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Florida Tennis March 2014 Regional Columnists

March 5, 2014 03:28 PM
Panhandle Tournament, Junior News

by Scott Harrison, USTA Florida Region 1-West (Panhandle) Columnist

 
region_1W-2014_Argo_Cup_Finalists
Argo Cup finalists, l to r standing: Michael Edge, Keegan Lowery, Denise Boatwright, Mickey Clinard, Robert Gaddy, Steve Campbell, Nina Bubelova, Liz, Pete and Bronagh Nowak, Brian Sakey, Rhonda Sakey and Lisa Bew. Bent over: Doug Boe. Kneeling l to r: LeAnn Causey, Ray Cocuy, Kat Dikosavljevic, Kenny Brasil and Lauren Haack.

Team Sakey Wins 3rd Argo Cup
The University of West Florida's 3rd annual Argo Cup was won by Team Sakey in a 6-0 sweep of Team Edge. Argo men's and women's tennis coach Derrick Racine dreamed up the Argo Cup as a fundraising mechanism for his teams. Between $2,000 and $2,500 was raised this year. There were eight teams each captained by a Pensacola area tennis pro or top player, and including an Argo man and woman as well as at least nine other men and women players.

The format was all doubles with local players getting to play with a pro or Argo player in one round and then their teammates in the next. All teams got to play four matches. Mike Thomas cooked up the burgers, chicken and dogs and Geoff Watts helped dole it all out.

Team captains included, besides Brian Sakey and Michael Edge, Derrick Racine, Chris Bloomberg, Rick Cuny, Rob Fair, Rick Davis and Patrick Bateman. Sakey's winning teammates included UWF's Kat Dikosavljevis and Kenny Brasil and locals Pete, Bronagh and Liz Nowak, Doug Kreis, Mickey Clinard, Ture Skinner, Marcus Anderson, Lisa Bew and Lauren Haack.

Edge's runner-up teammates included UWF players Doug Boe and Nina Bubelova and locals Robert Gaddy, Steve Campbell, Ray Cocuy, Keegan Lowery, Wade Wilson, Ashley Self, LeAnn Causey, Denise Iokim and Denise Boatwright.

Pace Junior Weaver off to a Good Start in 2014
Elena Weaver of Pace, Fla., has gotten off to a hot start in her first year of the Girl's 14. She has played four of the highest level of tournaments in Florida this year and has an 18-3 record, including winning the USTA National Closed Regional in Mobile in early February.

This writer has been around Panhandle junior tennis for nearly 40 years and it is one of the best starts in memory. If she can keep focused and working hard, she has a chance to do very well in junior tennis in both Florida and at the national level.

91 Enjoy Perfect Weather for the 3rd Annual Pensacola Adult Clay Court Championships
Perfect weather blessed Tournament Director Bruce Caton for the 3rd Annual Pensacola Adult Clay Court Championships on Feb. 27 through March 2. Ninety-one players participated in the event enjoying the wonderful tennis and the food and beverages!

Of the 16 events played, 10 locals won including Angela Stewart/Lauren Haack (Women's Open Doubles), Greg Bennett/Jean Lee (Mixed 45 Doubles), Doug Patton (Men's 60 Singles), Marina Agadzi (Women's 40 Singles), Mary Jane Evertz (Women's 60 Singles), Bruce Savage/Keith Thompson (Men's 50 Doubles), Patton/Art Adkins (Men's 60 Doubles), Yuri Stibolt/Donna Underdonk (Women's 40 Doubles) and Patricia Addison/Evertz (Women's 50 Doubles).

For complete results go to http://tennislink.usta.com/Tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=146299.


Tallahassee Column: Sweethearts, Special Olympics

by Kelly Tucker, USTA Florida Region 1-East (Tallahassee-area) Columnist

region_1E-photo_(14)Tallahassee Tennis Association's Annual Sweetheart Tournament
The Tallahassee Tennis Association held its annual Sweetheart Mixed Doubles Tournament on Feb. 15-16 at Forestmeadows. Players participated in a robin robin that consisted of the best two out of three sets with a third set tiebreaker deciding the winner. 

A dozen red roses was given to Gary Sack, the lucky winner of the early registration drawing, who asked to have the roses delivered to Sue Riley on Valentine's Day. A USTA Captain's Appreciation Party and Sweetheart Luncheon was held the first day of the tournament, and breakfast with special Valentine's Day treats were served on both days. 

The results of the tournament include:
5.5 Division Winners: Amy and Will Pichard
6.5 Division Winners: Sean Millard & Lizzie Ruse; Finalists: Stan Jastrzebski and Nicole Brooks; Consolation Winners: Dave Harper and Lisa Williams
7.5 Division Winners: Denean and Travis Sykes; Finalists: Cookie and Bill Zimmer; Consolation Winners: Kim and Greg Nichols
8.5 Division Winners: Linda Vannoy and Tim Carr; Finalists: Estella and James Waczewski

A special thanks should go out to Cathy Kendall, tournament director and vice-president of the TTA, and her helpful assistant, Dennis Kelley, president of the TTA, who made sure all participants had a good time.

Special Olympics Kicks off its Spring Season
Players from Rickards High School, representing Leon County Special Olympics, began practicing for their upcoming tennis spring season on Feb. 21. These players will soon join the more than 400 other local area players who can choose tennis as their sport to compete in during the Special Olympic Area Games that will be held on April 5 at Lincoln High School.  

Practices are held on Friday mornings at Winthrop Park with volunteer tennis coaches and teacher's aides, in addition to practices that are held during P.E. at local area schools. Practices for the adult Special Olympic athletes are held on Saturdays at Leon High School with volunteer coach Darcy Bellflower. 

Training for the Special Olympic tennis coaches who will be sending athletes from Leon County Schools to compete at the Area Games will be held on March 8 at Leon High School. For more information about Special Olympics and/or how you can volunteer, please e-mail Melba Jacobs at jacobsm@leonschools.net.

Region 3 Column: Best of Tampa Bay, Play Day

by Nancy Morgan, USTA Florida Region 3 (Tampa/St. Pete area) Columnist

 
region_3-M_OPEN-W_David_Robbins___Brandon_Muth
Men's Open winners Brandon Muth and David Robbins

The Best of Tampa Bay
The 12th Annual Tournament of Champions brought together doubles teams from charity tournaments held in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties to determine the "Best of Tampa Bay" for 2013. Nearly 130 players competed on 21 women's teams, 28 men's and 29 mixed for bragging rights in their specific NTRP level. In all, 11 champions were named and rewarded with gold medals in Olympic-style fashion.
            
Among the winners was three-time champion David Robbins and Brandon Muth of Tampa in the men's open division.

"Both David and I like power tennis and spur each other on," said Brandon. "Our personalities jive in that we're both laid back and like to take risks. We met playing in the K-Swiss Singles Flex League and decided to pair up for doubles."

The three-day contest held at East Lake Woodlands Country Club in Oldsmar was also the Suncoast Tennis Foundation's only fundraiser the community tennis association holds during the year. Nearly $10,000 was netted and will be directed to promoting tennis, particularly in-and-after school tennis programs. A new project for the foundation is a partnership with UPARC and the City of Clearwater to offer an Adaptive Tennis Program scheduled to begin this month.  

Tennis Play Day April 5
USTA Florida's Region 3 will celebrate World Tennis Day on April 5 at the Henry L. McMullen Tennis Complex in Clearwater.

Advantage Yours Tennis, a specialty tennis shop in Clearwater, is teaming with the Suncoast Tennis Foundation, the City of Clearwater and USTA Florida to offer youths free lessons, prizes, refreshments and tennis play in ROGY and 10-and-under formats. Adults will have opportunities to play-test the latest racquets from Babolat, Wilson, Volkl, Asics, Prince, Dunlop and Head with each company's representative. Area tennis professionals will offer free lessons to adults.
            
For more info contact STF Executive Director Judy Foster at (727) 725-3681, or Advantage Yours Tennis at (727) 442-7923.
     

Region 8 Column: Tennis Seniors Mellow With Age at Tournaments

By Cary Bayer, USTA Florida Region 8 (Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe counties) Columnist

 
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Niesi Sie

The East Coast Swing series of men's senior tennis tournaments proves one thing: that tennis is one sport you can play till you drop -- and drop shot. A recent tourney was held in the middle of February at the Polo Club in Boca Raton for eight divisions (55-90 with increments of five years separating each). The event featured almost as many players as the age of the winner of the most senior division. Matches are best two out of three full sets and, despite the advanced age of many entrants, all matches are singles.

Jean Mills, the Polo Club tennis director and teaching pro who's run this tourney the past four years, said she's "inspired every year with the drive, the determination, the stamina, the strategy, and the finesse shots from these senior men. In a way, it's better tennis than what you see on TV because of the long 15 to 20 ball rallies."  

Like a good wine that mellows with age, so do many of these 5.0 players, who mellow with strategy and finesse.

This event, along with similar ones at Boca's Woodfield Country Club and Broken Sound, and at Quail Ridge in Boynton Beach, is the brainchild of Dutch-born Niesi Sie, a former teaching pro who came east from Southern California, and his wife Janet, a club player. Wanting to give back to the game they love, Niesi and Janet inspired USTA Florida to put attention not only on junior tennis, but on its senior counterpart, as well. He saw beautiful claycourt clubs and plenty of "gung-ho players," as he puts it, to create player-friendly tournaments, complete with parties, lunches, and sometimes, valet parking.

Niesi, who won this year at Polo, and who's ranked No. 2 in Florida in the 70s (a former No. 1 in the 60s), is as gung-ho as Julian Moussalli, who commuted back and forth every day of the five-day tourney from Daytona Beach for the 75 division. Niesi inspired the USTA to grant the tournament designated status, awarding winners 200 points to their ranking, twice the total given to winners of regular tournaments.

Niesi praises the USTA and the host clubs for turning their attention to the seniors: "The USTA was very supportive in reinvigorating senior tennis, and the host clubs get lots of credit for supporting us in their busy seasons."

College Tennis Profile: Alex Cercone, University of Florida

By Colette Lewis, USTA Florida junior tennis columnist

photo_op-CerconeUSTAFlaUniversity of Florida senior Alex Cercone has seen just about everything in her years with the Gators, including the top of the collegiate tennis mountain -- NCAA team championships in 2011 and 2012. But when Florida hosted Texas A&M in a College Match Day last month, the 22-year-old from Seminole was called on to help rally her team.

The fifth-ranked Gators had been shutout 7-0 by arch rival Stanford the previous weekend, and the ninth-ranked Aggies, who reached the NCAA team final last year, were a formidable opponent for the SEC opener. In addition, under the USTA College Match Day format, there was no warm-up and no doubles to start, with six singles matches instead kicking off the competition, which was streamed live on ESPN3.

"I started out serving right away and I lost that game 40-love, in two seconds," Cercone told Gatorzone.com. "There were camera guys walking along the back and it was just really bizarre. But once I started getting into a groove, it was much better."

Cercone, playing Texas A&M's Saska Gavrilovska at No. 3, found her form by the middle of the first set in a 6-3, 6-1 win, posting Florida's first point in a 4-0 Gators victory.

"The first set was close, but once I won the first set, I played with much more confidence and it was a lot smoother sailing for me," the 27th-ranked Cercone told Gatorzone.com.

Sofie Oyen, Kourtney Keegan and Brianna Morgan followed with wins for the Gators, sending more than 450 happy fans to the Ring Tennis Complex exits, a regular occurrence in the past 10 years.

With the win over Texas A&M, Florida extends its home winning streak to 126, which began back in 2005. Cercone's victory was her 105th singles win as a Gator, and she is 66-12 in dual match play.
 
 

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