Wednesday, January 30, 2013

More February Tennis in the Greater Fort Myers Area

As is usually the case, the list of tennis activities has grown since my last post about what's happening in tennis locally. If you have relatives and friends who enjoy tennis but live somewhere else, I would suggest you spread the word about the fantastic, tennis-packed environment we have here in Southwest Florida. Just about every  weekend, there is some tennis-related event or activity in which tennis lovers of all levels can participate or watch.

Edison Classic
This weekend, February 2 – 3, you and your children or grandkids can play and watch as well. The former you can do at Fort Myers Racquet Club whether you are a 2.5 or Open player. That’s right, the 40th edition of the Edison will get underway this weekend with singles and mixed doubles play. 
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. And don’t forget, there is prize money in the Open Divisions.

Junior Events at Gateway & Three Oaks
If the kids and/or grandkids are itching to get competitive on the court, there are two opportunities for them this weekend. Gateway Golf and Country Club is hosting a rookie tournament for those who aren’t seasoned tournament players, and the Lee County Community Tennis Association (LCCTA) is holding a USTA Florida tournament at the Barbara Manzo Tennis Center at Three Oaks Park. Both events are for boys and girls, ages 12 and under through 16 and under. 

The deadline for the Gateway event is Thursday, so call Alex Hermeto (239-561-1422) today or tomorrow for info and entry. Today is the last day to register for the LCCTA event and you can do so online by clicking here or going to USTA Florida’s tennis link and using 150050113 as the tournament ID. .

FGCU Tennis Hosts Troy & SMU
As for tennis-watching the first weekend in February, there will be some tremendous tennis action for you as well. Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) Men’s Tennis will be showcasing its talent both Friday and Saturday. 
On Friday the 1st, the men in blue and green will host Troy University of the Sun Belt Conference at 1pm, and on Saturday at 6pm, the big show continues when the Mustangs of Southern Methodist University come to town.

If you can’t make both, Coach C.J. Weber is hoping for a big turn out Saturday evening. I’m told extra bleachers are being brought in and refreshments will be on hand for purchase. Both Troy and SMU have faced top-50 schools over the past couple of weeks and should provide serious competition for our Eagles this weekend. Hope to see you there! In case you haven’t been there, FGCU’s campus is just south of Florida Gulf Coast Town Center on the east side of Ben Hill Griffin Parkway. Get directions here.

Grandezza Gives Back
Freda Levin & Deb Grazianni at 2012
Grandezza Gives Back
(photos courtesy of
Rich DeSousa)
And as you might expect, the following weekend, specifically Sunday February 10, there’s much more tennis to be had. As detailed in the last blog post, the Third Annual Grandezza Gives Back event is an opportunity for you to play AND watch. 
Tennis Director Lanny Kalpin and his members host a benefit doubles tournament for men and women rated 2.5 through 4.5, and a doubles exhibition of local pros will also be held after play is completed.

Fiddlesticks Annual Bobby Nichols Tennis Event 
Jeff Diggs & event participants
photos courtesy of Kathy of Fiddlesticks)
If you haven’t already overdosed on tennis by mid-February, there’s more! This time Fiddlesticks Country Club and Tennis Director Jeff Diggs and his staff are carrying the baton, and once again the event is about more than just a great time…which Jeff guarantees you will have. 
On Friday and Saturday, February 15 & 16, the Bobby Nichols-Fiddlesticks Charity Foundation, which has raised a total of $4,687,100 for worthy causes, will host its 5th Annual Tennis Tournament and Kids for Kids Walk-a-Thon.

The activities begin on Friday, with a fun, round robin junior tournament from 4 – 7pm. In addition to round robin play, for the $20 entry, the kids receive snacks, prizes, goodie bags, and awards. 
On Saturday, the Walk-a-Thon begins at 1pm, with games and prizes beginning at 1:30pm. Think the kids will enjoy the bounce house, the climbing wall, face-and-nail-painting, balloon tossing, tennis, pizza, hotdogs, and more? I think so.

Jesse Witten
(photo courtesy of
Whether or not you can make it to the Walk-a-Thon on Saturday, kids and adults can enjoy a high-level exhibition from 4 – 6pm, featuring touring pro Jesse Witten (played at Wimbledon and French Open in 2010), 
Tyler Owens
Jicham Zaatini (former Davis Cup player for Venezuela), former FGCU standout, Jose Pastrella, and local Pro League favorite, Tyler Owens. 

Every great event has its culminating celebration, and there will be a celebration dinner at the Fiddlesticks Clubhouse at 6:30pm.  Food, drinks, music and an overall good time awaits. Grab a few friends and enjoy the Fiddlesticks hospitality while doing civic good. 

The bottom line is that this event is a major good time for all involved, and even more important, it is for a tremendous cause. Last year, the event raised $60,000 for the Children’s Advocacy Center, Abuse Counseling & Treatment, and Blessings in a Backpack, and the Foundation, which continues to be a force for good in our community, hopes to better that this year.

FineMark Bank
Major sponsors for the tennis portion of the Fiddlesticks event include FineMark National Bank & Trust, Howard & Suzanne Moss, and the Sunday Funday Group. For a complete list of event sponsors and more info about the Bobby Nichols Foundation, please click here. To participate or find out more, please call Kathy at 239-768-6439.

FineMark Classic at Bonita Bay 
Speaking of FineMark, the tennis climax of February is certain to be the FineMark Tour Players Classic to be held at Bonita Bay Club on Saturday and Sunday, February 22nd and 23rd. I have already detailed the good time to be had at this event in a previous post, and the event has a comprehensive website with all the information you could ever want about the happenings at Bonita Bay that weekend.

The short month of February is long on tennis for those of us who love the game, and I am already getting intel that suggests March is going to be pretty hot as well! The buzz is that something big is happening at Cascades in Estero in Early March, but I’ll get to that in my March preview next month. Enjoy the tennis! Game, set, match…T. A.

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