Monday, January 7, 2013

TPI Clay Court New Years Level 7 at Park Meadow Recap

The older I get, and the more I observe, the more I appreciate it when people try to do things the right way. Although I don’t have a ton of data to analyze, what I have witnessed thus far suggests
Leo Montano, Pete Saladino,
& Rone Montano
that Rone and Leo Montano of Tennis Performance International (TPI) are really trying to do things right with their junior academy at Park Meadow Tennis Center (PMTC).

If you haven’t visited Park Meadow recently, When Oliver Stenger brought in the Montano brothers, he initiated a change that has made PMTC a better place to play tennis. I haven’t been there much lately, but the facility itself has been enhanced.

Annie & Ryan Ziegler
With every gain some loss can be expected, and I suspect that the “Cheers” atmosphere that once characterized PMTC is on the wane. Although I cherished that atmosphere when I had the opportunity to experience it, I imagine that the facility upgrade is a plus for Oliver’s members, and the league players who play at PMTC.

Ian Ziegler & Leo Montano
This weekend, PMTC and TPI hosted the 2013 Clay Court New Year’s Level 7 tournament, and it was an example of the Montanos doing all they could to do things right. Pre-tourney promotion? Well, Robyn George of the News-Press (love the new look, by the way) mentioned the event in her column, the Montanos made sure that I featured it in my blog, and flyers were distributed. Check. 

Molly Schwartz
Bringing in seasoned tournament staff? Check: Molly Schwartz who in her words has done, “hundreds of tournaments,” was on hand to ensure that 
Lyn Bruner & Jesse Schwartz
all went according to plan with the tournament draws, and I believe she was very successful.  Not that she needed it, but she did have some help with that from hubby Jesse Schwartz, so no surprise things flowed well.

Volunteer Cindy Cheslosky
Lining up volunteers? Check: Cindy Cheslosky, Beth Shears, Lyn Bruner, Tom Heller, Pedro and Beth Gedde, and Andrea Trank all gave generously of their time and energy to create as positive an experience for the participants and the 
Volunteer Tom Heller
parents who are always captive at the tournament sites.

Providing a variety of amenities and activities? Check. They had food and drinks on hand for the players; they had Orlando Bracamonte on site to deliver a motivational talk; 
Orlando Bracamonte & Rone Montano
and they conducted raffles, and giveaways. In fact, about the only thing the Montanos didn’t and couldn’t do was manufacture enough parking…Oh, they didn’t walk on water either. They did, however, foster an environment that was positive for all involved.

IN addition to the volunteers and participants, TPI's Rone and Leo wanted to send out a note of thanks to a number of entities that contributed to making the tournament a success. They include:
Pete Saladino of Prince Sports
Prince Sports, Danovision, Virleyn Paints & Designs, Firehouse Subs, Beth Shears, Sports Authority, Trophy Case of Fort Myers, Super T Shirts, Lyn Bruner and the LCCTA, Robyn George of the News-Press, and Orlando Bracamonte. 

And now to the tennis, which is what it's all about...
Boys’ 12s
Alex Bernard
The largest draw of the event featured some very talented young players. Alexander Bernard of Naples came into the event as the top seed, and until the final, there was no reason to think that he wouldn’t uphold that seeding throughout.

Ryan Talano
Alex lost just four games in his first three matches, including a 6-1, 6-0 defeat of third-seed Ryan Talano of Naples. On the other half of the draw, unseeded Ryan Sherwood of Venice cruised into the final without dropping a set, including a 6-2, 6-3-upset of the No.2 Seed, Martin Badov of Fort Myers in the second round.

It appeared that Sherwood would waltz to the victory after downing Bernard 6-1 in the first set, but Alex showed that he was made of sturdy stuff, taking the second set 6-4. But it would be Ryan’s day in the end, as he took the super-breaker 10-4.

Girls’ 12s
Marina Lombard
In the Girls 12s, Marina Lombard of Fort Myers was the top seed, and after her first match, in which she defeated 
Alegra D’Alessandro of Marco Island 6-0, 6-0, that seeding looked appropriate. However, in her next match she ran into fourth-seeded Alexandra Vagramov of Port Moody, British Columbia and Vagramov was the one to advance to the final with a 6-0, 6-1 victory.

Nikki Perrino
Second-seeded Nikki Perrino of Naples had a good first match as well, downing Kassandra Di Staulo of Weston 6-2, 6-1, she, too, faced an insurmountable challenge in her second match. In her semifinal match, Nikki faced unseeded Zaneta Malinovic of Burr Ridge, Illinois, and Malinovic took the match 6-0, 6-1

Zaneta did lose more games in the final against Alexandra than she did in any other match, but that wasn’t saying much. She won her first three matches by 6-0, 6-1 scores, and won the final 6-1, 6-1. There has to be some good tennis instruction in Burr Ridge, IL!

Boys’ 14s
Ian Ziegler
The Boys’ 14s division was guaranteed a hometown winner when top-seed Max Garramone and No.2 Seed Ian Ziegler, both of Fort Myers, reached the final. Max had a bye in the first round and met Logan Glock of Fort Myers in the semis, beating him 6-2, 6-3.

Max Garramone
According to Ian’s dad John, “He really was on a mission this weekend with it being TPI’s first tourney he wanted to win really badly.” The mission was obvious when he played his first two matches and dropped not a single game, serving up double bagels to David Triscari of Cape Coral and to Zach Schiller of Naples. The final was a different experience for Ian (no bagels were served), but he took the championship anyway, winning 6-1, 6-3.

Girls’ 14s
A small draw in the Girls’ 14s pitted one player from Fort Myers: top-seeded Emma Scott; two from Naples: Caroline Cook and Dominique Gay; and one from Bradenton: Laetitia Pulchartová. When all was said and Done, Emma kept the trophy at home, downing Cook, 6-1, 6-1 in the semis, and Pulchartová 6-2, 6-2 in the final.

Unseeded Karley Borras of Bradenton emerged victorious in second largest draw of the tournament.  Her path to the final was relatively easy compared to the journey traveled by Finalist Sydney Nowak of Fort Myers.

Fallon Burger & Karley Borras
Borras began the event with two 6-2, 6-0 victories over Alyssa Mayo and Gabrielle Graziani, both of Naples. She then encountered No.2 Seed Fallon Burger of Fort Myers, and defeated Burger, who hadn’t yet played a match due to a bye and player withdrawal, 6-3, 6-3.

Nowak, on the other hand, had a stiff test from Kaeli Smashey of Hollywood in her first match, winning it 6-4, 6-4. After a relatively easy win in the following round, she had to survive a thriller in the semis, edging No.1 Seed Taylor Conti of Jupiter, 6-1, 6-7, 10-6 in the super-tiebreak. Perhaps the semis took its toll on Nowak, because Borras won it 6-4, 6-3.

Boys’ 16s
Zach Blythe
Unseeded Zach Blythe of Fort Myers had a relatively easy path to the final, eliminating George Diggs of Cape Coral 6-0, 6-1 and second-seeded Robert Greenlaw, also of Cape Coral, 6-3, 6-2.

Brandon Wortkotter
After a first-round bye, No.1 Seed Brandon Wortkotter of Fort Myers took care of business in his first match in the quarters against Jean Luis Perez of Cape Coral, winning 6-0, 6-1. 
Peter Lohrbach
Brandon had to pull a Houdini act in the semis to escape unseeded Peter Lohrbach of North Port, 5-7, 6-1, 10-2.

The struggle that Brandon navigated, took its toll in the final. Zach got off to a 6-4 lead, but Brandon fought back to take the second set 6-3. 
Zach Blythe
Battling cramps and a determined Zach Blythe, was too much for Brandon, and Zach emerged triumphant.

Girls’ 18s
Ja'cara Gillis
Ja’cara Gillis of Fort Myers downed Sophia Perez of Naples 6-0, 6-0, then upended Chandler Novoa of Fort Myers 6-3, 6-4 in the round robin Girls’ 18s draw. Novoa had beaten Perez 6-0, 6-1 earlier in the competition. 

In the end, the inaugural event was a successful one, and hopefully it will be a New Year's tradition for years to come! 

Bloggers note: My apologies for not knowing some of the players and forgive me if any of the captions are incorrect. Please don't hesitate to correct me or enlighten me. You can view additional pictures I've taken here, and you can review Danovision's professional photos to download here.


  1. TPI is very honored to have such a great partnership with T.A. Niles. T.A. is all about our local tennis community so he dedicates his free time to go around supporting players, coaches, parents, fans and anyone that is interested in tennis. His reports are awesome and the information on his blog is great. T.A. also features great tennis action pictures. Follow his blog and pass it along to others so everyone can enjoy T.A.'s blog. T.A. MANY THANKS for giving so much to our tennis family. You are a true ambassador of the sport and we love to have you with us!!

  2. What a great event and a wonderful write up. Kudos to Rone and Leo and T.A. I was excited to play a small part.