courts.

Mark your calendar for this year's 22nd Frenchy's slated in November. Visit www.bbbspc.org for the specific tournament date.

The Best to Play the Best
The Tampa Bay area's top charity doubles teams will be named this month when the Suncoast Tennis Foundation hosts its 12th Annual Tournament of Champions. The STF is Pinellas County's non-profit community tennis association.

Staged at East Lake Woodlands Country Club in Oldsmar, the invitation-only three-day contest includes NTRP winners, finalists, semifinalists and consolation winners from designated charity tournaments in both Pinellas and Hillsborough counties in 2013.

While the tournament action will name "the best of the best for 2013" on the tennis courts, other activities such as the Silent Auction, raffles, sponsorships and entry fees will provide revenue for the foundation to provide financial support for growing tennis. Last year, $13,000 was raised and directed to community and school tennis programs.

"The 12th Annual Suncoast Tennis Foundation Tournament of Champions promises to be the best of all," said Judy Foster, executive director of STF. "With over 160 players last year, we expect a substantial increase this year.
              
"It's more important than ever for the tournament to raise a large amount of money this year as the foundation is embarking on a new Adaptive Tennis program in conjunction with UPARC to benefit all ages with intellectual and developmental disabilities. After funding this new program, STF hopes to revive the wheelchair tennis program that used to be held several years ago."      

Even if not eligible to compete, there's plenty to see and a variety of ways to support STF and its mission. For questions, contact Foster at judybfoster@mindspring.com.
 
For the Love of Tennis: New Local League Coordinators John and Amy Harper
By Barbara Eisner Bayer, USTA Florida Region 8 (Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe counties) Columnist

region_8-JohnAmySouth Palm Beach County is a Mecca for tennis players, but has always been underrepresented in USTA Leagues. That presented the perfect opportunity for John and Amy Harper -- Boynton Beach residents with a history of tennis in their blood and a passion for the sport -- to take the position of local league coordinators in North and South Palm, and share and promote their love of the game and the USTA.

Becoming LLCs was serendipitous: when the couple moved to South Palm from Tampa, there were very few USTA Leagues they could participate in. Amy became friends with Lou Armstrong and Maria Miro, LLCs from Broward County, who encouraged Amy to take up the reigns in her area. Her first mission was to enlist John. At the time, he was coordinating a tennis league through his church, so it was right up his wheelhouse.

In North Palm, leagues were already established with 550 participants; but in the Southern part of the county, there was only one lonely women's 4.0 division. So they called and visited tennis directors at many of the area clubs, and developed creative ways where they could have teams -- like charging guest fees to new players, and helping steer players to the clubs. Now, they've successfully expanded into mixed doubles.

Tennis has long been part of Amy's life. Although she underplays her success, her proud husband John doesn't hesitate to boast: "Amy was a top junior player, ranked as high as No. 38 in the U.S. 18s, and No. 1 in the USTA Middle States, and played college tennis at Clemson." John himself is no slouch -- he played NAIA tennis for LaGrange College.

The couple's love affair with USTA Leagues can be traced to the beginning of their own love affair. A player on John's 4.5 team in Tampa introduced him to a friend named Amy, who had recently graduated from college. The two fell in love, and the rest is history.

Promoting USTA tennis as a couple has its perks -- they can lean on each other for support. But it also has its drawbacks.

"The only downside is that the moment John walks in from work, I hit him up with 20 different things about the leagues," Amy says. "Plus, the kids are often saying, 'Mom, do we have to talk about USTA stuff?'"

When tennis is in your blood, kids, the answer is yes.

If you're in South Palm Beach County and would like to join a USTA League, contact John and Amy at ustasouthpalmbeach@gmail.com, or (813) 785-9158.


 
 

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