February 2nd, 2015

The Villages’ Sandy Clark Named Florida Tennis Volunteer of the Month

Volunteer Of The Month General News Adult Tennis News Youth Tennis News Masters Tennis

MTA_Sandy Clark NewTennis players at The Villages, the active adult retirement community in Ocala and the surrounding area west of Orlando, are enjoying a more social version of the game with friends, spouses or grandkids. Sandy Clark is the pied piper of bringing players back to tennis through Masters Tennis.

Masters Tennis is the 60-foot short court version of the game with slower-bouncing balls that allows anyone to take up the game quickly, or play regardless of injuries. With less court to cover, and the Masters Tennis “orange ball” softer on wrists and joints, Masters Tennis is welcoming former players and introducing new ones.

“Masters Tennis has been received really well by people that have played tennis in the past,” says Clark, a USTA Florida Ambassador for Masters Tennis at The Villages, and a full-time Villages resident. “We’re a community of 55 and older that come from all walks of tennis life — we have people that have just played occasionally to people that played in high school to people that played pro tennis.”

Clark started a Masters Tennis program at the Villages’ Sterling Heights Recreation Center three years ago with two courts and eight players, and has seen participation expand to other Villages recreation centers.

“I would say quite a few of our players had given up the game before Masters Tennis,” she said. “Full-court tennis is really tough on their joints, and a lot of them have had some kind of knee surgery or something.”

Last year Masters Tennis was a demonstration sport during the Florida Senior State Games, with The Villages hosting their own regional qualifier event. Everyone gets a chance to get on court and try the short-court game of tennis at The Villages, even the staff.

“I recently encouraged some of the people I work with at The Villages sales office to come out and try the game,” said Clark, who has more than 30 current program participants.

USTA Florida thanks Sandy Clark as the January 2015 Volunteer of the Month for her efforts to bring veteran players who had stopped playing back to the game with the Masters Tennis format. To learn more go to www.USTAFlorida.com/MastersTennis


Birthplace: Philadelphia, PA
Family Members: Tom Clark, Laura Bowen, Robert Bowen; Bailey, Conner and Shawn Bowen
Favorite Movie: A Christmas Carol
Favorite Food: French Fries
Favorite Travel: Las Vegas
Favorite Shot: Serve

My earliest tennis memory was…“Playing tennis in high school and skipping French class to play.”

If I could play tennis with three people they would be…“Chris Evert, John McEnroe, and Jimmy Connors.”

When I am not playing tennis I am…“Playing golf and working part time for The Villages.”

My best tennis memory is…“Playing with my children and grandchildren.”

I like to volunteer in tennis because…“I want Masters Tennis to grow in The Villages and get more courts available.”