UF’s Merklein, Morrison Slated for Intercollegiate Tennis Hall of Fame
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association has announced the 2015 inductees for the ITA Men’s Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame, which will include former University of Florida standouts Mark Merklein and Jeff Morrison.
The 2015 ITA Men’s Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame Enshrinement Banquet will be held on May 20 during the NCAA Division I Men’s & Women’s Tennis Championships at Baylor University in Waco, Tex.
Merklein was a four-time ITA All-American in both singles and doubles for the Florida Gators, a two-time NCAA Champion (1993 doubles, 1994 singles), three-time All-SEC honoree and 1994 SEC Player of the Year. He played professionally from 1994-2005 and achieved career-high ATP rankings of No. 160 in singles and No. 35 in doubles. He was a head coach at the USTA Player Development Center from 2005-2011 and coached former world ATP No. 4 James Blake on tour for two years.
He returned to his alma mater as an assistant coach in 2013 and is now in his second season at UF.
Morrison set a Florida Gator freshman record in 1997-1998 with 30 singles wins and broke the school record his sophomore season by winning 47 singles matches. He won the 1999 NCAA Singles title and was named ITA All-American in singles and doubles. As a junior in 1999-00 he began and finished the season as the No. 1-ranked player in the ITA Rankings, earning ITA All-American in both singles and doubles for the second straight year.
He led the Gators to their first-ever Final Four appearance at the NCAA Championships. He played six years on the ATP World Tour, achieving a career-high rank in singles of No. 85 and in doubles No. 81. He was notably the last American standing in 2002 at Wimbledon, where he upset No. 4-ranked Juan Carlos Ferrero and reached the 3rd Round.
For a complete list of the Hall of Fame Inductees, visit www.itatennis.com.
Tiebreak Charity Tennis Tournament in Tampa to Benefit Greyhounds
Players can experience a fun afternoon of tiebreak tennis while assisting animals during the inaugural Scramble “Fore” the Greyhounds Golf & Tennis Tournament, to be held at Bardmoor Golf & Tennis Club in Largo, Fla., on Friday, April 17, 2015.
All proceed of the tournament will benefit the Greyhound Pets of America (GPA) Tampa Bay chapter, one of the rescue organizations for the Derby Lane dog track in Clearwater, Fla. For more info go to www.greyhoundpets.com.
Player levels include 3.5-4.5, and the entry fee includes lunch and more. Players can sign-up individually or in pairs in ladies doubles or mixed doubles.
Tournament check-in is at noon, to be followed by lunch. Matches will run from 1:30-6:30 p.m., using best 2-of-3 10-point tiebreakers for each round. Three matches minimum, with optional round robin at the end when courts are free.
Players are asked to register by March 17, which also activates players to possibly win a spa package valued at $150.
For more info or to register go to www.scrambleforethegreyhounds.com.
Tampa to Host 23rd Avila Charity Tennis Tournament for Kids in March
AMI (Association of Marine Institutes) kids Tampa’s goal is “Separating a troubled past from a bright future.”
The event will feature women’s 3.0-5.0 doubles divisions and men’s 3.5-5.0 doubles divisions.
AMIkids Tampa is a co-ed day treatment program that provides services each year to approximately 110 young men and women ages 12-18.
“They do an excellent job of helping kids who have gotten ‘out of sync’ with school, family, and community,” says tennis volunteer Wendall Walker. “Programs use boating and marine experiences in their therapeutic process.”
The event will be a qualifier for the 2016 Tournament of Champions year-end charity event.
For more information or to register go to www.AvilaCharityTennis.com.