March 27th, 2018

USTA Florida Section Named Team USA Player Development Section of the Year

General News

From left: Robert Gomez, Tom Gullikson and fellow award winners and USTA staff. Photo: Dave Kenas

The USTA today announced that the USTA Florida Section was named the 2017 Team USA Player Development Section of the Year, and multiple individual tennis coaches received awards, recognized at a reception on Sunday at the adidas Easter Bowl junior tournament in Indian Wells, Calif.

Players from the USTA Florida Section posted strong results in 2017, and at the grassroots level the section helped players along by hosting two TEAM USA Sectional Camps and one TEAM USA Regional Camp. USTA Florida Player Development Manager Andy Gladstone and Coaches Commission Chair Robert Gomez worked with the USTA Florida Coaches Commission in executing the selection process for these camps, and also running 10-and-Under Early Development Camps across the state.

“USTA Florida is extremely honored to be awarded as Team USA Player Development Section of the Year,” Gomez said. “The real recognition goes to the parents, coaches and players whose investment and commitment to excellence is truly inspiring. We are so proud of the accomplishments of our Florida juniors and wish them all continued success.”

Players with Florida roots had tremendous success at the highest levels of the game. Sloane Stephens (Coral Springs) won the women’s singles title at the US Open; Amanda Anisimova (Aventura) won the US Open girls’ title; and Whitney Osuigwe (Bradenton) took home the French Open girls’ singles title as well as finished 2017 as the No. 1-ranked junior in the world.

The international 14-and-under Teen Tennis tournament in Bolton, England, had four Americans in the finals of the boys’ and the girls’ events for the first time in the tournament’s 23-year history, all from Florida. Florida also was the home for all six members of Team USA’s World Championships in Prostejov, Czech Republic — Coco Gauff, Charlotte Owensby, Gabby Price, Alex Bernard, Toby Kodat and Martin Damm — where the girls’ team won the world title.

Konstantin Anisimov, father and coach of the 16-year old Anisimova, the youngest player in the WTA Top 150, was named as the 2017 Team USA Developmental Coach of the Year. In 2017 Anisimova won her first USTA Pro Circuit title in addition to the US Open girls’ title.

Renowned coaches Ricardo Acuna, Andy Brandi and Tom Gullikson, all with deep Florida roots, were also honored with Team USA Legendary Coaching Awards.

Acuna served as both the assistant director and the director of tennis at the ATP headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., and on the USTA Player Development staff as a national coach for men’s tennis for 15 years. Brandi, currently the co-head men’s tennis coach at LSU with his son, Chris, is a decorated coach with success in the college game, at academies and as a lead national coach for men’s tennis for the USTA. He was the head women’s tennis coach at the University of Florida from 1985-2001, leading the Gators to three NCAA team championships (1992,’96,’98). Gullikson began coaching with the USTA in 1988 as one of the very first coaches in the USTA Player Development program, and he guided American stars Jim Courier, Todd Martin, MaliVai Washington and Jennifer Capriati, among others, during their careers. He was the U.S. Davis Cup captain from 1994-99, leading the 1995 team to the Davis Cup title, and he was the men’s coach for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, where he helped Andre Agassi win the men’s singles gold medal.

To read the full story and see other award winners go to