Monday, January 21, 2013

January & February Tennis in Greater Fort Myers

Things continue to hop around the courts (sort of like rock around the clock) in the Greater Fort Myers area. Buckle up and hold on, cause herrrrre weee gooooo!

Fort Myers Pro League 
Todd Wise & Kevin Kearns
First up on the tennis agenda is the Fort Myers Ritzman Tennis USPTA Pro League. The last stop at Heritage Palms featured terrific tennis and tremendous crowds as has been the case for a while now. 

Add caption
The next stop will be at Bonita Bay Club in Bonita Springs, on Friday, January 25, at 4:00pm. Yes, all matches are scheduled to be played at 4pm. 

John Ramsey & Christyn Lucas
At Bonita Bay, League-leading Remax, which has left the competition so far behind that everyone else is playing for second, will face third-place Johnny Malloy's.  Boston Retirement Advisers, which sits in second will take on last-place University Grill, and Babolat, which sits in fourth, will play fifth-place Gateway Dental.  

Spectators at 2012 Edison Classic
40 years! Not many events run for 40 years, but the Edison Classic will be celebrating its “Big Four-Oh” next month. I imagine the Edison Classic at Fort Myers Racquet Club has to hold the record for event-longevity in the area…certainly has to be in the running.

Lisa Yeslow & Doug Scratchley
2012 6.0 Mixed Finalists
In any event (pun totally intended), Singles and Mixed Doubles will be held February 1 - 3, and Men’s and Ladies Doubles will be played the following weekend, February 8 – 10. Players’ parties will be held on Saturday the 2nd and Saturday the 9th.

Mark Davis & Carly Carpenter
make it happen
This will be the first Edison Classic under the new Management of MAD Academy, and Mark and Carly are doing all they can to make this a memorable event for all participants. Remember, the courts have recently experienced a makeover, and so has the club interior. Probably worth playing just for those features!

You can register for the event by dropping by the Racquet Club (1700 Matthew Drive) or by calling Mark and Carly at 239-931-0015. Almost forgot, if there are any big hitters in town, there is prize money in the Open Divisions. Speaking of prize money, sponsorship opportunities are still available.

FGCU Men’s Tennis Extravaganza
FGCU fans enjoy the action
In addition to playing opportunities the weekend of the 1st, there will also be a spectacular viewing opportunity that weekend. Pardon the headline, but I didn’t know what else to call the meet that was formerly scheduled for Saturday, January 26.

FGCU Super Fan Tony Yates
A lot of work has gone into making Florida Gulf Coast University’s (FGCU) Men’s Tennis Eagles hosting of the Southern Methodist University (SMU) Mustangs on Saturday, February 2, at 6:00pm something special. I don’t want to use the “H” word that the car guy in Cape Coral uses, but with your support and the support of others in the tennis community, this event is going to be… uh…large? Big? Aw heck, HUGE!

More fans
Hospitality tents, supplemental bleachers brought in, refreshments, reserved and general admission seating, half-time contest, and attendance prize for the club or facility that has the most representatives in the crowd! I already used the other “H” word, so how about if I say it is going to be HUMONGOUS! That’s pretty bad too, isn’t it?

Gabe Echeverry receives congrats
from Athletic Director, Ken Kavenaugh
In all seriousness folks, we have a fledgling Division I tennis program in our backyard, a program that is beginning to taste success, and we have the ability to help generate the current on which the Eagles can soar to the heights they are capable of reaching. Your attendance on the 2nd would go a long way toward that end.  

Coach Weber figuring it out
As for the match itself, you would think that Coach C.J. Weber might do what some of the top football and basketball programs do: choose cupcake opponents for an early-season date. Well, that’s just not how Coach Weber rolls; he schedules SMU, a team that has played two top-30 schools this past week, downing a top-20 doubles team and a top-50 doubles team!

Eagles perch on fence in support
What does that mean for tennis fans? It means that there will be some fantastic tennis happening that night, because the Eagles will be rested up and ready to go after a tough road trip to Tallahassee, which saw them playing Florida State University (FSU), University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB), and Florida A&M University (FAMU), on consecutive days this weekend. I can’t even write that without being exhausted!

Gabe Echeverry
Just prior to the trip north, the Eagles hosted their Spring Invitational, where they claimed two titles (view recap here). While not as successful as their capture of both Singles and Doubles honors at their Fall Invitational in September 2012, the emergence of Gabe Echeverry (redshirt junior) 
Lance Lvovsky
as a singles force, and the continued doubles excellence of Lance Lvovsky (junior), who teamed with Dean Tsamas (junior) for the doubles win, bode well for an Eagles return to the Atlantic Sun Conference Championships this spring.

Dean Tsamas
You can be sure that I will be there on the 2nd and at as many of the other matches as I can make. It sure would be good to see the stands filled with enough fans to create a Davis-Cup-like atmosphere. Hope to see you there!

Add caption
As is the case in any legitimate tennis town, there is something for the junior as well. Alex Hermeto and Gateway Country Club will host a non-sanctioned, low pressure, rookie tournament for Boys and Girls, 12-through-16 and under. 

For those not familiar with the “rookie” designation, it means that the event is for players who are not seasoned tournament players, players who are still deciding whether they want to become tournament players, and players who are developing the competitive skills.

Players need to register by Thursday, January 31, and can do so by calling 230-561-1422 or by clicking here.  

Stan in foreground at
Grandezza Gives Back 2012
As I’m sure you can imagine the excitement continues the following weekend when The Club at Grandezza hosts their third annual “Grandezza Gives Back” tennis fundraiser on Sunday, Feb 10 with the proceeds benefiting the FGCU Men’s Tennis Team. 
Coach Weber welcomes fans at
In previous posts I have talked about Coach Weber’s attempts to have FGCU Men’s Tennis be an integral part of our tennis community, and the tennis fans at Grandezza have embraced FGCU’s tennis program and are fully on board the train that is picking up steam.

2012 pros Scott Harrington, Shawn Hedrick,
Jared Kalpin & Sergio Rebolledo
The event, sponsored by Monin, will consist of a doubles tournament with both men’s and women’s draws, from 2.5 – 4.5 ratings, followed by a pro exhibition at 2:00pm. Local favorites, including Scott Harrington, Eddie Nesse, Jim Katterfield and yours truly will be participating in the exhibition.

Entries for the tournament must be received by Wednesday, February 6, and even if you aren’t able to participate, your donations would certainly be welcome. The cost to participate is a mere $20, and you’ll have at least $1000 worth of fun and exercise. Please click here for complete details and entry form. If you have questions please call event organizer Rich DeSousa at 239-390-2017.

FineMark Classic at Bonita Bay Club
Just as you catch your breath from all that’s going on in our tennis world, Bonita Bay Club in Bonita Springs, along with a host of sponsors, will host and present the FineMark Tour Players Tennis Classic on February 22 & 23. The event is an important one, is such a benefit to those in need in the community, that I could spend a considerable amount of time and energy telling you about it.

But the event does a far better job than I ever could with its extensive website. Everything you could ever want to know about the FineMark Tour Players Tennis Classic is available by clicking here, or by cutting and pasting the following link into your web browser:

The bottom line, folks, is that this is a charity event which also allows you and me, the average fan, to play, dine, and hang out with players who have, at one time or another, been among the best tennis players on the planet!  Over the two days, participants will have the opportunity to watch some of the greats play a team match, will get the chance to have breakfast, lunch and dinner with the champs, and play with one of the legends in a Pro Am.

All proceeds from the FineMark are donated to Barbara's Friends Cancer Fund- The Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida, and will be doubled by the matching grant of Tom Golisano. Please visit the above website for additional information and to register for the event. You can also call 239-343-6950 for additional information.

As always, I'm sure there's much more happening, but that's all I have for now. Game, set, match...T. A.

No comments:

Post a Comment