When USTA Florida rolled out the short-court Masters Tennis format, Palm Coast’s Elliott James was one of the first “ambassadors” on board to help spread the word on the fun easier-to-play version of tennis.
In addition to his home Belle Terre Swim and Racquet Club, he brought Masters Tennis programs to area public and private clubs, parks and recreation providers, and he coordinated play opportunities between the community and local pros and tennis directors.
“Everyone should have the opportunity to play tennis,” James says. “We’re doing free Masters Tennis clinics and Round Robin combos using the short courts. All the [tennis] rules are the same, and the games go fast using the lower-bouncing ball and shorter courts. It makes it easy to pick up and learn, plus a lot of fun to play.”
Masters Tennis shortens the court from 78 to 60 feet, using the lower-bouncing “orange ball.” It also provides the perfect learning laboratory for players or teaching pros working with new players. Players can use their regular racquets, or smaller racquets which provide more control.
USTA Florida Masters Tennis Coordinator Christine Murphy Foltz says James is the model Masters Tennis ambassador due to his love of sharing the game of tennis, especially with senior players.
“Elliott has immersed himself with senior training and continuing education in senior tennis,” she says. “He was part of the original USTA Florida Masters Tennis target market initiative, and has even communicated to out-of-state prospects who are interested in Masters Tennis, and shares program details while attending other conferences and workshops.”
A dedicated teaching pro, last year James became the first PTR pros to obtain all five PTR certifications after attending the inaugural Senior Development pilot workshop held in Orlando. He also makes Masters Tennis a family affair, instructing with his wife Ana, who also works with children playing in the 10 and Under Tennis format on short courts.
USTA Florida thanks Elliott James as the March Volunteer of the Month for keeping tennis as an option for senior players in the Palm Coast area and spreading the word of the Masters Tennis format.
Birthplace: New York
Family: Wife Ana Rodrigues (Coach Ana)
Favorite Movie: “Triumph of the Will (Riefenstahl), the classic example of how xenophobia and propaganda can derail society.”
Favorite Travel: Anguilla, Eastern Caribbean
Favorite Shot: Return of serve
If I could play tennis with three people, they would be…”Arthur Ashe, Billie Jean King, and Martina Navratilova.”
My best tennis memory is…”Attending the US Open in Forest Hills and watching Arthur Ashe.”