August 24th, 2015

Tennis Briefs(3): Evert Passes; US Open Jr. Wild Cards; More

College Tennis Youth Tennis News

Jimmy Evert Dies at Age 91 in Ft. Lauderdale


Photo: Art Seitz

Legendary coach Jimmy Evert, father of former world No. 1 Chris Evert, passed away peacefully on Friday evening, Aug. 21, 2015 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., at age 91.

“He was most proud of the fact that all five of his children reached at least the final of a national junior championship in the United States,” said the family in a press release. “His renowned daughter, Chris Evert, became one of the best women players in history, securing 18 Grand Slam singles titles, winning at least one major title for 13 consecutive years (1974-1986), and finishing seven seasons as the No. 1-ranked woman in the world.”

Daughters Chris, Jeanne and Clare competed on the WTA tour, and sons John and Drew Evert oversee the Evert Academy in Boca Raton, Fla.,

Evert was an All-American player at Notre Dame in the 1940s, going on to rank No. 11 in the U.S. after college. He moved from Chicago to Florida with his wife, Colette, in 1948, eventually taking over as tennis director of Holiday Park for the City of Ft. Lauderdale where he worked for 49 years.

“Tennis was in Jimmy Evert’s blood,” Chris Evert told ESPN years ago. “A child of the Great Depression, my dad was exposed to the sport as a ball boy for Bill Tilden. He honed his skills on courts made of wooden boards in his native Chicago. He received a tennis scholarship to Notre Dame, where he was captain and played No. 1 singles. After graduating, he had some success on the men’s tour, winning the Canadian Open and the U.S. Indoors. But after serving in the Navy, my dad wanted a steady income and decided that, rather than competing, he would teach tennis. His first job was at a club in New Rochelle, New York, where he met my mom, Colette. Before long, he was spending winters down in Florida, teaching at Holiday Park. Soon it became their permanent home.”

In addition to his kids he produced many top-ranked juniors at the facility, which in 1997 was renamed the Jimmy Evert Tennis Center. Pros he worked with, or pros-to-be, included world No. 1 Jennifer Capriati, Brian Gottfried, Harold Solomon and 1963 U.S. Championships finalist Frank Froehling.

“Jimmy Evert invented tennis in Florida,” tennis historian Bud Collins said. “He loved tennis, and you gave a gift to tennis in Fort Lauderdale. He showed all five of his children and his many students how to love tennis and how to live a life.”

According to the family, “It made [Jimmy] so nervous to be present for Chris Evert’s matches in major events that he seldom attended. The first four times she won the US Open, he was not there. But, in 1980, after she ended a five-match losing streak against Tracy Austin in the semifinals, she called him in tears right after the match and told him she wanted him to come to the final. He flew to New York to witness her win over Hana Mandlikova in the final, and made the trip again for her sixth and final Open win two years later, as he did for her final US Open appearance in 1989. Having issues with high blood pressure, he preferred to stay at home and watch on television.”

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Colette, his five children, 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015 from 6-8 p.m. at Fred Hunter’s Downtown Ft. Lauderdale Chapel located at 718 S. Federal Highway, Ft. Lauderdale. A funeral mass will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015 at 11 a.m. at St. Anthony Catholic Church, located at 901 N.E. 2nd Street, Ft. Lauderdale. Following will be a private family interment service.

In lieu of flowers, friends of the Evert family are asked to donate to the Jimmy Evert Scholarship Fund, which will honor Jimmy Evert’s legacy of enriching children’s lives through the sport of tennis. Funds will go to provide private lessons and educational enhancement for under-served and at-risk children throughout the U.S. Checks can be made payable to the USTA Foundation-Jimmy Evert Fund and sent to 70 West Red Oak Lane, White Plains, NY, 10604.

Florida Tech, Palm Beach Atlantic Colleges to Host USTA Campus Showdowns

campus-showdownFlorida Tech and Palm Beach Atlantic colleges will host co-ed USTA Campus Showdowns in August and October.

USTA Campus Showdowns are fun, competitive one-day events held on college campuses that are open to all — college and high school players, juniors, adults, league players and weekend hackers. Singles and doubles are usually offered at the events, which give junior and college players opportunities for varied competition and a chance to see college campuses and college life.

Upcoming Events:

Aug. 28 — Florida Tech, Melbourne, Fla. Contact: Bill Macom,
Oct. 10 — Palm Beach Atlantic, West Palm Beach, Fla. Contact: Chi Ly,

The events also help the host colleges build stronger ties between college programs and the local tennis community.

For more information contact the coaches at the e-mails listed above.

4 Florida Players Receive US Open Juniors Main Draw Wild Cards

Featured_US OpenFour Florida players are among the 15 total American boys and girls receiving main draw wild cards in the juniors competition next month at the US Open, which begins Sept. 6, 2015, at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.

Florida wild card recipients are 2013 US Open girls’ singles finalist Tornado Alicia Black (17, Boca Raton, Fla.; Coaches: Gayal and Sly Black), her sister Hurricane Tyra Black (14, Boca Raton, Fla.; Coaches: Gayal and Sly Black), Vasil Kirkov (16, Tampa, Fla.; Coaches: Stoyan Kirkov, Sylvain Guichard), and Alex Rybakov (18, Coral Springs, Fla.; Coach: Nick Rybakov).

Tornado Alicia Black joins other top American teens CiCi Bellis, and Florida’s Katerina Stewart (Coral Gables) and USTA Girls’ 18s national champion Sofia Kenin (Pembroke Pines) as expected participants in the girls’ field.

Florida players in the boys’ and girls’ qualifying tournament will be Alex Rotsaert (15, Boca Raton, Fla.; Coach: Hafeez Hameed), Amanda Anisimova (13, Hallandale Beach, Fla.; Coaches: Konstantin Anisimov, Richard Ashby), and Whitney Osuigwe (13, Bradenton, Fla.; Coach: Desmond Osuigwe).

Three additional wild cards will be awarded at a later date: two in the boys’ main draw (one of which will be awarded by the French Tennis Federation through a reciprocal agreement) and one for girls’ qualifying.

For more info go to