Thursday, November 28, 2013


The second engagement of the Southwest Florida was at Pelican Landing on Friday, November 15. As nice a facility as Pelican Landing is, I suspect it may be the last Pro League session at that site. Skipping the details, there are certain things that are expected at a Pro League site, and those things just weren’t there at our last Pro League date.
Be that as it may, the action was every bit as dramatic as usual, with six of the 10 matches played ending in a third set or deciding-set tiebreak. ProGraphx, (PG) my team led by Mike Curran, went into that session with a two-point lead over Luke Andreae’s Harborside Dental (HD), and is still in the lead, but by one point. 

Boston Retirement Advisors (BRA), with Frank Fourgeau at the helm, held onto third place, maintaining the 2 ½ point lead over Sergio Rebolledo’s Johnny Malloy’s (JM) that it held coming in.

ProGraphx (PG) vs. Harborside Dental (HD)

Court 1
After taking the first set 6-3, Mike Curran and Manuel Encalada dropped the second (3-6) against Jared Kalpin and Shawn Hedrick, but they came out strong in the third and dished up a bagel to claim two points for PG.

Court 2
In the longest match of the evening, Elliott DeBolt and Jimmy Martineau scored two points for HD, edging Patrick Kangwa and me 6-4, 5-7, 7-6, Listen, losing never really feels good, but facing the kind of firepower those talented youths brought to the table, I feel ok about getting a point for the team, especially since Jimmy had won on Court 1 the previous time out. I’m sure Elliott and Jimmy were happy to escape with two points for HD.

Court 3
Todd Wise and Matt Maloney are likely to make a run at an undefeated season if they stay at Court 3 for PG. John Jerome and Mike Stevens (sub) gave them a run for their money in the second set (6-7) after dropping the first set 3-6. It was the second consecutive session that Mike fell to Todd and Matt, and second consecutive two-point outing for Todd and Matt.

Court 4
HD picked up two points when Mike Lawver and Jeff Timmer rolled over Pat Glaunert and Larry Albritton in straight sets (6-2, 6-1). It was Pat and Larry’s first time on court together, and it showed against the seasoned team of Lawver and Timmer.

Mixed Doubles
Carolyn Lawver stepped in for Angie Guillette to play with Terry See for PG, and they ran into the tough team of Kim Jones and John Ramsey. Carolyn and Terry the first set 6-3, but Kim and John bounced back to take the second set 6-4, and the deciding-set tiebreak 10-8, scoring two points for HD, to one for PG.

Boston Retirement Advisors (BRA) vs. Johnny Malloy’s (JM)

Court 1
Captain Sergio Rebolledo and Ryan Sherry handed Denny Rager and Scott Harrington their second loss of the fledgling season, posting two points for JM with their 6-4, 6-2 victory. This was another case of youth prevailing over experience, and the twenty-somethings proved too much for the 40-odds.

Court 2
BRA Captain Frank Fourgeau and Corey Knapp needed three sets to put Joel Hampton and Jeff Solomon to rest, but put em to rest they did. After losing the first set 1-6, Frank and Corey awoke to even the match with a 6-1 set of their own. They earned the 2-1 points edge with a 6-4 third-set victory.

Court 3
JM took a hard-fought victory on Court 3, with Jeff Diggs and Rick Calton outlasting Mike Barnes and Larry Gagnon 6-1, 4-6, 10-8. The youth over experience theme continued in this one as Larry and Mike spotted Jeff and Rick a couple of decades. 

Knowing Mike and Larry, I know they were not happy with that one point they posted for BRA. Jeff and Rick had to breathe a sigh of relief after claiming the two points for JM.

Court 4
BRA picked up 1.5 more points when USPTA District 14 President Alex Hermeto teamed with Marius Espeleta (sub) to down Armor Persons and Mark Drons in straight sets (6-4, 6-3). It was the second week in a row that Armor had stepped up in vain from his mixed doubles position to fill in for an absent Court 4 player.

Mixed Doubles
Kerry Kendrick and Steve Shortridge posted 1.5 points (.5 point penalty for uniform violation) for BRA, winning for the second consecutive engagement. Again it was a tough battle, this time with Erica Cossairt and Bob Green. Erica and Bob started strong, taking the first set 6-2, but Kerry and Steve roared back to take the second 6-1 and closed it out 10-6 in the tiebreak.

Next Week
The League next heads to Fiddlesticks on Friday, December 6. Mixed Doubles will be played at 3pm, Courts 3 & 4 at 4pm and Courts 1 & 2 at 5:30pm. First-place ProGraphx (14 points) will take on third-place Boston Retirement Advisors (10.5 points), and second-place Harborside Dental (13 points) will face fourth-place Johnny Malloy’s (8 points). If all the players show up for this event, it should be another humdinger of a Friday evening at Fiddlesticks. Game, set, match...T. A.

T. A.'s tennis gear supplied by Tennis R Us


When there’s so much to think and talk about it’s tough to know where to begin in recapping the 33rd Annual Naples-Fort Myers Challenge! Do we start with the much deserved kudos to Paula Scheb and her Bonita Bay Club staff? Do we start with the incredible volunteer effort of the Bonita Bay tennis members? Or should we go with the upset victory posted by Fort Myers, only the third in 33 years?
Lucas Vaz
Perhaps we should start with the contributions of FGCU’s Women’s and Men’s Tennis programs, especially the event-clinching victory in Open Doubles by birthday boy, freshman Lucas Vaz and senior Jordi Vives. Perhaps the women should get top billing, because they went 2-0 while the men went 1-2 in the competition. 

Those two wins equaled Fort Myers’ margin of victory (12-10), and they came when the Means sisters, 
Means sisters post a win
Elizabeth and Sara, won their Open doubles match, and Women’s Head Coach Courtney Vernon won her Open Singles match. Pardon my enthusiasm for the FGCU program, but it is warranted given all the things happening with those programs.
Breckenridge members in attendance
The folks at Bonita Bay must agree with me because proceeds of the Naples-Fort Myers Challenge will benefit the Athletic Department’s efforts to erect bleachers adjacent to the tennis courts. I look forward to the day when those bleachers are completely filled and it’s standing room only at the courts for an NCAA Tournament quarterfinal or something.
Paula Scheb
As tremendous as the FGCU story is, I think the amazing job done by Paula Scheb and all of the people to whom she awards credit is really the story here. I have been playing tennis tournaments and events for almost four decades, and there isn’t one that I would consider better orchestrated than the Naples-Fort Myers Challenge.
From the well-organized, friendly registration process, the flat screen live-scoring monitors, the outstanding competition, through the delicious meal donated by Carrabbas (of course everyone had at least seconds), the 2013 Naples-Fort Myers Challenge was a top-notch event!
Captain Timmer in background 
Of course kudos also must go to Fort Myers Captain Jeff Timmer of Colonial and Naples Captain Pete Minarich of Pelican Marsh, both of whom do the tedious work behind the scenes to get the teams together to play the event. But how does Paula do it? The event just keeps getting better year after year.
Bonita Bay volunteers
Paula always gives the credit to her team, and she expressed tons of appreciation for the job the volunteers did. She credited individuals like Lee O’Daniel, Phil Otero, Pater Paul, Ken Mack, Dennis Kozlowski, Charlie Cavaliere, John Pinti, and Maggie Otero for the various areas they headed, including things like registration, score-keeping, parking, publicity, etc. The initial volunteer count was supposed to be 40, but they ended up with 58! What an effort!
The event was billed as, “a team competition between the best tennis players of Lee County against the best of Collier County,” and of course that can be debated. However, on the Naples team, there were a number of former college and challenger tour players, a former Davis Cup player (Jicham Zatini), and a former Wimbledon Doubles Champion JoAnne Russell.
The Fort Myers side of the ledger didn’t lookd nearly as impressive on paper, even with a former ITF World No.1 in Men’s 65 (Fred Drilling), a player (Mike Barnes) who was a collegiate All American with ATP Tour wins over former top-ten players, a former Davis Cup Coach (Larry Gagnon), several FGCU standouts, and tournament host Paula Scheb. Fortunately, the matches aren't played on paper!
Bonita Bay volunteers
It was a close competition all the way through, with eight of the 22 matches concluding in deciding-set tiebreaks, including the clinching climax which featured FGCU’s Vaz and Vives downing FGCU Alum Jose Pastrello and Tyler Manring 10-7 in the deciding set tiebreak.
FGCU Women's Head Coach
Unlike last year’s Challenge, where Naples took seven of the nine deciding-set tiebreaks played, Fort Myers took half of the eight played this time around. Paula and Bonita Bay Head 

Pro Holly Chomyn did their part, winning the Women’s 45 Doubles 10-3 in the deciding-set tiebreak. FGCU’s Women’s Tennis Coach, Courtney Vernon, notched a big one for the winning team, edging her opponent 10-6 in their decider.
There was so much to gush about at this event, that I’m sure Presenting Sponsor Tony Ritzman of Ritzman Tennis was thrilled with his affiliation, and no doubt the other sponsors were as well. Those sponsors included Carrabbas of Bonita Springs; Carlos Amaris & Kay L. Andrews, AVP Merrill Lynch Wealth Management; Five County Insurance; Kriz Physical Therapy, P.A.; and Page & Tuttle.
Spectator Virgil Graves
Late as this report is, I guess it is appropriate because loads of gratitude should be offered up to the folks at Bonita Bay, the sponsors, the players, team captains, Steph our photographer, and to all of the spectators who helped raise approximately $2500 toward erecting court-side bleachers for FGCU tennis matches. Thanks all, and I look forward to another successful collaboration on the 34th Annual Naples-Fort Myers Challenge in 2014. 

The next Bonita Bay tennis extravaganza that you won't want to miss is the FineMark Tour Players Tennis Classic, February 28 - March 1. This celebrity-filled event features current and former ATP and WTA players, and you can join them in raising funds for the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.

A special note to Fort Myers Captain Jeff Timmer: Of course we’d like you back Jeff, but if this was your fare thee well, thanks for all you have done to make the Challenge what it is. You can see additional photos of the event by clicking here. Game, set, match…T. A.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


FGCU Eagle Tennis Fans:

It’s great to be back in touch with everybody, and this email is to catch you up on everything that’s happened so far this fall, and gear us up for another exciting spring season starting this January!

What a fall season your FGCU Men’s Tennis Team had!!! This fall will probably go down as one of the most successful and historic ones we’ve had to date. With the toughest fall schedule we’ve had since my arrival in September 2011, we were able to take home 4 titles on the year…that’s right, 4!!! As a team, we had our best result ever at the Bedford Cup, as well as the ITA Regionals! Gabriel Echeverry took home title #1 for the Eagles at the Georgia Southern Championships at the beginning of October! We defended our 2 titles at our home invitational at the end of October with Jordi defending his singles title, and Bao defending his doubles title! This year, Jordi and Bao met in the singles final, guaranteeing an FGCU championship before the final was even played. And Bao teamed up with Jordi to defend his doubles title that he secured with Lance Lvovsky last year! And finally, with the most impressive result in FGCU Division I history to date, Jordi won the Dick Vitale/Lakewood Ranch Intercollegiate Clay Court Classic! This is considered one of the toughest college tournaments of the fall, and this year, it boasted a draw of 6 nationally ranked players, along with representation from 8 nationally ranked teams. This title for FGCU and Jordi will certainly secure FGCU its first national singles ranking, which will come out in January!

Below is a blog written by TA Niles about the team’s run at the Clay Court Classic, as well as a link to our website, so you can get caught up on all FGCU Men’s Tennis news. Please refer to TA’s blog to find several articles written on your FGCU Eagles throughout this fall, as well as other tennis information in the southwest Florida area!

Looking forward to seeing everybody out at the matches this spring. We have a very challenging spring schedule, so we will certainly need the support of our most loyal tennis fan base here in southwest Florida! Also, be sure to check us out at the Ft Myers/Naples Challenge at the Bonita Bay Club in Bonita Springs this Saturday. All FGCU players will be competing at 3:30 pm, and this is an incredible event to support, as it boasts all the area’s best talent from Ft Myers and Naples!

Thank you…and GO EAGLES!!!
C. J. Weber
Head Men’s Tennis Coach|  
Florida Gulf Coast University

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


The 2013 Lakewood Ranch Dick Vitale Intercollegiate Clay Court Classic was as fine a collegiate tennis event as you will find in Southwest Florida. The event was loaded with tennis talent from 10 men’s and nine women’s Division I college programs. 

Dick Vitale and ball kids
Men’s powerhouses included defending National Champion Virginia and University of Florida, the former delivering the event’s second seed, the latter providing the tournament’s top and third seeds.
UF's Brianna Morgan
On the women’s side of things, the programs that participated were among some of the most talent laden in the country as well, with the University of Florida, the Finalist from the 2013 National Championship, headlining the draw. 

In fact, four of the participating programs, including Vanderbilt (19), Notre Dame (23) and Auburn (25) are among the teams that finished the 2012-13 season in the top 25. 
Ben Friendly, co-Tournament Director
It wasn’t just the quality of the field that made the event first class however. Tournament Director Ben Friendly and the Lakewood Ranch staff made sure matches went out on time, courts were in  
Dick Vitale with Chris Marquez
co-Tournament Director 
great shape, and food and entertainment were thrown into the bargain for the players and guests. If that wasn’t enough, Lakewood Ranch families housed players, and Dick Vitale was on hand to do his thing. Really good stuff!

The development of the women’s draw was not too surprising, as perennial NCAA power Florida put four players in the semifinals, guaranteeing a Gator triumph in the event. 

Olivia Janowicz
Photo courtesy of
Notre Dame had two of the eight seeds in the event, but both the top-seeded and third-seeded ND players fell in their first round matches. In the end, Gator senior Olivia Janowicz, seeded four, downed sophomore Brianna Morgan, seeded two, in three sets (6-2, 5-7, 7-5) to claim the women’s title. 
UF's No.3 Seed Florent Diep
The men’s draw proved to be an entirely different story as two unseeded players reached the Final.There were players from four programs that finished in the top 20 in the country after the 2012-13 season, including NCAA Champion University of Virginia (UVA), No.7 Duke, Florida (16), and University of Memphis (20). 

Coach Weber & the Eagles
Not surprising, six of the eight men’s seeds were from the above programs. Our Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) was not among the ranked teams and had no players seeded. So how did our FGCU Eagles do?
Gabe Echeverry
In the first round, FGCU senior Gabe Echeverry ran into top-seeded Gator Stephane Piro, a senior who played the top three positions for the Gators in dual matches in 2012-13. After Gabe battled hard in a tough, losing first set (4-6), the top seed rolled to a 6-1 second. 

Piro was upset in the second round (2,1) by Duke junior Jason Tahir, a player who posted a 30-5 singles record (9-1 in ACC play) in 2012-13. Gabe did post a gutsy consolation win against Minnesota junior Jack Hamburg, 6-7, 7-5, 10-7. 
Tianyu Bao
Eagle junior Tianyu Bao encountered eighth-seeded senior Johnny Grimal of Conference USA Champion Memphis, in his first round match, and dropped the contest 3-6, 5-7. Grimal then fell to Duke’s Tahir in the quarters in straight sets. 
Bao played on in the back draw and played a terrific consolation semifinal against eventual consolation winner North Florida’s British freshman Jack Fidel-Hawkins, dropping that heartbreaker in a deciding set tiebreak 6-4, 3-6, 7-10.

Chris Perrigan
Redshirt freshman Chris Perrigan started slowly (0-6) in his first match against eventual Finalist, junior Zack McCourt of Princeton, but picked it up in the second set, dropping that one 4-6. 
Chris raised his game in his first consolation match, winning that battle against redshirt freshman Jarryd Woog of Memphis 6-4, 2-6, 10-8, but struggled in his next match, losing to Minnesota Junior Mathieu Froment of France, 1-6, 2-6.
Dean Tsamas
FGCU senior Dean Tsamas was under the weather and it showed in his losing effort (1-6, 2-6) against David O’Leary, a senior for Memphis. Dean passed up his opportunity to participate in the back draw due to his ailing state. Eagle senior Lance Lvovsky didn’t bring his best tennis to the court in his first match and lost to No.7 Seed, Bruno Semenzato of Duke, a sophomore who has already attained ATP ranking points. Lance passed on consolation as well.

Lucas Vaz
New Eagle, freshman Lucas Vaz played well against Arizona senior Fred Ask, the fifth-seed, but fell to the eventual quarterfinalist, 2-6, 4-6, and didn’t advance past his first consolation match.
If you know anything about the FGCU Eagles, you have probably noticed the conspicuous absence of any mention of junior Jordi Vives, the Eagles 
Jordi gets pre-Final pep talk from Coach Weber
No.1 player, and the winner of the recent FGCU Fall Invitational. That absence is because in this instance I have been saving the best for last.  
After reaching the quarterfinals of the USTA/ITA Regional Championships against stiff competition, and winning FGCU’s Fall Invitational last month,Jordi, FGCU’s top singles player, entered the Vitale Classic in control of his game and brimming with confidence. 

 He was also unseeded. But seeds are meant to be planted aren’t they? And that’s precisely what happened to all of the seeds in this tourney by the time the Final was set. Jordi bounced Leandro Toledo, the fourth seed, in three sets (6-4, 1-6, 6-4) in Round 2, after downing one of University of North Florida’s talented freshmen 6-3, 7-6 in the first round.
Jordi downs Corinteli
In the quarters, Jordi carved and sliced up Virginia’s sixth-seeded freshman, Luca Corinteli, 6-0, 6-3. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a forehand slice winner in men’s intercollegiate tennis with both players at the baseline, but that is exactly what I saw while watching Jordi play his quarterfinal match against Corinteli.
Slice & dice
I guess when the tennis court is to you like canvas to Picasso, when you have Houdini hands, and wield your racquet like a skilled neurosurgeon wields his scalpel, well, your name must be Jordi Vives and you can hit forehand slice winners from the baseline.  
Duke's Jason Tahir
In the semis, Jordi met Duke’s Jason Tahir,also unseeded, but who had downed the top seed from UF and hadn’t dropped a set en route to the semis. The theme remained the same: deft dropshots, sick slices, and point construction worthy of the ultimate tennis contractor. The clay at Lakewood Ranch was Jordi’s sketch pad as he drew up perfect points, and executed to near perfection against Tahir, a junior who posted a 30-5 singles record for Duke as a sophomore. 
Princeton's Zack McCourt
In the Final of the 2013 Lakewood Ranch Dick Vitale Intercollegiate Clay Court Classic, Jordi would face Princeton’s McCourt and he would avenge his teammate, Chris Perrigan’s first-round loss. 
McCourt had shown that he was a tough customer, eliminating the second, seventh and third seeds in consecutive rounds, to reach the Final. In his matches against the second seed from Virginia and the third from Florida, McCourt lost the first set 4-6 before coming back to win the final two sets.
Jordi jumped out to a brilliant start, doing the magic that he does with the racquet and pounding serves when he needed them. At 4-2, 30-0, it looked like Jordi would run away with the first set. But a loose point and solid play from McCourt brought the match even at 4-4. Jordi held serve with relatively ease, but had to work hard to earn the break and the first set 6-4.
I'm da Man!
If you were aware of McCourt’s two victories against seeded players after dropping first sets at 4-6, you might have started to worry a tad. No need. McCourt didn’t begin to solve the puzzle and Jordi jumped out to a 5-0 lead before McCourt got on the board. That one game was but a morale booster because Jordi served it out with ease, capturing the Fourth Annual Lakewood Ranch Dick Vitale Intercollegiate Clay Court Classic.  
It was a celebration to be remembered with all of the Eagles joining in the moment they shared with their triumphant teammate. The player hosts, and Sara Roberts (FGCU Athletics Communication Assistant) joined in the celebration, and everyone seemed reluctant to leave the scene of the victory. But we had to leave the scene, looking forward to the next opportunity to cheer on the Eagles. 

Jordi & Coach Weber
The success the Eagles experienced at the Bedford Cup (quarterfinal singles and doubles),the Georgia Southern Championships (Gabe Echeverry, Champion), the FGCU Fall Invitational (Singles and Doubles Champions) and the Lakewood Ranch event should bode well for their spring season which will begin in January (click here for schedule).
SID Sarah Roberts, the team, and
player host Gary Schuster
You might want to mark the final week in January on your calendar because the Eagles open their home stand against Southern Methodist University and University of Central Florida. I’m sure Coach Weber and the Eagles would be thrilled to have you in attendance. Thanks to Steph for sharing the photography duties! Additional photos of the event can be seen by clicking here. Game, set, match...T. A.
T. a's gear provided by Tennis R Us