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USTA Florida Renames Top Junior Tennis Event After Legend Bobby Curtis

May 14, 2012 09:08 AM
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Beginning in June 2012, the USTA Florida Jr. State Closed Championships will henceforth be known as the USTA Florida Bobby Curtis Junior State Championships, named after the man who has grown to embody junior tennis in Florida.

"In December I learned the [USTA Florida] Junior Council had voted to name the Jr. State Closed singles and doubles after me, and [USTA Florida Executive Director] Doug Booth announced it at the annual meeting, and I almost fell over my feet," Curtis said. "It was pretty neat, and it's a real honor for me."

Curtis guided the likes of Florida juniors Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, Brian Gottfried, Jay Berger, Mary Joe Fernandez, and Chris Evert among others as they rose through Florida tournament play, the various age group ranks, and represented Florida at USTA national events.

"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."

The USTA Florida Section's first employee, before there was an established headquarters office, Curtis worked out of his room at home. He was one of the initial organizers of the Florida Section's top junior event, which at that time had no entry fee -- participants only had to bring one can of new balls.

Since then the event has evolved into the top star-making USTA section junior event of the 17 USTA sections, giving a preview of the next wave of college and pro tour players. Many current Florida junior players can cite parents who have played the event. It is also one of the few major junior events that combine boys' and girls' singles, doubles, and mixed doubles in the same event.

"When Florida became its own USTA Section, then they had to have their own junior sectional championship, so the tournament is as old as the section," Curtis said. "Every player who has become a household name has come through the tournament, Chris Evert on the women's side, Mary Joe Fernandez and so forth, and on the men's side you've currently got [Andy] Roddick and [Mardy] Fish, and before that [Jim] Courier and all the others. It's the one time everyone gets together and sees one another, all the age divisions, it's always a fun time of the year. I can see it going another 64 years, unless Florida gets flooded-over with the warming of the Earth," Curtis laughed.

He continues to assist USTA Florida as a part-time employee, helping organize major junior events across Florida, including this year's USTA Florida Bobby Curtis Junior State Championships.

"Bobby Curtis and Florida tennis will always have a special bond," said USTA Florida Executive Director Doug Booth. "Bobby has been an integral part of Florida tennis for over 30 years. His dedication, passion and impact on tennis  are immeasurable, and the support he has given to tournament directors over those years has helped provide an environment where countless junior players have excelled."

The 64th USTA Florida Bobby Curtis Junior State Championships, to be held June 9-14, 2012, will see the 18-14 age divisions played at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach, and the 12-10 divisions played at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs.

For more information go to:
18s-14s: http://tennislink.usta.com/TOURNAMENTS/TournamentHome_New/Tournament.aspx?T=119656
12s-10s: http://tennislink.usta.com/TOURNAMENTS/TournamentHome_New/Tournament.aspx?T=112735






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