|Photo courtesy of woodtennis.com|
|Photo courtesy of wanganuitennis.co.nz|
About the only thing that has stayed the same in tennis is the fact that the game is played with racquets, which hit balls over a net. How the game is played, how it is scored, how it is taught, and its role in the recreational lives of the billions on the planet all have changed…multiple times.
|Photo courtesy of Rappahannock YMCA|
|Mike Welter- Local Pickleball hero|
Those who know me know that I’m willing to try just about anything (right Dawg?), and so when Mike Welter, one of our local tennis team captains, and USTA Florida officials told me about the fun and success he was having playing Pickleball (he has won numerous gold and silver medals), I had to give that a try. I can report that Pickleball was a lot of fun, great exercise, and something I would do regularly if I had more time and energy on my hands.
Fun on Fort Myers Beach This weekend, I had the utmost pleasure of trying my hand at All-Volley Tennis in its original “Beach Tennis” guise on Fort Myers Beach. Being
|Eddie Neese & Sergio Rebolledo|
As talented as some of us believe we are on the tennis court, we were no match for those who play All-Volley Tennis professionally…or even recreationally. I happened to do well playing the “Fun” division singles, but when I
|T. A. & Diane Johannes|
Although the Pro singles matches were outstanding, particularly the women’s semifinals that I watched, singles is a bit of a sideshow to the main events. Men’s and women’s doubles are what the sport is about, what the ITF rankings are about, and the spectacular doubles action really stole the show.
For you tennis players, imagine the Bryan brothers and one of the other top doubles teams in the world, all at net smacking overheads, reflexing volleys, hitting dropshots, and lobs…all on the same point! That's what
|Niola Gambi & Alessandro Calbucci|
|Ruth & Richard Edelman of Gulf Harbour|
It was exhilarating and humbling, inspiring and depressing all once; after all, I’m well past being able to perform at anything at that level of expertise. Ah, but at least I can still appreciate it and that I did. I wasn’t the only one.
Rich and Ruth Edelman were on hand to watch their pros, Mike Curran, Frank Fourgeau, and Sergio Rebolledo test their skills. Sergio with Eddie Neese tried their hands against the All-Volley Pros, Mike and Frank took the sand against advanced All-Volleyers. Let's just say lessons were learned.
|Frank Fourgeau & Mike Curran of Gulf Harbour|
En route to the championship victory, Cappelletti and Strano took out top seeds Mateo Marighella (No.9) and Luca Meloconi (No.6) 7-6, 6-4 in the semis.
To reach the final, Calbucci and Gambi had to get past second-seeded Vinicius Font (No.12) and Alex Mingozzi (No.7) in three sets 6-3, 2-6, 6-3. In all, six of the men ranked in the top-ten participated in the event, and delivered world class entertainment that I hope returns next year.
In the women’s final, 2012 European Champions Simona Bonadonna and Eva D’Elia, both of Italy and co-ranked No.5 in the world,
rolled over the best Brazil had to offer in the team of Joana Cortez and Samantha Barijan, co-ranked No.7 in the world, 6-0, 6-2. Both teams had been coming off grueling semifinal matches.
Cortez and Barijan had all they could handle in the semis with Nadia Johnston (No.17) and Nicole Melch (No.15),
the only American team in the competition, finally prevailing 6-3, 2-6, 10-7. Bonnadonna and D’Elia had no cakewalk in their semi, surviving Tomomi Takahashi (No.14) and Manuela Amiard (No.269) of France 6-2, 1-6, 10-7.
Tournament Director and Beach Tennis USA President, Jim Lorenzo and his team,
|Jim Lorenzo- BTUSA President|
|JB on da J O B|
Local PerformersA few of our local pros, including yours truly, managed to represent Fort Myers well.
|Kerry & Scott Kendrick|
Frank Fourgeau and Corey Knapp won the Fun Division Men’s Doubles, and I won the Fun Division Men’s Singles.
According to Marc Altheim, Founder and CEO of All-Volley Tennis, Pat Glaunert of Three Oaks Tennis was the driving force behind the entire extravaganza. "Pat dragged my 'bleep' down here last February, and it was his vision and his drive that made this happen," he said.
|Pat Glaunert the Auctioneer|
|Pat shows Jason Sherman of Diamond |
district the ropes
With the incredible tennis community and weather that we have here, Fort Myers easily could be a hotbed for All-Volley Tennis, and even in poor weather indoors is an option.
|Lyn Bruner & Ron Treaseh |
check out action
In all seriousness folks, this was a serious and fun event. When you have most of the top athletes in the world in attendance for any event in a given sport, you know it’s serious. But even the pros
After speaking with Marc Altheim, Founder and CEO of AVT, I feel confident that we will see another “sportacular” All Volley/Beach Tennis event on Fort Myers Beach in 2014.
|Marc Altheim- AVT CEO|
By Altheim’s count, there were over 120 professionals and approximately 150 amateurs taking part in 29 divisions, the most amateur players ever to compete in an AVT event.
|Tony of Pagielli's|
Marc also attributed much of the event’s success to the locale: “The event venue (The Ft. Myers Beach Holiday Inn) was a major reason for the success of the event.
And finally, the AVT CEO acknowledged the cooperation of the folks, without whom, this special occasion would not have happened.
It's a Wrap
When the sun had set over the sand on Fort Myers Beach this past weekend, and the music had faded to the rhythm and sounds of sea surf, all who had participated, whether
spectator or player, could hardly question that our piece of paradise was the place to be this past weekend. You can view photos of the event by clicking here, click here for more information on All-Volley Tennis, and check out the International Tennis Federation website for more on professional Beach Tennis
Pro Men Doubles Winners: Niccolò Strano Michele Cappelletti
Pro Men Doubles Runner Ups: Alessandro Calbucci, Niola Gambi
Pro Women Doubles Winners: Eva D'Elia Simona Bonnadonna
Pro Women Doubles Runner Ups: Joann Cortez, Samantha Barijan
Pro Mixed Doubles Winners: Vinicius Font, Flavia Muniz
Pro Mixed Doubles Runner Ups: Olivier Samaran, Manuela Amiard
Pro Men Singles Winner: Diego Carneiro
Pro Men Singles Runner up: Jorge Penaluer
Pro Women Singles Winner: Pauline Bourdet
Pro Women Singles Runner Up: Ludivine Bodar
Advanced Men Doubles Winners: Bancho Mansur, John Goitia
Advanced Men Doubles Runner Ups: Sylvain Nicolas, Christophe Le Rasle
Advanced Women Doubles Winners: Ka Man Hui, Liesje Seraus
Advanced Women Doubles Runner Ups: Alma Torres, Nicole Iglesias
Advanced Mixed Doubles Winners: Pedro Ochoa, Nicole Iglesias
Advanced Mixed Doubles Runner Ups: Randolph Arends, Jennifer Peterson
Advanced Men Singles Winner: Julian Chung
Advanced Men Singles Runner up: Scott Worden
Advanced Women Singles Winner: Ka Men Hui
Advanced Women Singles Runner up: Maria Pucci
Fun Men Doubles Winners: Corey Knapp, Frank Forgeau
Fun Men Doubles Runner Ups: Gustavo Spapavecchia, Rogello Rodriguez
Fun Women Doubles Winners: Lucia Weaver, Tania Renno
Fun Women Doubles Runner Ups: Becky Crespo, Lesli Culver
Fun Mixed Doubles Winners: Edwin Hsing, Katja Kock
Fun Mixed Doubles Runner Ups: Antonio Pinto, Flavia Perieu
Fun Men Singles Winner: TA Niles
Fun Men Singles Runner up: Dan Young
Fun Women Singles Winner: Lesli Culver