March 13th, 2014

5 Floridians at ITF Senior World Championships in Boca Raton, Palm Beach Gardens in April


March 13, 2014
By Carolyn Nichols

Jenny Klitch
Jenny Klitch 
Vesna McKenna
Vanessa McKenna 
Mario Tabares
Mario Tabares

Vesna McKenna (Hollywood), Jenny Klitch (Palm Beach Gardens), Carolyn Nichols (Fort Lauderdale and Rancho Santa Fe, CA), Michael Halperin (Boca Raton) and Mario Tabares (Miami) have been selected to represent the USA in the 34th ITF (International Tennis Federation) Senior World Team Championships in Boca Raton and Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. This prestigious international team event will be held April 21-26 and will be played on green clay. This event is the senior equivalent of Davis Cup and Fed Cup for players age 35, 40, 45, 50, and 55 and over.

Each Cup team consists of four players selected from the entire country, based on their USTA senior tournament results in 2013. There will be teams from around the globe, representing six continents.

In 2013 the USA won the Maureen Connolly Cup (women 55+) and Maria Bueno Cup (women 50+). The USA finished second in the Austria Cup (men 55+), and Dubler Cup (men 45+) and third in the Suzanne Lenglen Cup (women 35+). The USA did not medal but finished 6th in the Margaret Court Cup (women 45+), 8th in the Young Cup (40+), 12th in the Italia Cup (men 35+), 13th in the Tony Trabert Cup (men 40+) and 7th in the Fred Perry Cup (men 50+). This event was held on red clay in Turkey in 2013.

McKenna has been named to the Young Cup team for the second straight year and fifth time overall. This native of Argentina, the daughter of Croatian immigrants is now a US citizen and a firefighter. She immigrated as a teenager to the USA on a tennis scholarship. She made a great comeback from shoulder surgery in 2013, winning doubles titles at the 40 Grass (with teammate Julie Cass, Austin, TX) and 40 Clay (with teammate Sophie Woorons-Johnson, Anderson, SC, playing captain). She was a doubles finalist at the 45 Grass and Clay, and a singles semifinalist at the 40 and 45 Grass and 45 Hard. Joining her on the team will be Woorons-Johnson, Patricia Zerdan (Dallas, TX) and Cass. The Young Cup will be played at PGA National Resort, Palm Beach Gardens.

Klitch, has been named to a Cup team for the first time, the Margaret Court Cup team. She is attorney, who returned to national play in 2013. She immediately won the prestigious Crawford Cup tournament in Fort Lauderdale in February and followed that up with a final round appearance at the National Clay, beating both McKenna and this year’s Court Cup captain (Shelly Works, San Antonio, TX) before falling to the team’s top player, Jolene Watanabe (Hilton Head Island, SC) in the final. She was a strong junior player from Ohio and then a touring pro in the mid-80s. She attained top 200 rankings in both singles and doubles before switching gears to a legal career. Alissa Finerman (Santa Monica, CA) is the fourth member of the team. The Court Cup will be played at the Polo Club in Boca Raton.

Nichols will captain the 2014 Connolly Cup team. She won the 55 Clay doubles (with Susan Wright, Grand Junction, CO) in 2013 and was a finalist at the 2013 Hard in singles. Internationally she won five 55+ singles titles including the European Open Seniors and was a doubles finalist and singles bronze medalist at the ITF Individual Senior World Championships. She finished 2013 ranked #1 in singles and #2 in 55 doubles by the ITF. Wright, Tina Karwasky (Glendale, CA) and Diane Barker (Daniel Island, SC) complete this team. The Connolly Cup will play at the BallenIsles Country Club in Palm Beach Gardens.

Halperin has been named to the Italia Cup team. It’s his first time representing the USA on a Senior Cup team. He won the singles title at the men’s 35 Grass in 2013. He was also inducted into the Cornell University Sports Hall of Fame last year for his outstanding play in the early 80s where he was the 2000 Ivy League Player of the Year. He will be joined by Ross Duncan (Laguna Beach, CA), Jared Jacobs (Scottsdale, AZ) and Mark Tepes (Medford, NJ, playing captain). He will be playing right at home at Boca Grove in Boca Raton.

Tabares will be representing the USA on the Dubler Cup team for the fourth straight year. He didn’t drop a set in winning the singles title at the 45 Clay and lost a tough three-setter to his Dubler Cup teammate and playing captain Jeff Tarango (Manhattan Beach, CA) at the 45 Hard where he finished third. He also won the doubles title at the 45 Clay. Joining Tabares and Tarango will be rookie Cup members Oren Motevassel (San Jose, CA) and Art Hernandez (Huntington Beach, CA). The Dubler Cup will be played at the Polo Club in Boca Raton.