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Florida Tennis Briefs(5): Tamiami Celebration, Past President Passes, More

March 22, 2013 01:00 PM
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Mary Joe Fernandez, Miami Tennis Celebrate USTA's 10,000th Youth-sized Court
 
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) along with the City of Miami Parks and Recreation Department and the USTA Florida, celebrated the refurbishment and creation of 10,000 youth-sized tennis courts in the United States as part of USTA's commitment to First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative.
 
The event, Court 10K, took place on March 19 at the Tamiami Tennis Center, the largest facility with permanent youth-sized courts in the country.
 
"Tamiami Park represents what all tennis facilities should look like in the future, with courts for all age groups including 36-, 60-, and 78-foot courts," said USTA Florida Executive Director Doug Booth. "These age appropriate courts make the game of tennis more fun and easier to learn not only for 10 and under children, but also for adult players learning to play, as they age, or have injuries. We hope to help other facilities in Florida copy Tamiami Park in the future with grant money to help fund the projects."
 
Mary Joe Fernandez, U.S. Fed Cup captain, Olympic gold medalist and Miami native, joined in the celebration.
 
"This is very special for me because this is my hometown," Fernandez said. "To be able to celebrate with all of you this great achievement to have this park be the one with the 10,000th court for youth tennis is pretty remarkable. It's fantastic, not only you are getting great exercise, but with the less pressurized balls and smaller courts you have success quicker and you want to come back and play more."
 
The event recognized the efforts of USTA Florida to promote tennis in the community and to expand the participation of individuals of all ages in its different programs using the right equipment based on size and ability.
 
As part of this nation-wide initiative, all courts that were built or renovated were specially lined to enable participation in the USTA's youth participation initiative, 10 and Under Tennis. Youth tennis is geared toward 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 the past two years, the USTA has invested significantly in 10 and Under Tennis, and the initiative is the organization's number one recreational tennis initiative.
 
The USTA teamed up with First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative in 2011 to encourage young people across the country to get active, play tennis and lead healthy lifestyles. In addition, a component of the collaboration with Let's Move! was the commitment to encourage children to participate in the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA), in which more than 226,000 kids participated and completed the challenge through the USTA. To date, the USTA has had more kids complete the challenge than any other youth sports organization in the United States.
 
The USTA has constructed or refurbished 10,000 kid-sized courts since 2005 in public parks, school yards, tennis facilities and at local community-based youth organizations, like the Boys' and Girls' Clubs.
 
"Fast- Dry Courts were a huge help working closely with our Facility Assistant Program in the construction and renovation of Tamiami’ s existing piece of cement, transforming it into four great 36-foot and four 60-foot courts," said USTA Florida Miami-area Tennis Program Coordinator Cathy Nordlund.
 
The USTA has succeeded in the construction and renovation of more than 4,500 youth-sized tennis courts in 371 markets in 44 states throughout the nation in 2012.
 
 
Garlough, Former USTA Florida President, Tennis Advocate, Passes at Age 83
 
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Tom Garlough in 1977
Pompano Beach's Tom Garlough, who in 1976-77 saw the United States Tennis Association-Florida Section (USTA Florida, then known as the Florida Tennis Association) through some of its most formidable years as president, and as a member of multiple committees during his long volunteer tenure.
 
"We have always tried to be one of the most progressive sections of the USTA," Garlough wrote in the President's Message for the 1977 Florida Tennis Association Yearbook. "Our rankings system has long been regarded as one of the best and fairest systems in the United States. Now we are going to have all our junior singles rankings done by computer. This is a great step forward and other sections are following our progress carefully."
 
Born on Sept. 14, 1929, Garlough was inducted into the USTA Florida Hall of Fame in 1994, recognized for achievements and contributions to the game, including volunteer work at the USTA local, state and national level. He was inducted in the same 1994 class as legendary junior tennis organizer Bobby Curtis.
 
"One of the most important things he did, he was the first president to travel around the state," Curtis said. "He made a point to take some days off from his job and visit all [then] 13 Florida districts and talk to the volunteers. From the junior standpoint, for years we had no national junior tournaments in Florida. Tom when he became involved he was on some of the national committees and was instrumental in getting more national tournaments in Florida. We played each other in tournaments in the 40s and 45s [age groups], he was a good man."
 
Seventeen years earlier Garlough was also the recipient of the Male Merit Award in 1977, given to an individual "who has been, through his efforts, willingness, cooperation, and participation, most deserving of the respect and honor of all tennis volunteers in making the greatest contribution to amateur tennis in Florida," according to the awards committee.
 
"It saddens me that we have lost another long-time volunteer of our association," said USTA Florida Volunteer Manager Lynne Salus. "Tom had courageously battled Alzheimer's disease over the past several years. I will always remember his infectious smile and laugh."
 
Garlough was also president of the Umpire Association of Florida, and a member of the USTA Rules Committee. He was an active player and instrumental in the growth of one of the largest leagues in the U.S., the Senior Men's Tennis League of Broward County, and extending to other South Florida counties.
 
"I enjoy tennis too much," Garlough told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel about playing and volunteering in tennis. "I never wanted it to be my job."
 
A celebration of life will be held on Monday, March 25 at 10 a.m. at Kraeer Funeral Home, 200 N. Federal Hghwy., Pompano Beach, Fla., (954) 941-4111. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to North Star Community Church, 116 N.E. 24th Street, Wilton Manors, Fla.
 
 
Redfoo is In; Sign Up Now for Florida's US Open Playoffs Tennis
 
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Redfoo (photo: Craig Glover)
Redfoo, the boyfriend of current No. 3-ranked Victoria Azarenka and member of the music group LMFAO, and "Heroes" TV star Sendhil Ramamurthy are in -- how about your chance to say you've played in the US Open?
 
The road to the 2013 US Open starts for Florida players in Tallahassee this May when the US Open National Playoffs-Florida tournament will be held on May 25-28, 2013, on the campus of Florida State University in Tallahassee.
 
Entries opened this week, and you can sign-up now right here.
 
The US Open remains the only of the four Grand Slams to open its qualifying to all players age 14 or over in men's singles, women's singles, and mixed doubles.
 
Redfoo has entered the USTA Northern California Sectional Qualifying Tournament in Salinas, Calif., June 18-23. Ramamurthy has entered the USTA Eastern Sectional Qualifying Tournament held at the USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center at the home of the US Open, June 9-15. Both celebrities will compete in singles and mixed doubles.
 
Redfoo, 37, is a rapper, dancer and DJ, best known as part of the musical duo LMFAO, whose hit "Party Rock Anthem" and "Sexy and I Know It" dominated the music charts. Redfoo, who formed LMFAO in 2006, is set to release his first solo album this year. The multi-talented artist is also involved with tennis in a variety of ways -- as a player, a fan, a coach, and a tournament sponsor. Redfoo played tennis as a junior and has recently been seen as a spectator at many of the Grand Slam tournaments. Redfoo also sponsored a USTA Pro Circuit women's event last September, titled "The Party Rock Open" after his Party Rock clothing line.
 
Redfoo, who is entered under his given name Stefan Gordy, will be playing singles and mixed doubles with 17-year-old Ayaka Okuno, who he is currently coaching. Okuno is ranked a career-high No. 28 in the ITF World Junior Rankings.
 
"As a kid, it's always been a dream of mine to play professional tennis," Redfoo said. "Thanks to the US Open National Playoffs for giving good players with a dream the chance to qualify for one of the biggest tournaments-the US Open. Every day I see my dream!"
 
Ramamurthy, 38, was a competitive junior tennis player in Texas who always had dreams of going pro, but fell back on his safety profession -- acting. Perhaps best known for playing Dr. Mohinder Suresh on NBC's "Heroes," Ramamurthy also co-starred on "Covert Affairs," "The Office," and in the current "Beauty and the Beast" on the CW. In film, his feature credits include the independents SHOR, BRAHMIN BULLS and THE LIFEGUARD.
 
"I'm psyched to compete in this year's US Open National Playoffs," Ramamurthy said. "Since I was a young player, I always dreamed of snagging a spot at the Open. I am also excited to play on the grounds of the US Open, where all of the action happens and where there is so much US Open history."
 
Other celebrities and personalities that have competed in the US Open National Playoffs include Olympic skier Bode Miller, former Major League baseball player Todd Walker, and ESPN's Mike Greenberg, who teamed with six-time US Open champion Chris Evert in mixed doubles.
 
The US Open National Playoffs begin as a series of sectional qualifying tournaments and will be held in 13 USTA Sections throughout the country. The 13 men's, women's and mixed doubles champions or top available finishers from each sectional qualifying tournament will advance to the US Open National Playoffs Championships, held in conjunction with the New Haven Open at Yale presented by First Niagara, an Emirates Airline US Open Series event, prior to the US Open.
 
The US Open National Playoffs men's and women's singles champions earn a wildcard into the US Open Qualifying Tournament, held the week prior to the US Open. The US Open National Playoffs mixed doubles champions receive a wildcard into the main draw of the 2013 US Open.
 
 
 
Frank Veltri Tennis Center Hosts Largest ROGY Tennis in Florida to Date
 
ROGY_banner_with_girlsThe Frank Veltri Tennis Center in Plantation, Fla., held the largest ROGY kids tennis event in Florida to date when it hosted 62 juniors on March 16, 2013. An earlier event hosted in late February featured an additional 47 participants.
 
ROGY (for the Red, Orange, Green and Yellow balls used in the 10 and Under Tennis format of play) is a new USTA Florida series of "Tourn-events" in 2013 for youth tennis players to hone their skills in a fun, no-pressure format. The three-hour events feature fun match play for kids age 8 to 18, without the pressure of rankings.
 
"We had a great turnout, and with the players playing short-set matches, everyone played 3-5 matches," said Director Lowell Coffman. "These events are a great complement to Jr. Team Tennis and fit a need in the tennis pathway for juniors."
 
The next Plantation ROGY event is scheduled for May 11.
 
ROGY is ideal for youth players of all ages who want to improve their game by playing opponents with a similar skill level. By removing the rankings, and focusing on gaining experience rather than winning, these events provide a more fun way for youth players to participate. It's also ideal for parents who don't want the high-stress and long days associated with more competitive tournaments, or the obligation of playing a regular league.
 
"The events are really designed for a rookie-level player who can serve, volley and keep score. It's a great intermediate step for kids who were introduced to tennis through a Festival or Kids Tennis Club and are ready to play more organized matches," said Andy McFarland, associate executive director of USTA Florida. "We purposely chose facilities that could provide the right environment for these events."
 
For more information on ROGY, to find out if your child is ready to ROGY and to register for an appropriate age division, visit www.floridarogy.com.
 
 
Tier One Tennis in Coral Gables Receives USTA Multicultural Grant
 
Junior Competitive Coach of the Year - Robert Gomez
Robert Gomez
The United States Tennis Association announced it has awarded $75,000 in Multicultural Excellence Tennis Grants to 10 community tennis organizations across the country, including Tier One Tennis in Coral Gables, Fla. The organizations will each receive a $7,500 grant towards their competitive junior development programs that train youngsters who are aspiring to achieve national and/or international rankings.
 
The recipients were selected based on the number of players with sectional and national rankings in a specific program. Grants are awarded to organizations that operate year-round and provide a high level of on-court instruction and off-court training opportunities, with a history of developing tournament-level players.
 
Tier One Tennis is overseen by Managing Director Robert Gomez, operating out of both Salvadore Park and the William Kerdyk Tennis Center at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, only blocks apart from each other. Tier One specializes in travel coaching, mental toughness training, and event management among other offerings.
 
"Travel coaching is a big part of our developmental philosophy," Gomez says. "How a player manages his or her tournament routine can be the difference between being an also-ran and finishing first. The best players don't always win their matches. More so the players who played best do. Tier Ones Travel Team has been successful in reaching peak performance by getting mentally and physically ready for each and every match while monitoring their performance from match to match."
 
Tier One also manages three prestigious junior events each year on the USTA national junior circuit: The Boys & Girls 18s' Rocky Mountain National Open in Denver, The TennisPlaza Cup in Coral Gables, and the Copa Badia in Coral Gables.
 
"The USTA is extremely proud to honor these programs for the tremendous work they do in developing today's young tennis players," said USTA Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer D.A. Abrams. "We are delighted that through these grants, many up-and-coming players will continue to receive the most outstanding on-court instruction and guidance that will prepare them for the highest level of competition and successful tennis careers overall. Not only is their work great, but their impact will truly be profound."
 
Multicultural Individual Player Grants for National Competition & Training, ranging from $1-4,000, were also awarded to 68 student-athletes throughout the country. The grants, totaling $150,000, provide funding to competitive junior players aspiring to achieve national and/or international rankings. Funding is based on the success level of each player from the previous year. He or she must train and compete in tournaments year-round and have a history of strong national tournament results.
 
For more info go to www.usta.com.
 
 
 
 
 

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