Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fall Tennis in Fort Myers

Things Hopping at The Landings
Paul D’Amico hasn’t been at The Landings Yacht, Golf & Tennis Club for a full season yet, but he has already made a significant contribution to the Fort Myers tennis community. This past March The Landings hosted Madisen’s Match, one of the area’s fastest growing charity events. Right around the corner, on October 6th – 7th (Sat. & Sun.), D’Amico and the Landings will be hosting another fundraising event: the Pink & Blue, National Cancer Survivors Classic. 

The event is a Mixed Doubles Tournament, the proceeds of which will benefit the Regional Cancer Center of the Lee Memorial Health System. A number of divisions will be available, including Open, 40 and over, 50 and over, 60 and over, and 70 and over. Players may participate in two events and must enter by Monday, October 1st. Participation should not only be a lot of fun, but will also contribute to a very worthy cause. For more details, please contact The Landings tennis pro shop at 239-482-0515.

USPTA Grand Prix at The Landings
Two weeks after the Pink & Blue, The Landings will host a USPTA Florida Fast Dry 10-S Supply Grand Prix event, October 19th – 21st, featuring local USPTA pros and others from around the State. The Grand Prix Circuit offers professionals who still like to test their skills competitive opportunities at various venues across the State. Pros compete in Open and age-group divisions in singles, doubles and mixed doubles. At season’s end there is a Masters event where the top four finishers in their divisions playoff.

Several local teaching pros have done well thus far on the Circuit. Those currently in the top-five of the Grand Prix Rankings include Steve Shortridge of Colonial (3rd and 2nd in Men’s 60 Singles and Doubles respectively), Denny Rager of Lely (3rd in Men’s 35 Singles), Tyler Owens of Fiddlesticks (4th in Men’s Open Singles), Jim Katterfield of Shadow Wood (4th Men’s 55 Singles), and I’m not doing too badly myself (1st in Men’s 50 Singles and Doubles).

Members of the tennis community can get involved by coming out to support their local pros and by participating in a new initiative: The Host-A-Pro program. Essentially, in attempts to boost participation, we are hoping that members of the local tennis community will be willing to house a tennis professional during the Landings event. Interested parties can contact me at taniles13@gmail.com or 407-466-4652.

Fall Leagues Underway & Gearing Up
As I’m sure most of you know, USTA Fall Leagues will begin play within the next days. If you know that then you also know that there are only adult leagues now, with divisions separated by age.  It's the first go round for this system, and new Local League Coordinator (formerly the Tennis Program Coordinator for our area) Susie Bessire counts approximately 80 teams for the Fall Season, which begins play on September 29th. 

The Lee County Women’s Tennis League (LCWTL) also begins play the second week in October, and they boast over 200 teams with more than 1700 ladies playing in 14 divisions, including their newest Copper Division.  Two of those teams will be debuting at The Hideaway Country Club this season, with Bert Ann Haas leading a Copper team and Pearl Warren heading a 3.0 team. 

Also debuting will be the new rule which renders third sets obsolete. All LCWTL matches will play a third-set super-tiebreak (10-point tiebreak) if sets are split. In previous years, only senior divisions played super-tiebreaks for the deciding set. I suspect that, with the rule change, the ladies will have just as much fun on court, and tennis directors and other members will also be happy.

Another league gearing up for fall play is Bonero, a 50-plus ladies doubles league for women in Bonita Springs and Estero. Although the spring features their primary season, eight teams will participate in the fall, which runs from October 16th through December 4th, with a season-ending event on December 11th. If interested in the Bonero League, contact Deb Graziani at deborahgraziani@yahoo.com or 734- 645-1727.

The “big hitting” women’s league, known as SCAT (Sun Coast “A” Tennis) by most, will also begin play in October. This time around three Naples teams will join the fray along with two Park Meadow teams, one from Cypress Lake and another from Plantation. As always, the competition is likely to be fierce!

Ultimate Tennis
The Ultimate Tennis (UT), often referred to as “K-Swiss,” fall season is also underway, with first matches to be played by the end of September. I hadn’t planned on defending my spring league singles title in the 5.5 Division, but since I’m bowing out of the USTA Nationals next month, I have to do something to keep me motivated. Having to play a match that counts for something on a weekly basis is a great motivator.  Unfortunately, Jarrod Goare, the summer singles 5.5 singles champion, and only loss during that spring season, won’t be one of my competitors. There’s still time to register for fall doubles and mixed doubles as well.

If none of the above leagues work for you or give you your fill of tennis, YOTA (Your Own Tennis League), the newest league in town, might just do the trick. Touted as “a league that listens to the players concerns in order to ensure you have more fun” and a league “where the players have more involvement in decisions to help maintain fun & fair play,” YOTA begins play on Monday, October 8th. The league offers doubles competition for men and women rated from 2.5 through 4.0. The Captain’s Meeting is September 25th at Rapallo and Registration closes on October 1st.

USPTA Pro League
And of course I can’t talk about leagues without mention the USPTA Pro League, which is a Friday evening staple in our tennis community. The Pro League draft will be held next Friday, September 28th, and the schedule should be ready for posting online shortly thereafter. Matches typically start in early October, and a new expanded format is on the horizon, so stay tuned for imminent Pro League updates.

Local Tennis for Kids & More
The Lee County Community Tennis Association (LCCTA) is still doing all it can to accommodate the youth of our area, and in affiliation with several public parks, offers programs after school and on weekends that bring kids and tennis together. Parents can find Quick Start/10-and-Under programs, intermediate and advanced lesson and clinics, as well as private lessons at the Barbara Manzo Tennis Center at Three Oaks Park in Fort Myers, Rutenberg Park in Fort Myers, Veterans Park in Lehigh Acres, and  Hancock Park in North Fort Myers. Adult programs and clinics are also available at these facilities throughout the season and beyond.

Penny for Your Thoughts
One last thing before I go, Steph and I will be heading out to Orlando for a meeting of USTA Florida’s Community Outreach Committee. I have volunteered to be the liaison between USTA Florida and our area. Essentially I am charged with reporting on what’s happening in our tennis community, bringing to USTA Florida our ideas and practices for growing the game, and bringing ideas and practices back to our community that can enhance the game in our area. Any feedback about tennis in our area, including how we can improve it, is welcome. Don’t hesitate to let me know what you think.  Well, that’s about it for now. Until next, game, set, match…T. A.  

No comments:

Post a Comment