Wednesday, December 19, 2012

More December and New Year’s Tennis in Fort Myers

There is absolutely no end to the tennis in the Greater Fort Myers area! The more I write, the more I realize there’s more to write. Here’s the latest:

Gateway Hosts Rookie Event
Alex Hermeto
Alex Hermeto and the folks at Gateway Country Club are hosting the Fifth Annual Holiday Season Rookie Tournament for juniors this coming weekend, and tomorrow, Thursday the 20th (probably today when you read this) is the deadline to enter the event. The kids are out of school, and they might appreciate something to do with that pre-Christmas energy.

The event will be held this Saturday and Sunday, December 22 – 23, and available divisions include 11-Under, 12-Under, 14-Under, and 16-Under for both boys and girls. The deadline is Thursday, December 20 by 5pm, but if this is the first time you’re hearing about the event, maybe Alex will let your junior in if you barely miss the deadline. The registration fee is $20 and you can contact Alex at 239-561-1422 if you have questions.  

USPTA Pros at Masters
Kevin Kearns & Jeff Diggs
In a previous post, I talked about the various local USPTA Professionals that would be heading to Williams Island in Aventura to play the season-ending USPTA Grand Prix Masters, December 8 & 9. I haven't had time to recap that event yet, but I wanted to let you know that your pros gave a good account of themselves. 
Franco Mata & Tye Myers

We had a few local area pros emerge as Masters Champions, and a couple who lost in finals. Among the champions were Steve Shortridge (with Gewan Maharaj) in Men's 60 Doubles; Tye Myers & Franco Mata in Men's Open Doubles; and yours truly in Men's 50 Singles.

Christie Bradley
Those who made it to finals but finished as finalists include Tye Myers in Men's Open Singles, Jeff Diggs and Kevin Kearns in Men's 40 Doubles, Carly Carpenter in Women's Open Singles, Christie Bradley in Women's 35 Singles, and Jim Katterfield and I in Men's 50 Doubles. 

FMRC USTA League Team at Sectionals
Fort Myers Racquet Club (FMRC) appears to be the hottest venue in Fort Myers tennis this December. The Men’s 7.5 Summer Senior Combo League team barely missed out on making it to Nationals last weekend (14th – 16th).

It appears that the team had a trip to the Nationals in Tucson in its grasp and somehow that almost-punched-ticket slipped away. Captain Mike Stern provided his usually unique perspective on the happenings there, and you can read that by clicking here.

FMRC’s Extreme Makeover
But the 7.5 team’s performance isn’t even the really big news at FMRC! In a recent post, I talked about the makeover FMRC would be undergoing in the very near future. 
It wasn’t just talk folks; it really is happening at FMRC! Renovations have begun! I was out there on Monday the 17th and saw it with my own eyes.

When I cruised by there on Monday, Tony Ritzman’s guys (of Ritzman Tennis) were taking up the old clay in preparation for laser-grading the courts, putting down new clay and new lines. When I spoke with Mark Davis, Director of Tennis & Operations, he even mentioned discussions about additional fencing and lighting.

Mark Davis & Carly Carpenter
Mark and Carly Carpenter, Facility and Activity Director, have obviously been working overtime at making FMRC a place you would want to be. 

New Lounge
As far as semi-private tennis facilities go, FMRC is as good as it gets in the area.  

Ahh, The Beverages
Newly renovated courts, a bit of liquid courage before, or cold consolation after you play (that’s beer and wine), a lounge area with flat screen TV, and all sorts of fascinating personalities and levels of play make FMRC a venue worth exploring.

Oh, in my excitement, I almost forgot to mention that Mark’s MAD Academy is still open to both juniors and adults. Court renovations should be complete by the end of the holidays, so drop by if you haven’t lately. If you have questions for Mark or Carly, please call 239-931-0015.

Tennis Performance International Hosts Juniors at Park Meadow
Ian Ziegler
Tennis Performance International (TPI), led by Rone and Leo Montano, will host the 2013 Clay Court New Year’s Tournament at Park Meadows Tennis Center, January 5 – 7. If the improvements to the Park Meadows facility and to Ian Ziegler’s tennis game are any indications, the event should be a huge success. 
Not many tournaments import tournament directors, but Leo and Rone did just that, bringing in seasoned veteran Molly Schwartz of Orlando, who says that she can, “do this in my sleep,” to ensure that things run smoothly. Among the treats advertised to make the event special are gift bags for participants, scholarships to the TPI Academy for specific division winners, tennis bags, gift cards, and movie theater vouchers for other division winners.

According to event advertising, Pete Saladino of Prince will be onsite conducting seminars on equipment maximization and Danovizion will be providing access to photos and videos. Food and beverage vendors are slated to provide refreshments for players and spectators on the premises.

Events include divisions for boys and girls from 12 and under through 18 and under. The entry deadline is Wednesday, January 2nd, and players can review the event and  register online by clicking here. For additional information, please contact Molly at 407-394-6772 or  

Super Seniors at Colonial
Jeff Timmer
As is always the case in our community, the tennis never stops! If you’re 55 and over and male and want to test your skills, you may want to enter the USTA Florida-sanctioned West Coast Super Senior Designated Grand Prix 2013, hosted by Jeff Timmer and his staff at Colonial Country Club this coming January 7 – 13. This popular annual event begins the West Coast Grand Prix swing that includes several events in Southwest Florida, including venues in Cape Coral, Naples, and Sarasota.

Fred Drilling
Even if you don’t want to play, you may want to watch some of the best senior players in the world. Among the prominent locals who typically play the Super Senior Grand Prix Circuit are Fred Drilling, USTA Florida’s current Male Player of the Year, and current No.4 in the world in the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) Men’s 70 Singles Rankings; and Larry Turville, a former ITF World No.1 in Men’s 60 Singles, and current .No.1 in USTA Florida’s Men’s 60 Singles rankings.

Steve Shortridge
Other local favorites, with high USTA Florida Singles rankings, who typically play the Grand Prix Super Series include Steve Shortridge (No.7 Men’s 60 Singles),Larry Albritton (No.9 Men’s 65 Singles), Gordon Hammes (No.1 Men’s 75 Singles), and Neil McDonald (No.3 Men’s 80 Singles).

Larry Turville
For those who are strictly doubles aficionados, a number of locals are highly ranked in doubles as well. Those who have played the Super Seniors in the past include David Vaughan and Peter Redpath (No.1 in Men’s 55 Doubles), Larry Turville again (No.2 and No.9 in the 60s with different partners), Steve Shreiner and Howie Ames (No.4 in 60s), Joe McAleer and Spike Gonzalez (No. 2 Men’s 65 Doubles), and Mike Melnick and Larry Albritton (No.6 Men’s 65 Doubles)..

If you are north of 55, you might just get a kick and some inspiration from watching 80-year-olds play like you and I wish we could play! Players can review the event or register online by clicking here, or over the phone with a credit card (call Colonial Tennis Shop at 239-768-1334). The entry deadline is Monday, December 31st, at 6:00pm.

Happenings in Three Oaks Tennis
Pat Glaunert
If you read Robyn George’s News-Press column, or frequent the Lee County Community Tennis Association’s (LCCTA) website, then you know that Three Oaks Park has a new Director of Tennis. Pat Glaunert comes to us from Louisville, Kentucky where he was the Tennis Director at The Tennis Club at Springhurst and Top Gun Academy.

As noted in Robyn’s column, and per my conversation with Pat yesterday, the Three Oaks Shootout, a competitive intercollegiate event involving several Division I men’s tennis programs, will be held at the Barbara Manzo Tennis Center at Three Oaks Park, January 11 – 13. Stay tuned for more details of the event and get ready for plenty of college tennis that weekend.

FGCU Hosts Spring Invitational
Yes, if watching young guys smack tennis balls hard enough for them to explode is your cup of tea, or even if you’d like to see what Division I college tennis is all about, you can mosey on over to Three Oaks Park and Florid Gulf Coast University (FGCU), because FGCU’s Men’s Tennis Eagles are hosting their Spring Invitational the same weekend (click here for Spring Schedule).

Coach C.J. Weber
Those of you who read this blog might remember that FGCU’s Men’s Tennis Eagles hosted a Fall Invitational in September of this year and took both singles and doubles honors. Coach Weber tells me that the Spring Invitational isn’t as big a deal, but I suspect his guys will be trying to win nonetheless. The Eagles are really gearing up for their home opener on January 26th against Southern Methodist University (SU). That, I can tell you now, will be a HUGE deal! More on that next time around.

Ibitty, ibitty, ibitty, that’s all folks! If you don’t get that, then ask a parent, cuz you must be too young. That means happy holidays, and I’ll catch you in the New Year. Game, set, match…T. A.


  1. Lots of great information this issue. Hang in there. Andrea

  2. You weren't kidding, there really is no end to tennis in Fort Myers this season. Great coverage T.A.!