|Greg Wheaton (50 Champ) & |
T. A. Niles (Finalist)
The USPTA Florida Fast-Dry & 10-S Supply 2012 Grand Prix Circuit stop at Oceanside Country Club in Ormond Beach was certainly worth the four hour trip across the State, despite my humbling loss in the final to Greg Wheaton, whom I must call my nemesis after three consecutive losses. It had been a while since we played, and it was good to see Greg back out on the court.
That’s one of the tremendous positives about playing the Grand Prix: you get to rekindle old rivalries as well as friendships at these events. I hadn’t seen Denny Rager play singles in some time, despite the fact that we live only a few miles apart. I saw Steve Shortridge, another neighboring pro, look like he was just about out of gas against Vishnu Maharaj. Shortridge out of gas? Surely that’s worth a trip across the State!
|Barbara Manne & Steve Shortridge|
All kidding aside, the venue, as usual was terrific. Mike Sanders, his staff, and the always-smiling volunteers at Oceanside did the usual bang-up job that the directors and staffs usually do at the Grand Prix stops. Despite the weather, the courts were as playable as any I’ve encountered this season, and the venue was only about a mile, if that, from the beach. It was a good combination.
|Jeff Cohen & Jim Bryan|
Although I missed playing the Pro-Am (click here for photos), it was still one of the highlights of the event for me. Watching the members revel in the on-court interaction with USPTA professionals, most of whom appear just as thrilled as the members, is really a good time for someone who enjoys our game as much as I do. Hopefully the participants enjoyed it as much as they seemed to.
|Milos Vasovic & Mike Sanders|
Before moving on to the tournament results, I need to acknowledge and thank the event sponsors on behalf of all the USPTA professionals who participated, Mike Sanders and his staff, and the members, some of whom were also sponsors, who participated. A number of local sponsors contributed to the Circuit stop, in addition to the usual sponsors that make the circuit possible: Fast-Dry Courts, 10-S Supply, USTA Florida, Welch Tennis, Stan Oley Tennis Equipment, and The Wimbledon Experience.
The list of businesses and individuals who contributed to making the Oceanside stop a success is far too long to layout here, but Platinum Sponsor, S. R. Perrott, Inc. and Gold Sponsor, Mr. Wich Deli, along with Silver Sponsors Joe and Lisa Mirante, Daytona Foot and Ankle Specialists, Gamma High Voltage, and Daytona Mitsubishi-Kia are among the biggest contributors to the event’s success.
|Paolo Barros & Joe Mirante|
Asked about his three-year involvement as a sponsor for the Oceanside Grand Prix venue, Joe Mirante replied, “The USTPA event has been a great event for Oceanside. It's thrilling to be an intimate observer of professional tennis. What's even better than observing the pro's skills is to enjoy their love of the game and generous teaching in the pro-am and clinics. I will continue to be an enthusiastic sponsor of the event. Our pro Mike Sanders has done our club a great service in orchestrating this tournament.” With committed members like the Mirantes, the Oceanside event is likely to be a mainstay on the circuit for some time to come.
|Julien Link (Champ) & Alex Henderson (Finalist)|
|Kam Kuchta (Finalist) & Milos Vasovic (Champ)|
Men’s 45s & 40s
|Jack Steyn (Finalist) &|
Jeff Cohen (Champ)
After a hiatus from the Grand Prix Circuit, Greg Wheaton returned to the courts and knocked off Men’s 50 Grand Prix points-leader T. A. Niles in a third-set super-tiebreak. After winning the first set 6-3, Wheaton lost the second 2-6, but came back to win 10-7 after being down 5-7 in the breaker. Despite having played just the one event, Wheaton’s win moves him into second place in the rankings. Wheaton teamed with Dave Cordrey to claim the doubles title as well, downing Arup Dutta and I, 6-1, 6-2. I definitely owe Arup one for my odious performance in that one! Sorry Arup.
|Gewan (Champ) & Vishnu (Finalist) Maharaj|
|Liz Burger (2nd), Carolyn Franca (Champ), |
Michelle Maharaj, & Mike Sanders
|Gewan Maharaj & Carolyn Franca (Champs)|
Next Grand Prix Stop
The Next stop on the USPTA Florida Fast-Dry & 10-S Supply 2012 Grand Prix Circuit will be at The Landings Yacht, Golf & Tennis Club in Fort Myers, October 19 - 21. Landings Tennis Director Paul D’Amico and his staff did a smoking job of hosting the Florida Open, (a national junior event) this summer, and I suspect the same will apply to the Grand Prix stop.
To make things as easy and inviting as possible for USPTA pros around the State to play if they have any interest, USPTA District 14 professionals are initiating a “Host-A-Pro” program. Players who are interested in being hosted by a local professional or tennis aficionado should contact T. A. Niles at firstname.lastname@example.org or 407-466-4652. Hope to see you there!