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Two-time Grand Slam Tennis Champ Ferreira to Compete at US Open Playoffs-Florida

May 16, 2011 08:40 AM
Ellis Ferreira (left) and John Eagleton
Two-time Grand Slam tennis title winner Ellis Ferreira will become the highest-profile player to compete in the US Open National Playoffs-Florida this May when he teams with his prodigy Amanda Rogers in the mixed doubles competition, vying to win a wildcard into the main draw of the US Open mixed doubles.
Ferreira, who founded the Eagleton/Ferreira Tennis Academy in Longboat Key, Fla., (near Bradenton) following his retirement from the ATP tour, hopes to give Rogers, from Bradenton, a taste of high-level competition before she goes off to begin her college tennis career.
“I was told about the event by Amanda, I work with her at our academy, and she was told about it by [former ATP pro] Luke Jensen. She will be going to Syracuse University this fall where he is the coach. He thought it would be fun for her to play with me, seeing that I have a Grand Slam title in mixed from the 2001 Australian Open.”
Ferreira says he likes the concept of the US Open National Playoffs, where Florida and 15 other USTA sections offer tournaments where any player age 14 and over can compete for a spot in singles or mixed doubles at the US Open

“Making your way to an event like the US Open takes many years of earning ranking points in order to make the cut,” Ferreira says. “The costs are high and many people can't reach their goals. This gives them that one-time shot to make that a reality.”
Ferreira hopes to ultimately navigate the Florida Section event and the national playoffs to return to Flushing Meadows, N.Y., and the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the site of one of his greatest pro tennis memories.
“My best memory of the US Open was my doubles final there in 2000,” Ferreira said. “I was playing with Rick Leach against Lleyton Hewitt and Max Mirnyi. A friend of mine was able to fly my wife and two children up for the final in their private jet. Ashley had just given birth to our second girl in late March, so she was not in New York. She could not be in Australia earlier that year when we won the title there because she was expecting, so this was great to have her see me hopefully win another Grand Slam title. Unfortunately we lost 7-6 in the third set, but it is still a great memory. I am obviously hoping to win the event so that Amanda will get the opportunity to experience the Open. She has real talent and a great opportunity herself to one day be there playing singles.”
The high school senior Rodgers says a US Open mixed doubles wildcard berth is within reach, especially considering their secret “lefty” weapon.
“Ellis is an amazing coach and it will be a great experience to play in a pressure situation with someone who has been there before,” Rodgers said. “I am looking forward to the tournament in general because of the opportunity to play in the US Open. Not only is it going to be exciting, but it will be interesting because Ellis and I are both lefties, which is a big reason I work with him and John Eagleton, to try and become the best lefty I can be.”
The 41-year-old Ferreira occasionally dips back into competitive age-group tournament play, in April competing with a friend in doubles at the USTA National 40 doubles in Salt Lake City, Utah. He won 18 career ATP/Grand Slam titles in 34 finals during his career, also winning the 2000 Australian Open with Leach. For more information on the Eagleton/Ferreira Tennis Academy in Longboat Key, go to www.eftennis.com.
The US Open National Playoffs is a series of tournaments that gives any player 14 years of age or older who meets the eligibility requirements the opportunity to qualify for the 2011 US Open. The winner of each Sectional Qualifying Tournament in each division (men’s singles, women’s singles, mixed doubles) will advance to the US Open National Playoffs Championships in their respective division taking place in New Haven, CT at Yale University during the WTA tour New Haven Open at Yale (Aug. 18-21 for singles, Aug. 24-27 for mixed doubles). The winner of each Singles Championship (1 male, 1 female) will receive a wildcard entry to compete in the 2011 US Open Qualifying Tournament (Aug. 23-26) and the winner of the Mixed Doubles Championship (1 team) will receive a wildcard entry to compete in the 2011 US Open Mixed Doubles Championship (commencing Aug. 31) at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
The entry deadline for the US Open Playoffs-Florida, to be held at the IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, is May 18. For more information or to register go to http://tennislink.usta.com/Tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=107975.





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