Wednesday, December 5, 2012

December Tennis in Fort Myers

Happy Holiday Season everyone! School may stop, work may halt, but the tennis continues. My standard disclaimer: I'm sure there's more happening, but I can only share with you what the community shares with me. That said, here we gooooo!

USPTA Pros in Action at Masters
Williams Island Tennis Staff
The best tennis USPTA Florida has to offer will be on display at the 2012 USPTA FL Fast-Dry Courts and 10S Tennis Supply Grand Prix Circuit Masters event at Williams Island in Aventura this coming weekend (December 8 – 9). Carlos Triana and his staff put on a terrific event last year, and I suspect this year will be even better (click here for the scoop on last year’s event).  

Steve Shortridge at 2011 USPTA Masters
Fort Myers has several USPTA pros playing in the Masters, attesting to the quality of the tennis in our area. Players qualify for the Masters by placing in the top four in the point standings over the course of the Grand Prix season. If any of the top-four players aren’t available, the next in line is invited.

Denny Rager
Among those playing this weekend are Steve Shortridge of Colonial who finished second in the Men’s 60 Singles, and Denny Rager of Lely, who was second in the final standings of the Men’s 35 Singles and 5th in Men’s Open Doubles. Rager will play both singles and doubles, teaming with 35-Singles-leader Milos Vasovic.  

Kevin Kearns & Jeff Diggs
Jeff Diggs of Fiddlesticks and partner Kevin Kearns, on the strength of their win at the Landings in October, tied for third in Men’s 40 Doubles, and will play as a team. Like everyone in the event, they will face some stiff competition, including a former National Champion. Bob Green of Pelican Preserve will play in the Men’s 60 Singles, where he finished seventh in the standings.

T. A. & Katman
We have solid representation in the 50s, as both Pro League Commissioner Jim “Katman” Katterfield of Shadow Wood, and I (of The Hideaway) will be joining the fray. Katman finished tied for fourth in doubles and I finished No.1 in singles and doubles for the season.  I will be playing with Frank Swope of BallenIsles (formerly of Mediterra in Naples), who teamed with me to win the 50 Masters Doubles last year.

Erica Cossairt
A few of our local ladies will also be aiming for Masters’ wins this weekend. Carly Carpenter of Fort Myers Racquet Club finished No.2 in the Women’s Open Singles and will compete in that division. Christie Bradley of The Sanctuary on Sanibel finished second in the Women’s 35 Singles and will play that event and Women’s 45 Doubles with Erica Cossairt. Erica was the second-place finisher in Women’s 45 Singles and she will also put her skills to the test in singles.

11 & Under Tennis - Play Day at Fiddlesticks
Tyler Owens
While Director Jeff is away at the Masters, Tyler Owens and the other Fiddlesticks pros will be hosting an 11 & Under Tennis - Play Day this Saturday the 8th from 1 – 4pm. In case you haven’t heard about 11 & Under,  or 10 & Under Tennis, the format utilizes racquets, balls, and courts that are sized right for kids so they can learn tennis and compete using proper technique from the outset. Tennis, snacks, and drinks are included in the $10 cost. Participants must register by Thursday December 6, so call Tyler now at 239-768-6439. Your kids and/or grandkids will love it!

SCAT Charity Round Robin at Plantation
SCAT President Sandy Miller
On Wednesday December 12, at 10:30am the SCAT League will host the Plantation Charity Round Robin and lunch at the Plantation Golf & Country Club, with proceeds benefiting The Harry Chapin Food Bank and Toys-for-Tots. These ladies know how to have a good time, and in addition to some fun tennis, snacks will be on hand during play and a buffet lunch will be served. A silent auction and drawings for prizes will also be held.   

Rena Gezzar & T. A.
According to one of the event organizers, Sandy Miller,Our Showcase Raffle is fabulous!!  A weekend (3 days/2 nights) at South Seas with a golf cart to get around the property and complimentary tennis…We are selling tickets in advance and you do not need to be present to win.” If you can’t make the event but want to purchase raffle tickets, please contact co-organizer Rena Gezzar at or 239-478-3581. Raffle tickets must be purchased by the 11th, and proceeds go to Harry Chapin Food Bank.

Toys collected at Park Meadow
Toys for Tots event
You can participate in the round robin by donating a $20 gift card to Toys “R” Us, Wal-Mart, or Target, or you can just join the players for lunch by donating a $10 gift card to the same merchants. To register for the event, click here to go to the SCAT website.

In addition to The Plantation, several local businesses have stepped up as sponsors. Those include Thirty-One Gifts, Park Meadow Tennis Shop, Hooters, Bernard Anthony Salon, Image Matters, LRF Designs, and South Seas Island Resort.

FMRC 7.5 Combo Men off to Daytona
Captain Mike Stern
Last month I made an error that didn’t get corrected. I wrote that FMRC 7.5 Men’s Summer Senior Combo League team would be heading to Daytona, November 14 – 16 to represent our area in Sectional League Playoffs. Well, it really is December 14-16. Pretty big error that no one called me on; my apologies all. In any event, last I heard, Captain Mike Stern will lead the following group into battle: Tim McClary, Matt Schmelter, EW Brockwell, Dave Coppin, Steve Romaine, Jack Dunmead, Jurjis Petrov, and Barry Speakman. Good luck guys!

Fort Myers Racquet Club to Get Makeover
Mark Davis
Speaking of Fort Myers Racquet Club, to some this may not be an “event,” but to many members of the Fort Myers tennis community, particular the members of Fort Myers Racquet Club (FMRC), the upcoming (December 17) resurfacing of the courts is a major happening. As one of the first moves they will be making as the new leadership of FMRC Mark Davis and Carly Carpenter have brought in Ritzman Tennis to refurbish the tennis courts, and have plans to upgrade the entire facility.

Spectators at FMRC for 2012 Edison
If you are wondering what the new FMRC will offer, I think you are going to really like what they have planned there. According to Mark, “we have put the side gate and locker rooms on a key system so members can get in to play and use the restrooms/showers when the shop is closed; we're putting the lights on a timer so members can play later than before, especially on the weekends.”

More spectators
Sounds pretty good huh? Well that’s not nearly all, Mark continued, “I just secured a beer/ wine license this morning so we can now serve grownups what they want. We are converting the space Jane had into an adult-only lounge area with big screen TV, dartboard and popcorn machine, and the main area of the clubhouse will be the pro shop. To top it off, the sidewalks leading to the courts are lined with tiki torches, we have a fire pit, and we are putting Adirondack chairs around it, as well as hanging hammocks between the palm trees.” Ok, sounds like someplace I’d like to be. Be sure to check them out after the revocation, which begins on December 17.

Locals Shine at USTA Florida Annual Meeting & Celebration
In addition to what’s coming up in December, a few days ago, some key members of the Lee County tennis community started the month with some really good news. Three of our tennis devotees were recognized at the USTAFlorida Annual Meeting & TennisCelebration in Orlando this past weekend.

Pam Scudder (photo courtesy of
USTA Florida website)
If you or your children play USTA sanctioned events, or attend college tennis events in the area, then you have seen Pam Scudder of Lehigh Acres around the courts. If you have young ones, she may have even taught your kids, as one of the Lee County Community Tennis Association (LCCTA) coaches. And, if you happen to play 4.0-and-above tennis in the Lee County Women’s Tennis League (LCWTL), then I’m guessing you know Pam. But it was for her tireless work as an official at USTA Florida junior and adult tournaments that she was awarded “Official of the Year.”

Lyn Bruner (photo courtesy of 
USTA Florida website)
Lyn Bruner, long–time Tournament Director and newly-instated Executive Director of the Lee County Community Tennis Association (LCCTA), was named “Volunteer of the Year.” I am not at all surprised by Lyn’s award, given all that she does and has done for tennis in our community. It would take more room and time than I have here to detail even half of what Lyn does for us, but you can click here for some of the reasons USTA Florida and everyone who knows her (including me) believes she’s amazing.  

Fred Drilling (photo courtesy of 
USTA Florida website)
You can’t speak of “amazing” and “tennis” in this area without mentioning the next local award recipient at USTA Florida’s Annual Meeting. Fred Drilling of Estero earned “Male Player of the Year (Competitive Division)” honors, and a review of his record would attest to that award being well-earned!

A former ITF World No.1 in Men’s Singles, this year Fred won the Men’s 70 title at the USTA National Men’s 70 Clay Court Championship in singles and doubles. He also was the Finalist of the ITF Super Seniors World Individual Championships in Men’s 70 Singles. Fred’s place in local lore was probably cemented in this year’s Naples/Fort Myers Challenge, where he played Men’s 45 Singles and drove Mark Davis to racquet destruction and mayhem, as well as retirement consideration. Mark has since repented and reconsidered, and may yet play tennis again.

Local Seniors Thrive at Longboat Key

Yes, it has been a good year for our Mr. Drilling, as his on-court success continued in the Category II, Longboat Key Senior Clay Court Championships in Longboat Key. Drilling added another two feathers to his cap, taking both the singles and doubles in the Men’s 70s, losing just 14 games in his five singles matches. He teamed with Clive Kileff of Signal Mountain, Tennessee to win the doubles.


Howie Ames & Steve Shreiner

But Fred wasn’t the only one who found success at Longboat Key. Seeded No.1, Steve Shreiner, based at the Landings, and Howard Ames won the Men’s 60 Doubles without dropping a set. Shreiner and Ames have taken home at least three 60 Doubles titles this year, and finished third in the Men’s 60 Doubles at the USTA National Men's 45, 55, & 60 Grass Court Championships at Forest Hills in September. Shreiner also has a 60 Doubles win with Terry See of Cypress Lake.

Congrats to all of of the above outstanding performers and I’m wishing everyone continued success on and off the courts. Happy Holidays! Game, set, match…T. A.

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