September 26th, 2019

4 Florida Tennis Teaching Pros Honored at 2019 USPTA Annual Awards

General News

Four Florida tennis professionals received awards on Wednesday when the United States Professional Tennis Association held its Awards Lunch during the 2019 USPTA World Conference presented by Havana Bob’s at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino.

Gainesville’s Chris Champion, Palm Coast’s Gregg Heartt, Palm Beach Gardens’ Wendy Tatum, and Naples’ Jose Pastrello were among 17 honored across the U.S.

Gainesville’s Champion was presented the 2019 USPTA Diversity Award. Over the past 15 years Champion has served as tennis coach, program administrator and operations manager before becoming director of tennis at First Serve Miami, a National Junior Tennis and Learning program that offers tennis lessons and educational support to disadvantaged youth in Miami. He currently serves as the head pro at Play Tennis Gainesville, which is managed by the USTA Florida Tennis Management Division.

Champion, a USPTA elite professional, implemented the Community Partners and Adopt-A-Player programs, which impacted over 650 participants. He incorporated five parks into the Community Partners after-school program and established the in-school program at eight area elementary schools. He also set up a visit from 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens at Earlington Heights Elementary School.

Palm Coast’s Heartt was presented with the 2019 USPTA U30 Award. Heartt is the membership project team lead at USPTA Florida and grew the division’s U30 program to over 250 professionals through his volunteer work. He is also the president of the USPTA Florida Orlando District and was recognized for his community outreach and work in connecting tennis pros in the Orlando area. He also teamed up with USTA Florida to grow tennis involvement in local schools.

Palm Beach Gardens’ Tatum was named 2019 USPTA Large Facility Manager of the Year for her work as general manager at Palm Beach Gardens Tennis Center in Florida. In 2018, the center was honored with the USTA Florida Member Organization of the Year Award, in recognition of the center’s overall excellence in service to a broad spectrum of the tennis community.

The tennis center belongs to the City of Palm Beach Gardens and works under a special-revenue policy that requires all center expenses to be paid from its revenues. While revenues have grown every year under her stewardship, 2018 was notable, as income increased 25% to over $1 million, with 90% of revenue coming from programming. Tatum also manages a staff of 12 USPTA certified tennis professionals.

Naples’ Pastrello was presented with the 2019 USPTA Lessons for LifeTM Award. In 2018, Pastrello organized 21 pro-ams, exhibitions and fundraisers that raised over $45,000 for various university tennis teams and scholarships. He spoke at the USPTA Leadership Academy and was awarded the Most Innovative Course by Tennis Industry magazine.

He is also involved with the USPTA National Education and Testing Committee and is a USPTA Florida Board member. Pastrello was the 2015 USPTA District Professional of the Year, 2017 USPTA Florida District President of the Year and is currently the USPTA Florida Vice President.

For the complete list of honorees go to