December 19th, 2014

2014 in Review: Florida Tennis


Can you “Find Yourself in the Game?”

If you’re a Florida tennis volunteer, league player, junior, or just a fan of the game involved in Florida tennis, chances are you can find your name, or town, or program mentioned in our 2014 Florida tennis flashback.


Camargo and wife VOM-JAN-14After relocating to Orlando from Bogota, Colombia, tennis instructor Javier Camargo has come to epitomize the USTA slogan “Find Yourself in the Game.” Through his volunteer work with the USTA Florida Section, he and his family have shared the game with, and been embraced by, the Hispanic and Orlando tennis community at large. The 20-plus year teaching veteran helped launch the “Tenis para Todos” (Tennis for Everyone) campaign and was named the January 2014 USTA Florida Volunteer of the Month.

USTA Florida granted $5,000 to the USPTA Florida Division U30 Project, an initiative to build a new generation of under-30 tennis industry leaders. “I’m absolutely thrilled with our new partnership with USTA Florida,” said Jeremy Hakala, the U30 Project Team fundraising manager. “Thanks to great partners like USTA Florida, our young professionals will have opportunities for meaningful careers in tennis, opening doors that they might not have been able to go through before.”

USTA Florida League teams from Orlando, Maitland, Gainesville, Doral, and Tampa captured titles at the USTA Florida Combo 18 & Over (5.5/7.5/9.5) League Tennis Championships at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach, while Ocala won two division titles and Tallahassee and Key Biscayne were also winners at the Combo 18 & Over (6.5/8.5) Championships.

ti-champions-of-tennis-2013Two individuals and one organization from Florida were recognized when Tennis Industry Magazine named its “Champions of Tennis” for 2013, honoring standouts in the U.S. tennis industry. Honored were Tennis Sales Rep. of the Year Richard Mennig of the Miami/South Florida region, Fast-Dry Courts Inc. of Pompano Beach as 10 & Under Tennis Facility Developer of the Year, and Robert Carlbo of Palm Harbor as PTR Member of the Year.

USTA Serves (now known as the USTA Foundation), the national charitable foundation of the United States Tennis Association, announced awards of $450,000 in grants to 40 organizations that provide tennis and education to underserved youth and people with disabilities. Two Florida organizations were among the grant recipients: Hebni Nutrition Consultants, Inc., of Orlando; and Special Olympics Florida of Miami-Dade County.

ultimate-tennis-logoUltimate Tennis and USTA Florida announced a multi-year agreement to jointly run flex leagues in the state of Florida. The partnership leverages USTA Florida Leagues and the program and service offerings of Ultimate Tennis, the “industry leader in flexible format tennis leagues.”


blog site picThe Official USTA Florida Blog
site debuted in late February with former USTA Florida “IT Guy” Jose Medina blogging live from the ATP Acapulco event, the Friday Blog featuring the McEnroes vs. the Bryan brothers in the BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden, then the first Game Changer blog on the technology-infused Babolat Play Pure Drive. Tune in to see what comes next.

USTA Florida and the USTA Florida Section Foundation kicked off the month by announcing a landmark three-way agreement with Special Olympics Florida to provide more tennis play opportunities to athletes in Florida. The formal agreement builds on the existing support that USTA Florida and its charitable arm have provided to local Special Olympics programs by offering free 10 and Under Tennis workshops, grants, and other resources to providers that offer tennis programs to Special Olympics athletes. “This agreement is a prime example of how USTA Florida and our Foundation work together to impact communities each and every day,” said Linda Curtis, executive director of the USTA Florida Section Foundation.

BULL-RUN-Gold-Bracket-Winner-UF-A-webThe University of Florida Tennis Club concluded 2013-14 as one of its most dominant seasons on the USTA Florida ‘Tennis on Campus’ circuit by claiming the season-ending title at the co-ed USTA Florida ‘Tennis on Campus’ Sectional Championships, edging the University of South Florida 26-24 in the final. It was UF’s fifth consecutive title of the season, and the third straight tournament that saw the Gators defeat the USF Bulls in the final.

Croatian Marin Cilic won the longest singles final in tournament history, and the Bryan brothers lifted their third career trophy at the Delray Beach Open by The Venetian Las Vegas in Delray Beach. Andy Roddick led the USA team to the “senior event” title.

morris-racquetsBoca Raton’s Matthew Morris was named the USTA Florida February Tennis Volunteer of the Month. The 16-year-old Morris saw just how many friends he had willing to help those less fortunate after he collected more than 100 used tennis racquets for special-needs players. The high school player also volunteered at Tennis for Fun events for special-needs players. “It was something out of this world,” he said. “It gave me the greatest feeling of joy to just be out on the court with these kids and get to share with them what makes them so happy.”

Five junior girls from Florida took part in USTA Player Development’s Fed Cup camp, which was held alongside the United States’ Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Quarterfinal tie vs. reigning champion Italy at Cleveland’s Public Auditorium. Florida players participating were Amanda Anisimova (age 12; Hallandale Beach), Tornado Alicia Black (15; Boca Raton), Hurricane Tyra Black (12; Boca Raton), Elizabeth Halbauer (16; Boca Raton), and Sofia Kenin (15; Pembroke Pines).

Two USTA Florida Tri-Level League teams advanced to Indian Wells after capturing championships at the USTA Florida Tri-Level Playoff Championship at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach. The men’s championship was won by players out of the Tuscawilla Country Club in Winter Springs, located north of Orlando, while the women’s championship was won by the Palm Beach Gardens Tennis Club.


Serena bastad 2013Florida’s Serena Williams in singles and Florida residents the Bryan brothers won the doubles title at the 2014 Sony Open Tennis. “We’re pumped,” Bob Bryan said. “I now live in South Florida, so I’m starting to get a lot of family over here and a lot of friends. Our ticket requests were huge.” It was the Bryan’s third Miami title, and the seventh for Serena after she downed China’s Li Na. How quickly things change, as Li has since retired from tennis, and the tournament has changed its name to the Miami Open.

Long-time tennis trainer Bill Norris of Boca Raton and community tennis organizer Anne Davis of Tallahassee were honored when the International Tennis Hall of Fame presented the Samuel Hardy and Tennis Educational Merit Awards. The awards were given during the International Tennis Hall of Fame Annual Awards Luncheon, which was held in conjunction with the United States Tennis Association’s (USTA) Annual Meeting in Carlsbad, Calif. Hall of Fame President Stan Smith presented the awards, which are given annually to recognize great volunteers and leaders in the sport of tennis.

masters tennis 2014 newMasters Tennis grants for the USTA Florida Section were announced where facilities and organizations can receive up to $500 to start a Masters Tennis program, providing adults a tennis alternative on 60-foot courts (marked within a regulation 78-foot court) with the lower-compression “orange ball” or “red ball.” “Clubs and players in Florida with our older demographic have been asking us for a program like this for years,” says USTA Florida Executive Director Doug Booth. “Anyone can play with the smaller racquets, slower balls and smaller courts. Players who left the game due to age or injuries can again play with this format, truly making tennis the ‘Sport of a Lifetime.'” For grant info go to Also see this Masters Tennis promotional video featuring legendary coach Nick Bollettieri.

One_on_One_LogoRobert Kendrick took home the $2,000 first place prize at the inaugural Pro One-on-One Doubles Tournament, held at the Kiwi Tennis Club in Indian Harbour Beach. A new series of pilot USTA Florida events, the inaugural Pro One-on-One Doubles Tournament featured a 24-player qualifying draw featuring club players who competed for coveted spots in the main event. The 32-player main draw event was filled by current or former ATP players, tennis teaching pros and USTA national tournament players. For more information visit

The roll-out of the new-for-2014 kids Team Tennis Challenge series, the two-day kids events presented by Wilson Racquet Sports, continued with 14 events announced.  that saw 26 teams of more than 130 children competing in Orlando at the first event in February. “Organizer and parent feedback cite our Section-run events as a highlight, and the Team Tennis Challenges allow us to deliver quality-run events across the state,” said USTA Florida Associate Executive Director Andy McFarland. For more info go to

scott-colebourne-webAmelia Island’s Scott Colebourne was named the USTA Florida March Volunteer of the Month for his work on the USTA Florida Earned Advancement Pathway committee and helping ease juniors into competitive tennis. “Tennis is facing strong competition for families recreation time, while that recreation time available is also shrinking,” he says. “To compete, junior tournament tennis needs to make some changes, and I think that the recommendations of our Earned Advancement Committee, along with the Entry Level Tournament Committee, will create positive change for a child’s first years of tournament play.”


Marion County (Ocala) captured two titles, and Indian River County (Palm City) and Broward County (Tamarac) one each at the 2014 USTA Florida Adult 55 & Over (3.0/4.0) League Sectional Championships, held at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach. Both winning Ocala teams came out of the Fort King Tennis Center, which claimed the Women’s 3.0 and Men’s 3.0 championships.

florida-cup-2014-choiceThe West Division gained the upper hand over the East 36-14 to claim the 11th annual Florida Cup tennis tournament at the Sarasota Bath & Racquet Club. The event featured East vs. West team play in men’s 35-80 age divisions. The Cup changed hands this year after the East posted a rare win in 2013, with the West this year improving their win-loss history at the event to 9-2. Players of note competing this year included accomplished USTA Gold Ball winner Andy Lake for the East in the 40s Division, former ATP Top 100-ranked Swede Tobias Svantesson for the West in the 50s, former world No. 4 Roscoe Tanner for the East in the 60s, and former ITF Seniors age division world No. 1 Larry Turville for the West in the 65s.

USTA national through its USTA Facility Assistance Program awarded a $3,550 grant to the City of Hialeah. The grant was used to convert an asphalt-paved area into two new youth-sized tennis courts at the Goodlet Tennis Center in Hialeah, Fla. In total, the USTA Facilities Assistance Program has built more than 35,000 tennis courts across the country in the past seven years, for all ages and abilities to enjoy the sport of a lifetime.

65-sarasotamanatee_women-80-finalist-webMen’s and Women’s USTA League tennis teams from Collier (Naples), Duval (Jacksonville), Hillsborough (Valrico), Lee/Charlotte (Ft. Myers), and Sarasota/Manatee (Sarasota) counties captured championships at the 2014 USTA Florida 65 & Over League Sectionals, held at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach. Duval County won their third straight USTA Florida League Sectionals title in the Women’s 6.0 Division.

The University of Florida placed second at the 2014 USTA ‘Tennis On Campus’ National Championship, held in Surprise, Ariz. The squad from Gainesville was defeated by the University of California-Berkeley 27-13 in the championship match. The UF team was captained by senior Adam Decker and featured players Natalie Boruk, Stephanie Cruz, Barrie Eisenberg, Carol Fraley, Stephen Ireland, Maxwell Koller, Alexander Peckham, Anna Rachman, and Joseph Rudy. It was the fourth year out of the last five that UF has finished as the national runner-up.

Florida juniors brought home titles from the prestigious Easter Bowl in March in Indian Wells, Calif. Top-seeded Katerina Stewart of Coral Gables won the girls’ 16s singles title; Coconut Creek’s Tommy Paul won the Boys’ 18s doubles title; and Naples’ Mary Haffey won the Girls’ 18s doubles title.

Jimmy Roesch“We want to take a traditional tennis lesson about as much as you [older people] want to be on social media,” declared Jimmy Roesch, a young teaching pro and former Tennis on Campus player. He took part in USTA Florida’s “U30 Team Challenge” to come up with ideas to increase tennis participation in the 18-30 age demographic, both on and off the court. He has been introducing the  Tennis on Campus format to high school-aged players to let them know there are other alternatives to playing college tennis than being on the varsity team, and he was named the 2014 April Volunteer of the Month.


LakeNona_RevisedAerial_v3_small-smallThe USTA national body unveiled plans at a press conference in Orlando for the “New Home for American Tennis,” a $60 million facility with 100 courts, making it the largest tennis center in the country. The state-of-the-art facility in the Lake Nona area of Orlando will house the USTA’s Community Tennis and Player Development divisions, and will be divided into dedicated areas that will focus on the complete tennis pathway — from the youngest players, to recreational players, to collegians, to future professional players, and to professional tour-level players. The target completion date is the fourth quarter of 2016.

A USTA Florida Coaches Commission Region 1 Training Camp for the Panhandle area hosted 16 children ages 7-9 for training with the “orange ball” on 60-foot courts, and ages 10-11 for training with the “green ball” on full-size courts. “Some of the children invited were already playing with the [adult] yellow ball, but with not much success,” said Joe D’Aleo, tennis director at TOPS’L Beach and Racquet Resort where the training was held. The session included an education session with parents regarding the developmental levels of USTA Youth Tennis. “What we were trying to accomplish was developing their child’s tennis game for the future and making them better yellow-ball players in the long run, developing the players’ groundstrokes, volleys, serve and return.”

The UWF men national champions

The UWF men national champions

The state of Florida made a sweep of the Division II Tennis National Championships when the University of West Florida men and the Barry University women captured titles at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs. The UWF men entered the NCAA Division II Championships with a No. 1 national ranking, and in the final beat previously-undefeated and No. 2 seed Hawai’i Pacific 5-3 for the school’s third men’s tennis national championship. Miami Shores’ Barry University women also entered the tournament as the top-ranked team in the nation, and in the final edged Armstrong Atlantic 5-4 for their second national title in the program’s history.

Escambia County (Gulf Breeze, Pensacola) captured two titles, and Hillsborough County (Land O’ Lakes) and Pinellas County (Clearwater) one each during the 2014 USTA Florida Mixed 40 & Over League Sectional Championships, held at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach. Escambia County in the 7.0 division and Hillsborough County in the 8.0 division captured state titles for the second consecutive year.

Carolyn NIchols_Author Page Rectangle

ITF Women’s 55s world champ Carolyn Nichols

Seven Florida players captured individual singles or doubles titles, while seven finished runner-up at the 2014 ITF Seniors World Individual Championships at the BallenIsles Country Club in Palm Beach Gardens. Former ATP star Mikael Pernfors of Vero Beach captured the Men’s 50 singles, and the Men’s 50 doubles with fellow Swede Tobias Svantesson. Doubles winners were Aldo Burga of Port St Lucie and Ricardo Mendevil of Jupiter (Men’s 45), Sybille Niox-Chateau of Boca Raton and Karine Quentrec of Delray Beach (Women’s 45), and Carolyn Nichols of Ft. Lauderdale (Women’s 55).

Marion County (Hernando, Winter Park) captured two titles, and Indian River/Martin/St. Lucie counties (Port St. Lucie) and Broward County (Coral Springs) one each at the USTA Florida Adult 55 & Over (3.5/4.5) League Sectional Championships, held at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach. Pinellas County was denied a second straight year of advancing to USTA League Nationals in the Men’s 3.5 division where they were edged 2-1 in the final by the squad from Hernando.

Boynton Beach-based Susan Allshouse is Florida’s school tennis not-so-secret weapon. The USTA National faculty staff schools trainer is first on the scene when it comes to schools or Youth Tennis workshops, but her off-court involvement has especially helped the USTA Florida Section move forward in regard to the Youth Tennis format of play. As a volunteer member of both the USTA Florida Board of Directors and the USTA Florida Section Foundation grant team, she assists in determining the strategic planning direction and grant-giving of the section, and for her efforts was named the May Volunteer of the Month



From left: US Open Playoffs-Florida mixed doubles runners-up Star and Noah Makarome, and champions Brittany Dubins and Billy Federhofer

Tampa’s Jeff Dadamo became the first two-time champion of the US Open National Playoffs-Florida Tournament when the men’s, women’s, and mixed doubles champions were crowned at Scott Speicher Tennis Center on the Florida State University campus in Tallahassee. Dadamo in the men’s final defeated incoming FSU freshman Terrance Whitehurst of Tallahassee 6-3, 6-2. Boca Raton 18-year-old Liz Jeukeng captured the women’s title, stopping 14-year-old Emma DeCoste of Stuart, Fla. in the final 6-3, 6-2. The mixed doubles championship was won by Brittany Dubins of North Miami Beach, who just completed her senior year playing for the University of Miami Hurricanes, and Billy Federhofer of Miami, the former University of Florida player and current volunteer assistant coach with Barry University men’s tennis team. In the final they defeated brother-sister teens Noah and Star Makarome of Wesley Chapel, Fla., 6-3, 6-1.

Katerina Stewart

Katerina Stewart

Sixteen-year-old Katerina Stewart of Coral Gables joined the “Four or More Title Club” after capturing the Girls’ 18s title for the second time at the USTA Florida ‘Bobby Curtis’ Junior State Tennis Championships. Stewart joined nine other players crowned as 2014 Florida state champions in boys’ and girls’ age divisions 18-10. The 66th edition of the tournament was held at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach and three other Central Florida locations.

Debuting in June, youth tennis in Florida now has an easy-to-navigate one-stop shop for parents and players to find local events, school tennis clubs, team tennis opportunities and more at the Florida Youth Tennis website. Website visitors are greeted with link choices for “Try,” “Learn,” “Play,” and “Compete” to determine skill level and the level of play or competition desired. Parents and players can also check out upcoming youth tennis events and the latest youth tennis news in Florida, find an event or choose a program, find the latest rankings for age 12-18 ranked players, and more. For more information go to

robert gomezOne of the top tennis coaches in Florida is also one of the states top volunteers of his time when it comes to furthering the junior competitive tennis structure in the Sunshine State. Miami’s Robert Gomez is a long-time junior coach and event organizer, but as a volunteer member of the USTA Florida Junior Competitive Committee, he has for the last eight years help guide the direction of the highest levels of junior competition in the state. Over the last two years he has upped his commitment as a member of the USTA Florida Coaches Commission, and was named the USTA Florida June Volunteer of the Month.


Bollettieri-headIt was a long time coming — some might say too long — but Florida coaching legend Nick Bollettieri on finally walked out on the grasscourt lawns of the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I., inducted into the hallowed hall for his contribution to the sport of tennis. “This is not a Nick Bollettieri award,” said the man who has coached or mentored eight players who would go on to rank No. 1 in the world. “This award belongs to all of you, all of the people. And this award became possible by people saying, ‘Nick, you can’t do it.’ When anybody says, ‘Nick, you can’t do it,’ that’s when I did it.”

The Palm Beach Gardens Tennis Center in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., and Broken Sound Club in Boca Raton, Fla., were announced as two of 12 facilities across the U.S. receiving USTA Facility Awards. The 33rd annual USTA Facility Awards recognized excellence in the construction and/or renovation of tennis facilities throughout the country. Representatives were honored at the USTA Semi-annual Meeting at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City.

USTA League teams from Duval County (Glen Kernan Country Club, Jacksonville), Escambia County (Club II, Pensacola), Hillsborough County (Cheval Country Club, Lutz), and Marion County (Orlando Tennis Center) captured Florida state championships during the USTA Florida Adult 40 & Over League 3.5/4.5 Sectional Championships, held at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs and the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach. Hillsborough County and the Cheval Country Club in Lutz, Fla., almost swept the 4.5 division, winning the men’s title and losing in the Women’s 4.5 final. Marion County likewise almost won two, winning the Women’s 4.5 and losing in the Monday rain-delayed Women’s 3.5 final.

Katrina Stewart (right) with legendary Florida junior tennis organizer Bobby Curtis

Katrina Stewart (right) with legendary Florida junior tennis organizer Bobby Curtis

Florida juniors won three singles titles and five doubles championships at USTA Clay Court Nationals tournaments played across the country in July in age groups 12-18, sweeping both the singles and doubles titles in the Boys’ 18 and Girls’ 14 divisions. Coral Gables’ Katerina Stewart rolled to the the USTA Girls 18s Clay Courts title, extending a winning streak that at the time stretched to 34 matches, including two USTA Pro Circuit titles and the USTA Florida ‘Bobby Curtis’ Junior State Championships.

USTA Adult 40 & Over League teams from Orange/Seminole counties (Sanlando Park, Altamonte Springs), Leon County (Forestmeadows Parks & Athletics Center, Tallahassee), Marion County (Ft. King Tennis Center, Ocala), and Volusia County (Florida Tennis Center, Daytona Beach) captured USTA Florida League Sectionals titles at the 2014 USTA Florida Adult 40 & Over 3.0/4.0 Sectional Championships. The championships were held at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach, and at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs.

Floridians Natalie Amortegui of Weston, Adrienne D’Alewyn of Plantaton, and Grace Winslow of Sunrise were among 49 students across the U.S. receiving $330,000 in college scholarships from USTA Serves, the national charitable foundation of the United States Tennis Association. Amortegui and D’Alewyn received USTA Serves College Education Scholarships ($8,000 each), which go to high school seniors who have excelled academically, demonstrated community service and participated in an organized tennis program. Winslow received a USTA Serves College Textbook Scholarship ($1,000), which provides a one-time award to assist students in purchasing textbooks or supplies.

mwyf-new-2013-logoThe Gainesville Area Community Tennis Association in Gainesville, and the MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation of Jacksonville were Florida recipients of 46 community tennis grants totaling more than $429,000 from USTA Serves, the national charitable foundation of the United States Tennis Association. The grant recipients are chosen by a Grant Proposal Review Committee comprised of USTA Serves board members and USTA Serves national staff, with input from USTA sections.

vilardiYou don’t need to necessarily join a committee or be an organizational board member to be a key volunteer in tennis. As Pensacola’s Leslie Vilardi demonstrates, at the local level or beyond, you simply need a love for sharing the game which has given you so much over the years. A tennis player since the age of 14, the July Volunteer of the Month now ushers children younger than her starting age into tennis by volunteering at events in her area that utilize USTA Youth Tennis equipment — smaller racquets and lower-bouncing balls, and smaller courts right-sized for kids learning the game, with an emphasis on fun.


Marion County (Ft. King Tennis Center, Ocala) captured two titles, and Broward County (Weston Hills Tennis Club, Weston), Clay County (Eagle Landing Country Club, Orange Park), Duval County (Julius Guinyard Tennis Assoc., Jacksonville), and Hillsborough County (Harbour Island Tennis Center, Tampa) were also winners at the USTA Florida Adult 18 & Over 2.5/3.5/4.5 League Sectional Championships, held at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach and Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs. The Ocala teams were dominant in the 2.5 division finals, sweeping both the men’s and women’s titles, and claiming the Men’s 2.5 Division crown for a second straight year. Jacksonville also repeated as champion in the Women’s 3.5 Division, advancing to USTA League Nationals for a second straight year.

tennis teachers confereceThe USPTA honored those who stand out and go above and beyond in all aspects of the tennis industry at the Tennis Teachers Conference during its annual national awards presentation at the Grand Hyatt New York. Florida recipients were: Nick Saviano (Boca Raton), Tim Gullikson Touring Coach of the Year award; Kyle LaCroix (Boca Raton, Fla.), George Bacso Tester of the Year; Larry Savvides (Boca Raton, Fla.), Facility Manager of the Year, Small Facility.

The MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation in Jacksonville was announced as a recipient of $10,000 grant from long-time US Open sponsor JPMorgan Chase & Co. through the national USTA Foundation (formerly known as USTA Serves). The national charitable organization of the USTA, USTA Foundation announced a total of 10 National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) programs that received $10,000 each to go toward tennis and education programming.

Tornado Alicia Black (photo:

Tornado Alicia Black (photo:

Florida tennis junior players age 18-14 captured five national doubles titles, and recorded two singles runners-up and two doubles runners-up efforts during USTA National Junior Hard Court Championships held across the U.S. Sixteen-year-old Tornado Alicia Black of Boca Raton, Fla., was the singles runner-up at the USTA Girls’ 18s National Championships in San Diego, Calif., losing 6-3, 6-1 in the final to 15-year-old CiCi Bellis of Atherton, Calif.

Five teams won USTA Florida League Sectional championships and advanced to represent the USTA Florida Section at USTA League Nationals after completing victories at the USTA Florida Adult 18 & Over 3.0/4.0/5.0 League Sectional Championships. Winning teams were from Duval County (The Florida Yacht Club, Jacksonville), Hillsborough County (Davis Island, Tampa), Orange/Seminole counties (Maitland Community Park, Maitland), South Miami-Dade County (Doral Park Country Club, Doral), and Volusia County (Florida Tennis Center, Daytona Beach). The Jacksonville squad from the Florida Yacht Club successfully defended its Men’s 5.0 Sectional title from 2013.

kathryn_aciernoFlagler Beach’s Kathryn Acierno last year left her eight-year job as an art teacher at an elementary school to pursue another passion — working with small children to introduce them to tennis. In the Palm Coast area of Northeast Florida she teamed with USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator Molly Zimmer to apply for USTA Kids’ Tennis Club grants to offer additional after-school activities for youth in Flagler County. “There is such a need for convenient, fun and affordable on-campus, after-school programs, and I knew that tennis would be a big hit,” said the August Volunteer of the Month.


Champions were crowned at the 66th USTA Florida ‘Bobby Curtis’ Junior State Doubles Tennis Championships, where a number of players pocketed repeat age division titles. Among the notable winners were 2014 US Open girls’ singles semifinalist Katerina Stewart, and the sons of former US Open doubles champion Martin Damm. Sportsmanship winners were also announced from each age division.

Three Florida schools or tennis facilities received national USTA Facility Funding in September for tennis court restorations or improvements. The Westchase Swim & Tennis Center and the Countryway Swim & Tennis facility in Tampa received $10,000; Archbishop Curley Notre Dame High School in Miami received $5,000; and the Montessori School of Pensacola received $10,000.

Sofia Kenin in the Olympic village (photo: Art Seitz)

Sofia Kenin in the Olympic village (photo: Art Seitz)

Florida’s Tornado Alicia Black and Sofia Kenin helped the U.S. to the International Junior Fed Cup title, with the U.S. also collecting the Junior Davis Cup crown. The United States won both titles in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, sweeping the 16-and-under world team titles for the second time in the last seven years.

Leon County (Tallahassee), Marion County (Ocala) and South Miami-Dade (Key Biscayne) teams advanced to USTA League Nationals after capturing Florida state titles at the 2014 USTA Florida Mixed 18 & Over 2.5/7.0/9.0 League Sectional Championships, held at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach. Marion County successfully defended its title in the Mixed 2.5 division, advancing to nationals for a third straight year.

From left: USTA Florida Chair of Officials Sandi Pardon and Bill Kelly

From left: USTA Florida Chair of Officials Sandi Pardon and Bill Kelly

Three Florida tennis officials received USTA officiating awards during the USTA’s 2014 Annual Meeting in New York, held during the US Open. Bill Kelly of Valrico, Fla., received the 2014 Nicholas E. Powell Award, presented annually to an official in recognition of the importance of officiating at the local level, and whose body of work is done primarily at the grassroots level. Also receiving awards were Mary Kay Smith from Region 2 in Florida and Spence Youman from Region 4, receiving the Mrs. and Mr. Congeniality Awards respectively.

USTA Florida volunteer Susan Allshouse and USTA Florida staff member Cathy Nordlund were honored with the Special Olympics Florida Outstanding Volunteers Award, presented at the organization’s annual sponsor and athlete awards dinner in Brickell Key, Fla. “You have been chosen to receive this award because of your dedication to providing our athletes with extensive coaching and support,” said Miami-Dade County Special Olympics Director Linsey Harris Smith. “We are inspired by your commitment to provide athletes with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to train consistently and compete regularly.”

jerrell_lowery_1290737Florida A&M alumnus Jerrell Lowery has spent the last five years connecting his tennis foundation and the university’s varsity players in assisting at-risk inner-city youth in Tallahassee. The executive director of the Venom Foundation (named as a take-off of the Florida A&M “Rattlers” mascot) was named the September Volunteer of the Month for his work serving under-privileged kids with nutrition and fitness education, using tennis as a medium.


Florida teams scored at USTA League Nationals, with the Adult 18 & Over women’s 4.5 team out of Tampa capturing the national title at the 2014 USTA League Adult 18 & Over 4.5 National Championships in Indian Wells, Calif.

Two Florida men’s teams finished fourth in their respective divisions at the USTA League Adult 18 & Over National Championships in California and Arizona: the Adult 18 & Over 2.5 men’s team from the Ft. King Tennis Center in Ocala, and the Adult 18 & Over 4.0 men from Doral, Fla.

DorisHArtCupW80_thumb.jpgFlorida players were members of all three winning cup teams at the 34th International Tennis Federation (ITF) Super-Seniors World Team Championships in Antalya, Turkey. The tournament is the senior tennis equivalent of the Davis Cup and Fed Cup competitions. The U.S. won titles in the men’s Gardnar Mulloy Cup, and in the women’s Kitty Godfree Cup and Queens’ Cup events. The Americans also had runner-up showings in the men’s Von Cramm Cup and the women’s Alice Marble Cup competitions. In the individuals competition two Floridians were winners. In the men’s 80s final, Vero Beach’s King Van Nostrand captured his 10th singles title, defeating fellow American George McCabe 6-0, 6-1. Sarasota’s Doris Jane Lutz won her second consecutive title in the women’s 85s division, in the final topping Hungary’s Erzsebet Szentirmay 6-4, 6-4. The top-seeded Lutz did not lose a game before reaching the final.

Duval County (Jacksonville), Marion County (Ocala), and Sarasota/Manatee counties (Bradenton) were winning tennis teams advancing to USTA League Nationals upon completion of the 2014 USTA Florida Mixed 18 & Over 8.0/9.0/10.0 Section Championships, held at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach. It was the second consecutive year winning the Mixed 18 & Over 6.0 Division for Jacksonville.

coutinho-juan-webJuan Coutinho is a relatively new volunteer for USTA Florida, but not in the world of Florida tennis. For years the Miramar resident has participated in Hispanic workshops for players in the Ft. Lauderdale and Miami areas, but over the last year he has been instrumental with the roll out of USTA Florida’s Tenis para Todos (Tennis for Everyone) initiative. He was named the October Volunteer of the Month for his work with Hispanic youth and adults.

The University of Florida became the first repeat winner at the USTA Tennis On Campus Fall Invitational as the Gators defended their 2013 title with a 25-18 win over Auburn University at the Palmetto Dunes Tennis Center in Hilton Head, S.C. Both Florida and Auburn earned an automatic bid to compete for the national title at the 2015 USTA Tennis On Campus National Championship, to be held April 9-11, 2015, in Cary, N.C.

coach-noel-award-webMark Noel of Oak Ridge High School in Orlando was named by the USTA to its national 2014 No-Cut Coach All-Star Team, joining 13 other exceptional high school coaches throughout the nation who implement a “no-cut” policy which welcomes all interested students to be a part of their school’s tennis team. Since 2006, more than 4,000 tennis coaches nationwide have made a commitment to offering a no-cut policy.


leagues-staff spiritIn the first week of November, USTA Florida teams won an astounding three of the four first place titles at the 2014 USTA League Adult 55 & Over 6.0 & 8.0 National Championships in Surprise, Ariz. The record haul in one weekend for Florida teams included both the men’s and women’s (both out of the Ft. King Tennis Center in Ocala) 55 & Over 6.0 championships, and the women’s 8.0 (Monarch Country Club, Palm City) championships.
Addition league teams placing at USTA League Nationals in November were:
2nd place — Gulf Breeze mixed, Club II, Mixed 40 & Over 7.0
3rd place — Tallahassee mixed, Forestmeadows Park, Mixed 18 & Over 7.0
3rd place — Port St. Lucie women, Magnolia Lakes, Adult 55 & Over 7.0
4th place — Clearwater mixed, McMullen Tennis Center, Mixed 40 & Over 9.0

dolphins-2014-group-kids-webHundreds of football fans tried their hands at tennis on mini-courts prior to the Miami Dolphins’ win over the San Diego Chargers, hosted by USTA Florida’s Hispanic outreach initiative, Tenis para Todos (Tennis for Everyone), and featuring mini-tennis courts inside the tailgating section of the Miami Dolphins’ Sun Life Stadium.

bob pfaenderUSTA Florida President Bob Pfaender announced the upcoming “changing of the guard” at the USTA Florida Annual Meeting & Volunteer Celebration Weekend in November in his column in TENNIS magazine. “Congratulations to Nancy Horowitz from Pembroke Pines, who is our new president for the next two years,” he wrote. “Nancy has done a tremendous job organizing her team of quality volunteers to not only carry on our best practices in growing tennis in Florida, but to create and execute some new and even better ideas and ways to accomplish our goals. Good luck Nancy for a fun and exciting term. I am looking forward to being a part of your leadership group.”

hall_of_fame_2014_2_media_wallTwo past presidents were inducted into the USTA Florida Tennis Hall of Fame, and volunteers across the state were recognized when the United States Tennis Association-Florida Section presented its year-end awards at the 2014 USTA Florida Annual Meeting & Volunteer Celebration. The 65th edition of the USTA Florida Section awards were held at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando. See the award winners and watch the video presentations HERE.

USTA Florida League teams from Naples, Ocala, and St. Pete took home Florida Section championships at the 2014 USTA Florida 55 & Over Mixed League Sectional Championships, held at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach. The St. Petersburg team playing out of the St. Pete Tennis Center edged the Daytona Beach team out of the Florida Tennis Center 2-1 in the 8.0 final, with two of the three matches determined in third-set super-tiebreakers.

Can they be stopped? The University of Florida club tennis team continued its domination of the 2014-15 USTA Florida ‘Tennis on Campus’ series at the UCF Knitro Cup in Orlando, in the final defeating the University of Miami squad 28-11 in the World TeamTennis scoring format. The win made for a clean sweep of all the Fall ‘Tennis on Campus’ events throughout the state. “Overall had a great time with everyone this fall and cannot wait for the spring tournament season come January,” said UF captain Max Koller.

jeanette_judy-bigFew tennis players in Brookville (just north of Tampa) or Hernando County don’t know the name Judy Jeannette, who has for more than 30 years worked to grow and nurture area tennis from the grassroots level. The USPTA-certified Elite Teaching Professional, named the November Volunteer of the Month, says she remembers well her early days where players in the area were few and far between.


cindy2-us-open-014-webWinners were announced for the USTA Florida Section Foundation’s US Open Tennis Experience Raffle, with the Grand Prize going to Linda Hudson of Tallahassee, Second Prize to Sandi Pardon of Miami, Third Prize to both Kyle LaCroix of Boca Raton and Erin Brahms of Naples, and Fourth Prize to Clark Higgs from Clearwater.

Teams from Alachua County (Gainesville Golf & Country Club), Hillsborough County (Avila Golf & Country Club, Tampa), Marion County (Ft. King Tennis Center, Ocala), Pinellas County (St. Pete Tennis Center, St. Petersburg), South Miami-Dade County (Coral Oaks Tennis Club, Miami), and Volusia/Flagler counties (Florida Tennis Center, Daytona Beach) captured Florida state titles at the 2014 USTA Florida Combo 50 & Over Sectional Championships at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach. Pinellas County successfully defended it’s title from 2013 in the Women’s 7.5 Division, edging Lee/Charlotte counties (Paseo) 2-1.

Florida players captured a total of five singles and doubles titles as the finals of the Eddie Herr junior tennis championships were completed in age groups 18-12 in Bradenton, Fla. Palm Coast’s Reilly Opelka won the all-Florida boys’ 18s singles final, defeating Bradenton’s Michael Mmoh 6-4, 6-4. Fifteen-year-old Sofia Sewing of Doral became the first player ever to win back-to-back 14s and 16s titles in consecutive years at the Eddie Herr when she won the girls’ 16 singles title, and she added the doubles title to her haul. Pembroke Pines’ Sofia Kenin won the girls’ 18s doubles title. Tampa’s Vasil Kirkov captured the boys’ 16s doubles crown.

Florida champs Sofia Kenin and Stefan Kozlov (photo: Art Seitz)

Florida champs Sofia Kenin and Stefan Kozlov (photo: Art Seitz)

It was a Florida sweep in the Metropolia Orange Bowl 18s finals in Plantation, Fla., when No. 2 seed Stefan Kozlov defeated Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the boys’ final, and No. 13 seed Sofia “Sonya” Kenin topped American qualifier Ingrid Neel 6-3, 6-3 in the girls’ final. Kenin and Kozlov both hail from Pembroke Pines, Fla., and it was the first time an American pair swept the 18s titles since 2004 (Timothy Neilly and Jessica Kirkland). Floridians Emma Decoste (Stuart) and Kariann Pierre-Louis (Miami) won the Girls’ 16s doubles title.

USTA Florida volunteer and Board of Directors member Susan Allshouse was presented with the USPTA Florida/USTA Florida Division Service Award by the United States Professional Tennis Association. The USPTA Florida/USTA Florida Division Service Award is presented to individuals that display leadership and vision in promoting both organizations.

bod-20151USTA Florida ushered in a new president and board of directors during the 65th USTA Florida Annual Meeting & Volunteer Celebration in late November at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando. The president’s gavel was accepted by long-time USTA Florida volunteer and former Vice President Nancy Horowitz of Pembroke Pines.

USTA Florida volunteers, organizations and facilities gave back to the community for the holidays in December. Local families in need in the Panhandle community of Florida were the beneficiaries of the Toys for Tots charity tennis event, held by TOPS’L Beach & Racquet Resort in Miramar Beach. “We had three Marines as our special guests that came dressed in their uniforms for the group photo, and to thank everyone for participating,” said TOPS’L Director of Tennis Joe D’Aleo. The Marines were soon in tennis shorts joining in the round robin, which culminated a week of collections that saw 150 toys and 10 bikes collected for needy families.

brundle-vom-photo-editedSeven years out of school, following graduation from Ferris State University with a degree in professional tennis management, Kevin Brundle looks like he could still be mistaken for a student. Or college tennis player. But the tennis director for Tampa Tennis at Hillsborough Community College, the massive 41-court municipal complex, has already amassed an impressive resume. He was named the December Volunteer of the Month.

holidaysHappy holidays to all players, fan, and especially our corps of volunteers who help further our mission “To Promote and develop tennis in Florida.” When you join USTA Florida or renew your membership, you are helping to (re)build courts, put racquets in kids’ hands, and get programs up and running in your local park or facility. Since 2010 alone, we’ve given more than $1 million in grants for equipment, courts and programs. Members, like you, make all of that possible. Happy holidays!