2019 may be coming to an end, but 2020 is already in full swing when it comes to USTA League play in Florida. For adults who love tennis and are competitive, joining a USTA League is a great way to stay active, improve your game, and offers the chance to compete for a National Championship. In 2019 USTA Florida reached nearly 50,000 participants in league tennis, an astounding number the Section hopes to continue to grow in 2020.
Here’s a look back at USTA Florida Leagues in 2019:
A first-time winner, Hillsborough County was presented with the USTA Florida League Championship Cup, after claiming the most USTA Florida League Sectionals in 2018. As Florida’s league tennis capital for 2019, Hillsborough became the first county to reach double-digit sectional titles in one season – with ten different tennis clubs or facilities combining for the 10 titles.
Five different winners came out of five different divisions at the USTA Florida Adult 65 & Over League Sectional Championships, held at the USTA National Campus in Orlando. Division winners were Broward County (Parkland Tennis Center, Parkland) in the men’s 8.0, Pinellas County (McMullen Tennis Center, Clearwater) in the women’s 8.0, Marion County (The Villages) in the men’s 7.0, Duval County (Boone Park, Jacksonville) in the women’s 7.0, and Collier County (Players Club & Spa, Naples) in the women’s 6.0. The 8.0 women from Clearwater successfully defended its title from last season, while the Marion County men won the 7.0 division for the second time in three years. In the women’s 6.0, Collier County broke a two-year stranglehold on the division by Duval County.
Escambia County (Roger Scott Tennis Center, Pensacola), Palm Beach County (Parkland), and Sarasota County (Longwood Athletic Club, Sarasota) all won their first USTA Florida League Sectionals titles of year at the USTA Florida 55 & Over 3.0/4.0 League Sectional Championships. With the women’s 3.0 win, Escambia ended Duval County’s three-year claim to the title. For Palm Beach County, the win was it’s first 55 & Over sectional title since the USTA began the age division nationwide in 2013.
At the 3.5/4.5 sectionals, Duval County (Jacksonville Golf & C.C) won its second sectional title of the season and took the lead in standings. Alachua County (DB Racquet Club, Gainesville), Miami-Dade South (Coral Pine Park, Pinecrest), and Hillsborough County (Hillsborough Community College, Tampa) also lifted trophies – with the latter claiming a repeat title from last season in the women’s 4.5 division.
Two Florida counties claimed their very first titles ever in their respective divisions during the USTA Florida Mixed 40 & Over 6.0/8.0 Sectional Championships. Sarasota County (Longboat Key Tennis Center) claimed the mixed 8.0, its second title of the season, and Clay County (Fleming Island Plantation) was the 6.0 division winner.
At the USTA Florida Mixed 40 & Over League 7.0/9.0 Sectional Championships, Broward County (Midtown Athletic Club, Weston) captured its first win in the 9.0 division since 2013, while Collier County (Pelican Bay Community Park, Naples) secured its first-ever title in any division in the Mixed 40 & Over.
Broward County vaulted into first place in the race for the 2019 USTA Florida League Championship Cup after its Midtown Athletic Club team won the men’s 3.0 title at the USTA Florida 40 & Over 3.0/4.0 Sectional Championships. Other division winners were Hillsborough County (Tampa Yacht Club) in the women’s 3.0, Martin County (Buttonwood Tennis Club, Stuart) in the women’s 4.0, and Orange County (Villiagewalk at Lake Nona, Orlando) in the men’s 4.0.
Just a week later at the 3.5/4.5+ sectionals, Broward County continued to dominate the cup standings when its team out of the Weston Tennis Center won the men’s 3.5 title, edging out Orange County 3-2. Pinellas (McMullen Tennis Center, Clearwater), Miami-Dade South (Net Level Tennis K-town, Miami), and Alachua (D.B. Racquet Club, Gainesville) all walked away with their second titles of the 2019 season winning the women’s 4.5+, men’s 4.5+, and women’s 3.5 respectively.
Trying to keep pace, Orange County prevailed at the USTA Florida 18 & Over 3.0/4.0/5.0+ League Sectional Championships, securing two title wins in the women’s 4.0 (Ft. Gatlin Recreation Center, Orlando) and the men’s 5.0+ (Winter Park Racquet Club). Leon County’s (Tom Brown Park, Tallahassee) victory in the men’s 3.0 was their second straight sectionals championship in the division, while Broward County (Weston Tennis Center) won a repeat title in the men’s 4.0. Other division winners were Duval County (San Jose C.C, Jacksonville) in the women’s 3.0 division and Hillsborough County (Hillsborough Community College, Tampa) in the women’s 5.0+.
At the USTA Florida 18 & Over 2.5/3.5/4.5 League Sectional Championships, Broward County hit the ground running and swept the upper-level divisions – claiming titles in the women’s 4.5 (Lauderdale Tennis Club, Ft. Lauderdale), men’s 4.5 (Midtown Athletic Club, Weston), and men’s 3.5 (City of Oakland Park). Alachua County (Jonesville Tennis Center, Gainesville) took home the title in the women’s 2.5, ending a four-year winning streak by Duval County in the division; meanwhile the women of Escambia County (Shoreline Park, Gulf Breeze) triumphed in the 3.5.
Miami-Dade South (Coral Pine Park, Pinecrest) collected their third sectionals title of the season at the USTA Florida Mixed 18 & Over 7.0/9.0 League Sectional Championships, their first Mixed 18 & Over 9.0 title since 2014. Meanwhile, Broward County (Dillon Tennis Center, Oakland Park) won the 7.0 division for the third time in the last four years.
Squads from Brevard and Orange Counties were crowned sectional champions during the USTA Florida Mixed 18 & Over League 6.0/8.0/10.0 Sectional Championships. Orange County (USTA National Campus, Orlando) took home the Mixed 10.0 division, while Brevard (Viera Regional Park) defeated juggernaut Broward County in the 6.0 division to capture its first sectionals title of the season. It wasn’t a total loss for Broward though – the squad from Dillon Tennis Center in Oakland Park reigned supreme in the Mixed 8.0.
Escambia County (Roger Scott Tennis Center, Pensacola) was the lone multi-title winner out of six championships decided at USTA Florida Combo 50 & Over 6.5/7.5/8.5 League Sectionals. Escambia’s titles in the 6.5 and 7.5 divisions, along with Miami-Dade South’s (Don Shula’s Athletic Club, Hialeah) in the men’s 8.5 launched both counties into a second-place tie with Orange County in the standings for the League Championship Cup. Other winners included Marion County (Ft. King Tennis Center, Ocala) in the men’s 6.5, Collier County (Vineyards Golf & Country Club, Naples) in the men’s 7.5, and Sarasota County (Lakewood National, Bradenton) in the women’s 8.5.
Powerhouse Broward County kept its 2019 momentum going by capturing not one, not two, but three more titles at the USTA Florida Combo 18 & Over 6.5/8.5 League Sectional Championships. Wins in the men’s 8.5 (Weston Tennis Center, Weston), women’s 6.5 (Dillon Tennis Center, Oakland Park), and men’s 6.5 (Bonaventure Town Center Club, Ft. Lauderdale) gave Broward a substantial lead over the rest of the pack. Escambia County (Roger Scott Tennis Center, Pensacola) was a repeat winner in the women’s 8.5 division, securing a sole claim to second place.
In the final 2019 push, Alachua and Hillsborough counties each collected their fourth titles at the USTA Florida Combo 18 & Over 5.5/7.5/9.5, the last USTA Florida League Sectional event for 2019. Nothing was enough to stop the Broward blitz though, as the county went on to win three more titles and thus, once again, be dubbed the tennis capital of Florida. Seven tennis clubs from Broward combined for an astounding 16 USTA Florida League state titles in 2019, claiming the USTA Florida League Championship Cup for the third time in four years, and becoming the second county to reach double-digit sectional titles in one season.
“Broward won [the Cup] the first two years and they wanted to win the trifecta but missed it last year,” said Maria Miro, USTA Florida Local League Coordinator for the Broward/North Miami regions. “They came back with a vengeance this year and I’m proud of our captains for their line-ups and the hard work they put into having a team, it’s not an easy job. Bringing the Cup home to Broward is just icing on the cake!”
Those teams who prevailed at the section level went on to represent USTA Florida on the national stage. In 2019, 13 Florida teams finished in the top five at the USTA League National Championships – one in 1st, four in 2nd, six in 3rd, and two in 4th.
Mixed 18 & Over 7.0: Broward (Dillon Tennis Center, Oakland Park)
Adult 40 & Over 4.0 Men: Orange-Seminole (Villagewalk at Lake Nona, Lake Nona)
Adult 55 & Over 6.0 Women: Escambia (Roger Scott Tennis Center, Pensacola)
Adult 55 & Over 8.0 Women: Sarasota (Longwood Athletic Club, Sarasota)
Adult 55 & Over 9.0 Women: Hillsborough (Hillsborough Community College Tennis Center, Tampa)
Adult 18 & Over 3.5 Women: Escambia (Shoreline Park, Gulf Breeze)
Adult 18 & Over 3.0 Women: Duval (San Jose Country Club, Jacksonville)
Adult 40 & Over 3.5 Women: Alachua (DB Racquet Club, Gainesville)
Adult 40 & Over 3.5 Men: Broward (Weston Tennis Center, Weston)
Adult 55 & Over 7.0 Men: Miami-Dade (Coral Pine Park, Pinecrest)
Mixed 40 & Over 8.0: Sarasota (Longboat Key Tennis Center, Longboat Key)
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Established in 1980, USTA League has grown from 13,000 participants in a few parts of the country in its first year to more than 904,000 players across the nation today, making it the world’s largest recreational tennis league. The league groups players by using six National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP) levels, ranging from 2.5 (entry) to 5.0 (advanced). USTA League is open to any USTA member 18 years of age or older.
For more information on USTA Florida Leagues go to www.ustaflorida.com/leagues.