Tuesday, November 27, 2012

USPTA Pro League Results & Preview

The on-court action was as dramatic as ever at the last Fort Myers Ritzman Tennis USPTA Pro League stop at Pelican Landings on November 16. Five of the 12 matches were decided by super-tiebreaks and three other matches included regular tiebreaks. The Pro League remains the best early Friday evening entertainment in town! 

Remax vs. Babolat
Remax came into the third Pro League stop at Pelican Landing in first place, leading Babolat by one point, and the two teams took to the courts with the league-lead on the line. When the night was over, Remax had cemented its position atop the Pro League heap.

Corey Knapp & Frank Fourgeau
On Court 1, Denny Rager and Tyler Owens of Babolat won a 10-5 super tiebreak to eclipse Manuel Encalada and Luke Andreae for two Babolat points. At Second Doubles, undefeated Remax Captain Frank Fourgeau and partner Corey Knapp claimed two points with a straight-set win over Jeff Diggs and John Jerome.

John Gillette & Toni Halski
On Court 3, Toni Halski and John Gillette (sub) slipped past Dave Dooley and Jorge Magalhaes 10-7 in the super-tiebreak to post one point for Babolat. Remax garnered another two points on the Mixed Court when Dan Moenning and Christie Bradley downed Erica Cossairt and Christian Abele (sub) 6-4, 7-6.

Johnny Malloy’s (JM) vs. Boston Retirement Advisors (BRA) 
Mike Curran & Elliot Debolt
With a deft display of subbing (three subs in four matches), Johnny Malloy’s edged Boston Retirement Advisors 4.5 – 4 points. On Court 1, Mike Curran and Elliot Debolt took a thriller over Scott Harrington and Jared Kalpin, squeaking out a 14-12 super-tiebreak to earn two points for JM. 

Joel Hampton, Mike Barnes
& Jeremy Orme
Kevin Kearns and Jeremy Orme (sub) posted another point for JM in a similar war of attrition, taking the super tiebreak 16-14 over Joel Hampton and Mike Barnes.

Bob Green & Kim Jones
In what must be considered an upset on Court 3, Todd Wise and Mike Stevens (sub) downed league commissioner Jim Katterfield and Paul D’Amico 6-4, 6-2 in the only straight-set match of the JM/BRA-contest. Saving the day for BRA on the Mixed Doubles Court was Bob Greene and Kim Jones, who edged John Ramsey and Belinda Dufrene (sub) 10-8 to post two points for BRA. JM moved into second place alone with 13 points, leaving BRA in a third-place tie with Babolat with 12.5 points each.   

Gateway Dental (GD) vs. University Grill (UG) 
Gateway Dental (GD) and University Grill (UG) came into the third skirmish of the season in fifth and sixth place respectively, and their positions did not change. Both teams lost ground to league-leading Remax, but GD finished the night just half a point out of third, and one point behind second-place JM.

Ryan Sherry & Shawn Hedrick
GD Captain Shawn Hedrick and partner Ryan Sherry held up their end of the bargain on Court 1, downing Sergio Rebolledo and Matt Maloney 6-1, 7-6 to post two points. 
Tom Fisher & Mike Lawver
On Court 2, UG Captain Mike Lawver teamed with Tom “Super Sub” Fisher to pin a straight-set loss on my partner Anthony Hatori and I to even things up. This was a painful loss, because I was serving for the first set at 5-3 and didn’t win a single point on my serve. We lost 7-6, 7-5…Ouch!

Kerry Kendrick & Alex Hermeto
Terry See and Mark Drons teamed up on Court 3 to dispatch Steve Shortridge and Jeff Timmer 6-2, 6-4, getting two points for UG, and Alex Hermeto and Kerry Kendrick took home two points for GD by beating Tony Martin and Carolyn Lawver 6-2, 6-3.  

Scott Harrington, Mike Lawver,
& Jeff Diggs
In sum, everyone lost ground to Remax, which extended its lead to 3.5 points over second-place Johnny Malloy. Just one point separates the teams in second through fifth place, but University Grill trails the leader by 8.5 points.

Faithful fans- Marley & Bruce Lombard 
Things won’t get much easier for Mike Lawver’s team this Friday, as UG takes on host Jeff Diggs’ third-place Babolat team at Fiddlesticks. Frank Fourgeau’s League-leading Remax will face Scott Harrington’s BRA, while second-place JM, led by Mike Curran, will seek to hold off Shawn Hedrick’s fifth-place GD, who is one point out of second.

The lineups for the Fiddlesticks matches are as follows:

USPTA Pro League at Fiddlesticks Friday , 11/30/12
3pm Matches:
5:00pm Matches
Babolat vs University Grill
Court 2
Court 1
Court 3

Remax vs. Boston Retirement Advisors
Court 3
Court 1
Court 2
Johnny Malloy's vs Gateway Dental
Court 2
Court 1
Court 3

A Thank You from Hideaway Tennis

The turkey has been relegated to salad and sandwiches, we've recovered from being stuffed with stuffing, but the memories of spending time and sharing sentiments with friends and family remain…They will stay with us until Thanksgiving Day comes around again.

I know I don’t have to remind you that we have much to be thankful for at The Hideaway, but I wanted to share my thoughts and sentiments of gratitude. As with the rest of the Hideaway community, Hideaway Tennis has much for which to be grateful. 

Personally, on the administrative end of things, I’m grateful for the tremendous support the blossoming tennis program has received from Tom Dudas, Sean Balliet and Janine Harrell. Without their efforts, we would not have witnessed the growth of over 80% in tennis membership.

Doug & Sean
I would be remiss if I didn't give thanks to Doug, who quietly and with his ever-present smile, goes beyond his anticipated call of duty to ease the growing pains of the budding tennis program. 

Chef Nick
And of course I am grateful to Chef Nick, Rick, Nid, Chris, and the rest of the Food and Beverage staff who have welcomed our new members in their own special way. 

Paula Barry & Vivian Landis
Speaking of welcoming, without the generous spirit displayed by long-time members such as Paula Barry, Vivian Landis, Bill Dey, Gerry Courtney, Bill and Lee Cross, Bob Ostrom and others, members who have been the heart and soul of the tennis community for eons, I wouldn't be here and neither would the 21 new tennis members. 

Gerry Courtney
And without their efforts, the tennis courts wouldn't receive the glowing praise they receive from everyone who visits The Hideaway.

Bert Ann, Pearle, Pat
In addition to all I've mentioned as worthy of immense gratitude, there are other driving forces behind the growth in our tennis program and membership. Bert Ann Haas has worked tirelessly to build our Lee County Women’s Tennis League (LCWTL) Copper team, and Pearle Warren has done the same to establish our 3.0 team. Thank you ladies for the difficult and often thankless job you do!

Terry Turner & Karen Keeling
Finally, to the ladies who show up for practice, who give their all each time they step out onto the court as representatives of The Hideaway tennis program, a great, big “THANK YOU” goes out to you as well. 

Pre-season Team Luncheon
To all above, I hope you had a tremendous experience with your family and friends on the designated day for giving thanks! I hope, despite our daily challenges, we remain grateful for all we have, including the little piece of paradise that is our Hideaway.

Your Grateful Tennis Professional,
T. A. Niles

Thursday, November 15, 2012

FCGU's Men's Tennis Eagles Land on Shadow Wood

Dean Tsamas & Lance Lvovsky
share a table with Shadow Wood members
We have our share of terrific events in the Greater Fort Myers tennis community, but sometimes the stars align just right, and the pieces come together just so to encapsulate an occasion in its own bubble of rarified air. 

Director Dave Dooley directs
Mike Melnik, Bill Hollister, Dave Dooley and his staff, Shadow Wood’s Food & Beverage staff, the FGCU contingent (Coach Weber and his players, Athletic Director Ken Kavanagh, Senior Associate Athletic Director Butch Perchan, and Eagles Club Coordinator Graham Diemer), the generous sponsors, 

Ken Kavanagh, Mike Melnik,
Graham Diemer & spectator
and the participating racquet wielders came together to create such a moment at the FGCU- Shadow Wood Country Club- Bonita Community Health Center Tennis Celebration.

All together now
The event was orchestrated to raise revenue in support of Florida Gulf Coast University’s (FGCU) Men’s Tennis Eagles, and more than 100 members gathered at Shadow Wood Country Club at the Brooks Friday, November 9, for fun, friends, fund raising, food, and tennis (not necessarily in that order).  

We're having a great time!
Even if you were comatose you would have felt the positive energy buzzing across the courts at Shadow Wood that night. Friends? Check! Food? Scrumptious! Fun? Non-stop! Fund raising? Cha Ching! Tennis? All one could ask for! 

Chris Perrigan & partner celebrate
There was just about every form of tennis imaginable at the event: Doubles, mixed doubles, singles, target tennis, beat the Eagles and more. And, after the participants had had their fill of testing the Eagles skills on court, and had had their fill of the sumptuous, palette-pleasing fare served up by the Shadow Wood Food & Beverage staff, they were treated to a tennis spectacle that only extremely talented and youthful players could provide. 

Fun at Shadow Wood

Dan & Jacquie Brady at work- photo 
edited byDan Brady
I could write ten thousand words, but photos from the event (photographer Dan Brady took some phenomenal shots!) would surely do a better job of conveying the spirit of the occasion (click here for Dan's photos). Steph and I took quite a few shots as well, so click here for more pics.

Jordi Vives & Eagle Azul run target tennis
The participants, who, along with the many sponsors, particularly event sponsor Bonita Community Health Center, made the event what it was, expressed their appreciation for the efforts of the event organizers and the players. 

Keith Butterfield in action
According to Keith Butterfield, one of the participating Shadow Wood members, “…Shadow Wood members were tremendously impressed with the FGCU players with whom they played.  Of course they were impressed with the players' talents (even though they were very aware that the guys were playing ‘customer tennis’) but they were even more impressed with how personable, poised and friendly the players were -- a well-deserved complement.  C.J. and FGCU should be very proud of how well these young men represent the university.”

Graham Diemer for FGCU Athletics
FGCU’s Men’s Tennis Eagles impressed more than the Shadow Wood membership. Eagles Club Coordinator, Graham Diemer, who expressed early in the proceedings that he would probably have to leave early, was still in attendance when the last ball was hit, and the last satisfied smile graced the remaining participants’ lips. “I haven’t really attended a tennis event, so I didn’t know what to expect,” he reported. “It was amazing! I had no idea that it would be so much fun! Our guys really represented themselves, the program, and the University well,” he concluded.

Mike Melnik MCs
Yes, the players’ performances provided plenty of entertainment, with and without members on court, Shadow Wood’s tennis staff and food & beverage staff held serve on their end of things, but Mike Melnik, Bill Hollister and the other member volunteers who orchestrated the setting and activities really aced their end of the bargain. 

How about this ambiance?
A creative, on-court dinner setting greeted participants and spectators as they arrived at the Shadow Wood venue, and the silent auction displays and banners from the more than 20 sponsors were tastefully distributed for browsing.

Event Sponsor Genesis Tennis
Speaking of sponsors, anyone who has ever organized a sponsored event knows how vital a role sponsors play. Event organizer Bill Hollister, in expressing his gratitude to sponsors, wrote, “Your generous contribution added to the excitement and generated [significant financial support] for FGCU Tennis. 

Silent Auction: What can I bid on?
Over 100 Shadow Wood members met the tennis players, bid on auction prizes and celebrated the re-opening of the Club after our recent $5 million expansion. Best of all the total revenue for the night was $8400!!!!”

Rebecca of Dr. Nadia Kasim's office
and Frank LaPuma & Julie LeBriton 
Primary among the sponsors of this event was Bonita Community Health Center (BCHC). In addition to their generous donation, BCHC staff was on site and in force. Julie LeBriton (Marketing Director), Rebecca Sanders (Fall Prevention Balance Clinician), and Frank LaPuma (Director of Rehabilitation) all stayed for the duration. 

In her reflections on the event, LeBriton remarked, "When Bill Hollister first approached me about Bonita Community Health Center sponsoring this event I thought it would be just another fundraiser. 

BCHC's Julie LeBriton on the mic
Then Bill and I met and he told me about what he and Mike envisioned for the FGCU Tennis Fundraiser Event. College athletes and Shadow Wood residents playing tennis together? I was intrigued. Seeing the finished product last Friday was fantastic. Bonita Community Health Center was honored to be part of such an amazing event."

Michael Beiler & partner celebrate
If you play the horses enough, eventually you’ll pick a winner, and I think the Southwest Florida tennis community and I have finally hit the jackpot!

Coach C.J. Weber thanks crowd
 If you have been reading this blog once in a while, you most certainly have “heard” me beating the drum for Florida Gulf Coast University’s Men’s Tennis Eagles. Well, Mike Melnik and Bill Hollister and the Shadow Wood Country Club community really brought the noise for the Eagles last Friday night.

Checking out Eagles Landing
The Shadow Wood event theme was, “The Eagles Have Landed,” which they surely did at Shadow Wood, and community participation such as we witnessed that night will certainly contribute to the Eagles soaring this coming spring season. Kudos to the entire Shadow Wood at the Brooks community for hosting such a spectacular occasion!

Tianyu Bao entertains members
The schedule for the Eagles’ coming season is available here and on the FGCU website. If you would like to be a part of the wind beneath the Eagles wings, drop me an email at taniles13@yahoo.com or call me at 407-466-4652. Game, set, Match…T. A.