Thursday, April 25, 2013


Once upon a time, the Bush Florida Open (now the USTA Regional Tournament Segment) was the biggest junior tournament in town, it was an event of national renown…but that was once upon a time. The upcoming Lee County CTA April (Designated) L5 Boys & Girls 16 at the Barbara Manzo Tennis Center at Three Oaks Park this weekend (27th - 29th) is going to give what once was the Florida Open a run for its money, especially since draw sizes have been limited to 32 for both.

The kids are coming from all over the State for this Lee County Community Tennis Association (LCCTA) event, as I’m sure they will for the Regional in July, but South Pasadena? I didn’t know there was a Pasadena in Florida. Is there a North Pasadena too? I looked and couldn’t find one. Actually South Pasadena is right up the road, a bit west of St. Pete. Ah, but I digress…

There are two things about this event that interest me other than the terrific talent that will be on display, and those are: 1) the draw sizes, and 2) how many of the 13 locals who applied actually made it into the draw. The USTA powers that be have determined that 32-draw events are better for tennis than 64-draw or 128 draw-events, which means that of the 142 applicants, only 64 (32 girls, 32 boys) will be playing this weekend.

Hmmm, I wonder if the 78 juniors who wanted to play, their parents and coaches will feel that limiting regional events to 32-draws is good for tennis. I wonder how our tennis community will feel about the fact that just seven of the 13 juniors who applied for the event will be playing this weekend. I wonder how local businesses, which once benefitted from large influxes of players and their families to the area for large-draw tourneys, feel about the 32-draw-limitation.

I suppose that limitation is likely to be pondered by many for some time, but what is most relevant right now is that there will be some terrific tennis being played at the Barbara Manzo Tennis Center at Three Oaks Park this weekend, and it would be good to support the event.

Thandiwe Kangwa
Photo courtesy of News-Press
The locals (rankings in parentheses) who made it into the draws include Thandiwe Kangwa (29), Fallon Burger (87), and Rebecca Morse (13) of Fort Myers; and Alyssa Mayo (102) of Naples in the girls draw.  The boys who made it in are Chase Burton (59), William Shisler (20), and Adam Sweet (25) of Naples.

Those who applied but won’t be playing this weekend include Victoria Emma (107) of Naples, Robert Greenlaw, and Jean Luis Perez of Cape Coral, John Carlin (74), and Eric Poland (93) of Fort Myers, and Jack Flagg (75) of Naples. Perhaps they will benefit from watching almost as much as they might have from playing. Game, set, match...T. A.

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