Friday, October 12, 2012

October Tennis in Fort Myers

FGCU Eagles at Grandezza Tomorrow
FGCU Hosts St. Matthews
October is definitely a busy tennis month in Fort Myers generally, and it certainly is for the FGCU Men’s Tennis Eagles this year. The FGCU Men’s Tennis Team isn’t resting on its laurels after winning the Fall Invitational two weeks ago. The following weekend (last Friday, View photos), the Eagles hosted a clinic at FGCU for members of a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program at St Matthew’s House. Tomorrow, the team will be running practice and playing exhibitions at The Club at Grandezza. If you want to see and meet the top collegiate players in our area, hop on down to Grandezza. Activities run from 11am – 1:30pm. I’ll be there.

LCCTA in Action
Ian Ziegler- Boys' 14 Champion
Last weekend (6th & 7th) the Lee County Community Tennis Association (LCCTA) held the Fall Festival, a junior tourney at the Barbara Manzo Tennis Center at Three Oaks Park, which drew about as many players are we are likely to have at the USPTA Grand Prix event coming up next week at The Landings. It was a rare treat for me to watch some really talented little and not so little ones play the game the way it was meant to be played (click here for full story and pics).

The Landings Hosts one for Charity
Pink & Blue Participants
While the juniors were at Three Oaks, the adults were at The Landings.  Paul D’Amico and his staff hosted the inaugural Pink & Blue Mixed Doubles benefit tourney this past weekend. Twenty-two teams  played in the event, which was held in support of the National Cancer Survivor’s Day, with the proceeds benefitting the Regional Cancer Center of Lee Memorial Health System.

Dave & Barb Peirson
Teams competed in two divisions, 50 & over and 60 & over. I’m willing to bet that anyone who played last weekend had enough tennis for the week! Well, perhaps not, knowing some of those tennis junkies. In any event, Dave and Barbara Peirson defeated Gloria Killen and Leon Clark of the Cape Coral Yacht Club to claim the 60 & over division, 

David Dekeersmaker & Maggie Reblan 
and Maggie Reblan and David Dekeersmaker, of Miromar Lakes, defeated Judy Wilson and Ed Bonkowski of Gulf Harbour to take the 50 & over division.

USPTA Grand Prix Next Week
Paul D’Amico and his staff apparently don’t know what it means to rest on one’s laurels. Just two weeks after hosting the Inaugural Pink & Blue, The Landings will host the first USPTA Grand Prix event in the area in more than six years. USPTA Tennis Professionals will take to the courts for ranking points and cash. There will be fireworks in the Open Division, as some of the big hitters from Naples and elsewhere will be coming to town. The hitting won’t be as big, but it will be every bit as competitive in the other singles, doubles and mixed doubles events.

Steve Shortridge
Some of your favorite pro league players, along with some area newcomers, will be putting their games to the test against all comers. Participants include Steve Shortridge of Colonial, Jim Katterfield of Shadow Wood, Carolyn Lawver of Heritage Palms, Kerry Kendrick of Casa Ybel, Bob Green of Pelican Preserve, Jeff Diggs of Fiddlesticks, Alex Hermeto of Gateway, Anthony Hatori of Pelican Sound, John Jerome of Wildcat Run, Luke Andreae of Punta Gorda Club Chandler Kleinpeter of The Forest, and of course, yours truly. Draws should be posted by Thursday of next week (18th), so if you’re interested in seeing what’s going on, just click here.

Pro League in Two Weeks
Steve Shreiner
USPTA Florida Fast Dry Courts and 10S Tennis Supply Grand Prix should be the perfect appetite whetting for those of you who enjoy the Fort Myers USPTA Pro League. But lemme tell you how strong the Fort Myers pro league is this year. USTA National Champion Steve Shreiner couldn’t even get a spot in somebody’s lineup this season! Well, to be honest, it’s just that we have so many talented full-time professionals in the area, that although Steve would be a great addition on one of the teams, he’s only here part time. Sorry Steve. Hope we get to play together at least once.

That aside, our USPTA Pro League is about to get underway. The action begins at Palmira Golf & Country Club in Bonita Springs on Friday, October 26, and culminates at Colonial Country Club with the playoffs on March 22. There’s a new format this season, with six teams, instead of four, vying for Pro League honors. Team competition will include three men’s doubles and one mixed doubles match. Click here for Team Rosters and Match Schedule.

Manuel Ecalada & Tyler Owens
In the first skirmish, Team Babolat led by Jeff Diggs will take the stage against Scott Harrington’s Boston Retirement Advisors; Johnny Malloy’s, captained by Mike Curran, will face Mike Lawver-led University Grill; and Shawn Hedrick’s Gateway Dental Suites will take on Frank Fourgeau’s Remax. Fortunately for the rest of the competition on Court 1, last season’s undefeated team of Manuel Encalada and Tyler Owens will no longer be playing together. The two will face each other at Pelican Landings in the third session of the season.

Pro League Newcomers
Newcomers to Pro League include Chandler Kleinpeter of The Forest, playing with John Ramsey of Kelly Greens; Kim Jones of The Landings, teamed with Bob Green of Pelican Preserve; Paul D’Amico and Mike Barnes of The Landings, who will play together; Ryan Sherry of Cypress Lakes, who will play with Shawn Hedrick of The Strand; and Matt Maloney of Punta Gorda Club, who will play with Sergio Rebolledo of Gulf Harbour. It should be another exciting Pro League season, so to be out every other Friday. It’s just the thing to do if you’re a tennis fan!

Musical Pros
Fred Hindle & Julia Curran
Speaking of pros, if this were musical chairs, we’d have to use a stadium with all the tennis pros moving around. I couldn’t possibly detail them all, but here are a few you might be interested in hearing about. My ex-doubles partner and former colleague at Gulf Harbour, Joel Hampton, has taken a position as Director of Tennis at the Quarry in Naples. Yes, little brother is moving on up in the world.

Joel & T. A.
Crowd-pleasing Jared Kalpin, formerly of Bonita Bay, Grandezza, and The Landings, is now on staff with Pavel & Blackwood on Sanibel Island. I believe Jared is hanging at The Dunes primarily. Fortunately for our tennis community, both Joel and Jared are close by, but the community is suffering a major loss with the departure of Fred Hindle, now former Director of Tennis at the Barbara Manzo Tennis Center at Three Oaks Park!

Fred Hindle
I know he’s saddened to leave the good work he was doing with kids and adults at Three Oaks, but Fred couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take a tennis professional position at Valdosta Country Club in Valdosta, Georgia. Many of us, particularly his students at Three Oaks will miss Fred.

LCWTL Serves up Tons of Tennis
Nina Carpentar & Barb Saling of Hideaway
There's another really popular league in town that got underway this week. The Lee County Women's Tennis League, with over 200 teams and more than 1700 ladies playing in 14 divisions, launched its 2013 Season and its new Copper Division today. I'm happy to announce that The Hideaway Country Club entered a new phase of its tennis program development by putting its first LCWTL team in action today against Gulf Harbour in the inaugural season of the Copper Division. More on that in another post, but kudos to the ladies that got The Hideaway off to a terrific start in the LCWTL.

2013 US Open: You Can Be There!
US Open Box Seats
Changing gears, let’s say your two favorite players are in the final of the US Open next year, and you have the opportunity to be in the USTA President’s Box to watch it. Would you pay $20 for that opportunity? Oh, wait a minute, I forgot to mention that in addition to those box seats for the men’s or women’s final, you would also get round trip tickets to New York City (NYC), and two nights in an NYC hotel! Now, would you pay $20 for that opportunity? Oops! Forgot to mention, that you would also be transported to the USTA Billy Jean Tennis Center, receive lunch in the President’s Dining Room, have access to hospitality in the President’s Suite and access to court-side seating in Louis Armstrong Stadium, the Grandstand and all other courts.

That’s just the first prize. Second prize will get you two court-side box seat tickets in Ashe Stadium, and third will put two box seat tickets to the men’s or women’s Sony Ericsson final in your wallet. Now, Steph and I have already bought two, and I have eight remaining. Only 500 raffle tickets were printed for this fundraiser, so your chances are wayyyyy better than playing the lottery. Drop me an email or give me a call if you would like a chance at sitting in the President’s box at the 2013 US Open final.

One last thing: Funds raised from the raffle will benefit the Florida Section Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization that provides grants for “youth tennis programs, adaptive tennis programs for those with special needs, community tennis programs in economically challenged areas, along with facility assistance in the renovation, refurbishment and building of quality public tennis facilities.” Bottom line? Win or lose, you are supporting a worthy cause.  

USTA Officials Want You!
USTA FL Officials 
Jim Dostie & Referee Ellie Madigan 
It ain’t Uncle Sam, but if you can be considered a tennis enthusiast, you like being around junior tennis, and would like to make a few pesos while keeping the peace on the court, USTA FL is in need of officials. If you would like to know why you should become an official, I’ll tell you in the words of Pam Scudder, someone who has done it for years:  “It’s rewarding to see the kids grow from young players learning the game into developed and competent tournament players.”  And of course, you do get that stipend for watching tennis. Got a little time? Drop Joe Torres, Chairperson of District 7 officials, an email at or call 239-825-3714.

Happenings at Fort Myers Racquet Club
This in from Carly and Mark at FMRC: They are having a HALLOWEEN TENNIS SOCIAL!  The boo-bash will be held on Sunday, October 28 from 9:00am-12:00pm. The cost is $10 per person, but you get $2 off for wearing orange.  Everyone is invited (you do not have to be a member), but please sign up ahead of time so Carly and company are sure to get enough food & drinks for everyone. This will be a round robin format, all ability levels are welcome!  The normal Sunday mixed round robin will not be taking place on that day.

Beachview Champagne Sips
Just across the bridge on Sanibel, Toni Halski and Beachview Tennis Club will host the Inaugural Beachview Champagne Sips Tennis Tournament on Saturday and Sunday, October 27 and 28. The tournament features mixed doubles for all levels and is sponsored by Lily Co. Jewelry Gallery. In addition to tennis, a party will be hosted at the Beachview Bistro, Sat. Oct 27 at 6:00pm, featuring a raffle for fabulous prizes with all the proceeds to benefit F.I.S.H. (Friends in Service Here). 

All entrants will receive free gifts from Lily Co. and a hand towel from the Beachview Tennis Club. Along with the gifts, complimentary lunches, snacks, beverages and, of course, champagne will be provided courtside.  Entry fee is $40 per person, plus one canned good for F.I.S.H.  Deadline to register is Wed. October 24 at 5:00pm.  For more information please call the Beachview Tennis Club at 239-472-9099. 

Well, that's about all i have for now, and that plenty enough; don't you think? I hope to see you at Grandezza tomorrow and at The Landings next weekend. Game, set, match...T. A.

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