Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fort Myers Tennis Coming Around the Bend

Tianju Bao & Coach CJ Weber
FGCU Fall Invitational 
FGCU Fans enjoy act
Okay, I need your help here. There’s good tennis happening at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) this coming weekend, the 28th through the 30th, and I’m going to have to miss some of it. I need some folks to head out to FGCU and pick up the slack for me in my absence. Sure would be good to hear how things went on the final day of the FGCU Fall Invitational.  After their first ever A-Sun playoff appearance last season, the Eagles are gearing up for another playoff run, using the Fall Season to get prepared. This weekend, the guys of green and blue will take on the University of Miami, University of Central Florida, Florida Atlantic University, and Barry University in a yet to be determined draw. However, the action will begin at 9am on Friday and continue through the weekend. You might want to visit the Eagles website for more details.

On the Road
Just in case you were wondering why I have to miss some of the best tennis we’re going to see around here until…well, until the Eagles have their next home match, it’s because we’ll be on our way to Orlando to participate in a meeting of USTA Florida’s Community Outreach Committee (COC). As our local volunteer representative, I’ll be reporting on the state of tennis in our area, and hope to bring back some useful means of enhancing our local tennis experience. I owe Lyn Bruner (LCCTA Exec. Dir.), Blake Matherly and Susie Bessire (USTA Florida Local League Coordinator) for doing their best to educate me.

New League
Speaking of Blake Matherly, he Gary Englehard and a group of “local tennis nuts” have created yet another competitive opportunity for local area players: Southwest Florida Team Tennis (SWFTT). Similar to the SCAT League for women, SWFTT features team competition for some of the upper echelon players in town (4.5 and above), including some teaching pros who enjoy competing. Among the seven teams participating in SWFTT this inaugural season are Beachview from Sanibel, Fort Myers Racquet Club, Plantation Country Club, The Vines at Estero, Lighthouse Bay, Pelican Landing, and The Landings. Play starts on November 9.

LCCTA Junior Tournament

The Lee County Community Tennis Association (LCCTA) is back in action next week, hosting a Level 7 USTA Junior Local tournament at the Barbara Manzo Tennis Center at Three Oaks Park on Oct. 6 - 7. There will be opportunities for boys and girls in 10s, 12s, 14s and 16s divisions, and you can register your young’un (sorry, been reading westerns) online with ID 153710812 by midnight on Wednesday, October. 3. If you would like to find out more, please contact or (239) 482-3382.

Speaking of the LCCTA, please help me extend condolences to Connie Fox and her family. Connie’s family has been an active part of the LCCTA for years, and Connie has contributed greatly by directing junior programs at Rutenberg Park in Fort Myers. Sadly, Connie’s husband passed away on September 16. Our hearts go out to you Connie!

USPTA Grand Prix Host-A-Pro
The local USPTA Florida chapter, headed by Gateway’s Alex Hermeto, is initiating a “Host a Pro” program for the USPTA Florida Fast Dry/10-S Tennis Supply Grand Prix Circuit event that will be held at The Landings October 19 - 21. Anyone in the community who wants to host a player entered in the draw is welcome. Call TA Niles at (407) 466-4652 or email for details.

USPTA Pro League
For all of the terrific Pro League fans out there, the Pro League draft is this week, so your favorite Friday evening entertainment is just around the corner. I’m told that there will be more teams and more players this season, and I say, “The more the merrier!” By next week I should have the team rosters and schedules ready for press. Stay tuned!

Interesting Tidbit
Before I go, just in case you find yourself watching an obscure match on tennis channel and they are playing lets, the ATP Tour is going the way of college tennis. Beginning next year, service lets will be in play on the Challenger Circuit. That means that when a serve hits the net and falls in the box, that ball is live and play continues. No more disputes over let calls. 

As with any rule change, some will like it and some won’t. When you win the point by getting a let cord ace, you’ll love it. When your opponent wins the point the same way, you’ll hate it. Such is life. The rule change will speed up matches, and I am sure that was one of the considerations. Almost anything that pleases TV goes! That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Game, set, Match...T. A.

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