I don't like doing a post without pics, but I want you to have the opportunity to read this and make plans for a big day tomorrow. The USPTA Fast Dry & 10S Tennis Supply Grand Prix begins at The Landings and the National Small College Championships will conclude at Three Oaks Park tomorrow.
The Singles Draws are out for the Grand Prix, and they are small, but should be entertaining nonetheless. You can click here for tourney info.
If you came out for the action last year, you will see some familiar, talented faces in the Men’s Open (big hitters). Paulo Barros, the points leader in the Grand Prix Open Division will be there; so will Defending Champion Tye Myers, and Finalist Franco Mata. Jarrod Goare and Pro Leaguer Matt Maloney are among the other locals entered in the Open.
Cape Coral’s Erica Coissart is seeded No.1 in the Women’s 45 Division, the only women’s draw of the event. Erica will defend the title she won last year when she downed Carolyn Franca, then the top seed, in the final in straight sets. Carolyn is seeded two this time, so a rematch would be interesting if both won their semifinal matches. Erica will take the court at 11am on Sunday.
The Men’s 35 draw is also a small one with four players entered, and Pro League favorite, Luke Andreae will take on second-seeded Tony Schubert of Punta Gorda at noon. Also appearing at the noon hour will be Defending Champion and top seed Milos Vasovic, who will take on Mike Baldwin, the new Director of Tennis at Mediterra in Naples.
John Ramsey, Director of Tennis at Kelly Greens, is the most well-known of our locals playing in the Men’s 45s, and he will be facing stiff competition in his first match from Jeff Solomon of Cape Coral, who trounced me in a practice match last week. Big John plays at noon tomorrow as well.
Johan Saurbier of Naples is returning to fend off challengers to the crown he earned last year in a mega-scrape with Jack Steyn of Bradenton (11-9 in deciding set tiebreak). Steyn was seeded No.2 last year when he lost to Saurbier, and this year he is seeded No.1, with Johann seeded No.2.
Hmmm, it would be interesting to see the outcome if they met again. I’m not putting my money on that meeting though. With Solomon and an unknown (to me anyways) John Willits in the draw, getting to the final isn’t guaranteed to either of last year’s finalists.
My division, the Men’s 50s is also small, and I guess the seeding committee hasn’t seen me play lately, because I am seeded No.1. John Jerome of Naples and Wildcat Run, who barely broke a sweat in dispatching me in straight sets early this summer, and who reached the Round of 32 at the USTA 50 Nationals in Sarasota last week, is seeded No. 2.
John is scheduled to throw it up at noon against Carlos Triana of Bay Harbor Islands. My first match is at 2pm against Patricio Madariaga of Miami Beach, a player with whom I had a tough semifinal match in February, barely escaping 10-8 in the deciding set tiebreak.
The Men’s 60s Draw is loaded with locals. Steve Shortridge of Colonial is the No.2 seed behind Defending Champion Gewan Maharaj of Tampa, and he will take on Pelican Preserve’s Bob Green in his first match.
Charles “Van” Van Middleswort of Gateway will take on Clifford Vines of Nokomis, Florida and Mike Barnes of The Landings will face Stephen Hayden of Beavercreek, Ohio in his first match. I’ll keep my predictions to myself on this one, but I have a hunch…
That’s pretty much the whole shoot’n match folks until we get to doubles, which will probably begin on Sunday. If I emerge from the singles injury free, Erica and I plan to team up for some mixed.
Second Annual Pink & Blue
The real fun will be on Sunday, when Steph and I will have our mixed doubles debut in the Second Annual Pink & Blue charity event. We expect only to have a good time and to feel good about contributing to the chemotherapy chair drive for Lee Memorial’s Regional Cancer Center.
USTA/ITA Small College Championship
I’m not sure I want to mention this, because if you watch these players, then come to The Landings, the comparison will be like watching old films of McEnroe and Borg, then watching Rafa and Novak…ah, but what the heck…
Before you come out to the Landings, if you want to watch some smoking tennis, Three Oaks Tennis is still hosting the National Small College Championships. Tomorrow at 9:45am, eight (8) matches will go on to decide the Women’s and Men’s National Champions of four Intercollegiate Tennis Association divisions.
It should be interesting to observe the differences among Division II, III, NAIA, and JUCO (Junior Community College) levels of play. I went down to check out some of the doubles finals this afternoon, and I will be heading back in the morning, because those youngsters can flat out play tennis! If you want to know more about the ITA, click here. You can take a look at the draws by clicking here.
When you pull into Barbara Manzo Tennis Center at Three Oaks Park and see the hundreds of players, coaches, and spectators, you are likely to develop (if you don't already have it) a very high degree of respect for Lyn Bruner, Pat Glaunert, Angie Guillette and their staff, as well as the volunteers who helped make the event happen.
Lyn, Lee County Community Tennis Association Executive Director and Tournament Director has been impressing me for years, and Pat and Angie have been impressing me in the short time they have been here, but I was blown away by the quality of the VIP gathering Three Oaks hosted on Wednesday evening. A lot of hungry people were fed, and the speeches were short. Can’t beat that!
In any event, get on down there if you have the time. Supporting a major college event like this in our backyard will say something to the tennis world about our community, and it would reward the Three Oaks Staff and volunteers for their job well done! We’ll see you there in the a.m. Game, set, match…T. A.