Wednesday, April 30, 2014


You may already know this, but I started my tennis career under the tutelage of Phil Gordon in the inner city of Hartford, Connecticut. It was due to his generous spirit, his determination to contribute to the lives of youngsters who wouldn't ordinarily be exposed to our great game, that I have experienced all that I have in the game. I will be forever grateful to Phil, and will always support others like him. 

Paul Segodo of strikes me as one of those individuals who is seeking to contribute to the lives of others through the game of tennis, and I would like to join him in his effort. I have already given him all of the racquets that I have, and if you have racquets in your garage or closet that you don't use, I am encouraging you to do the same. Please see Paul's request to local pros below:

  Racquet With a 

Donate your Used Tennis Racquets

Yellow Stripes


Sponsor Our Kids Helping Kids Tournament

Dear Coaches,

I hope you are having a great season. My name is Paul Segodo and I have played with some of you in the Pro League. I am sending you this email because our foundation is having a racquet drive and I wanted to see if you would like to get your club members involved in donating used racquets and tennis equipment to help children play their way to a better life through tennis instruction and education scholarships. If you are interested please email me at and we will provide a box for you. Thank you so much for your time and I hope to hear from you. Learn more.

Racquet with a Heart:

There are currently hundreds of children around the world who would like to play the game of tennis, but don't have the proper equipment to do so. We at Tennis for a Better Life would like to change this but we need your help. You can help us by donating  new or used tennis racquets. Click to find out more

 We have drop off at the following locations: Click here to find out

  • "The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to reveal to him his own."
Benjamin Disraeli.

Many of these children have so much talent and just need an opportunity. With your help we can help the children play their way to a better life.


There's no better time to try new racquets than the summer time, and I'm guessing that's now no matter what the calendar says. 
Pat and Angie down at Three Oaks Park will be hosting a Babolat Demo Day this Saturday, May 3, from 9 - 10:30am. Those who attend the Demo Day will be eligible for prizes and discounts. Other racquets will be on hand for demo as well. 

USPTA Nat'l Clay Courts  at Landings
Paul D'Amico
There’s no way I should be playing the USPTA National Clay Court Championships being held at The Landings Yacht, Golf & Tennis Club May 8 – 11, but Paul D’Amico Director of Tennis, has certainly earned the support of anyone in this area who calls him/herself a USPTA Tennis Professional.

Paul has only been here for, what, three years now? But what he’s done in three years, in terms of bringing events to town, is unparalleled in the eight years I have been here. 
Paul & Head Pro Kim Jones run tourney
Whether it is community-wide charity events, special events for his members, events for USPTA pros, national
Landings volunteers always do a terrific job!
tournaments for juniors and adults, Paul, his staff, and the members at The Landings have done tremendous things for our tennis community the past few years.

T. A. & Erica at Landings in 2013
What does that mean to me? It means that I will team up with Erica Cossairt to try to win a mixed doubles national title, regardless of what common sense might tell me. A number of other USPTA pros in the area are gearing up for the event as well, even some who probably have to blow the dust and cobwebs off their tournament sticks.

The usual suspects will participate of course. Steve Shortridge never saw a tournament that he didn’t like…especially now that he’s knocked off a former World No.4 in Roscoe Tanner. 

Roscoe Tanner- Photo courtesy of
SI's Walter Looss, Jr.
I know that some of you don’t know who Roscoe tanner is, but that guy held the fastest serve (153 mph) record from 1978 through 2004, when Andy Roddick broke it (155 mph). Can you imagine 153 with a wood racquet? That’s HUGE! He’s also the guy who won the Australian Open in 1977 and lost the Wimbledon Final to Bjorn Borg in five sets two years later.

Armor Persons
Two other tourney rats who will toss em up that weekend are Armor Persons (Breckenridge) and Bob Green (Pelican Preserve). Both of those vets like the taste of competition and will have their fill two weekends from now. 

John Ramsey
A number of Pro League favorites, including Kim Jones (The Landings) Mike Curran (Gulf Harbour) Luke 
Luke Andreae
Andreae (Punta Gorda Club), Kerry Kendrick (Casa Ybel), Jared Kalpin (West Bay), John Jerome (Wildcat Run), John Ramsey (Kelly Greens) and others will be vying for USPTA national honors as well.

Fred Drilling
Former International Tennis Federation (ITF) World No.1 (2007), Fred Drilling will join the fray as there is a national title to be had in his own backyard. How could he pass that up? Fred will probably play a few age divisions…and win them all. In any event, there should be plenty of entertainment for the tennis lovers who are still in town. If you see me stumbling around the court, please go watch some good tennis!

LCCTA Hosts Junior Events
If you are spending any amount of time outdoors, and I’m sure you are, then you know that summer is fast approaching, and summer time is junior time. Accordingly, the Lee County Community Tennis Association (LCCTA) is doing what it usually does: providing plenty of junior competition for juniors of various levels.

Valentina Sanchez Bronzetti 
On the heels of the Level 5 event held this past weekend at Three Oaks Park, the LCCTA will host a USTA Florida 10-and-Under event at Rutenberg Park in Fort Myers on Saturday, May 10. Players can register online through Wednesday, May 7, and can search tennis link for tournament ID# 150053814 or click here to reach the tournament site.

Emilio Jr Sanchez Bronzetti 
The following week, beginning Saturday, May 17, LCCTA will host another  USTA Florida sanctioned event at Rutenberg Park, this time an L7 tournament for boys and girls in 12, 14, 16, and 18-and-under divisions. Again, players can register online 
through Wednesday, May 14, using tournament ID# 150068814 or click here to reach the tournament site. Contact Tournament Director, Lyn Bruner, at (239) 482-3382 with questions for either event. 

FGCU Tennis
Coach C. J. Weber
For those of you who followed Florida Gulf Coast University’s tennis programs this past season, and haven’t already been to the men’s and women’s pages at the FGCU Athletics website, Coach Weber summed up the season extremely well in his newsletter, so I’ll just give you this link to check that out.

Coach Courtney Vernon on the job
The Lady Eagles of FGCU had a phenomenal season under first-year Coach Courtney Vernon. The Eagles posted their highest number of overall Division I wins (14) and A-Sun Conference wins (7) in history under the dynamic rookie coach. 
Candela Munoz-Giron
Junior Candela Munoz-Giron (whom I have been calling a freshman all season- sorry), completed an outstanding year at the A-Sun Championships, going 3-0 and being named to the All-Tournament Team, a distinction that fit well with her All-Conference First Team honor. 

LCCTA Hosts 10-and-Under Workshop
This one's a bit early, but I want everyone who might be interested to get this on the calendar before something else gets in the way. Consistent with their efforts to grow the game, the LCCTA will host a USTA 10-and-Under Coaches On-court Workshop on Saturday, June 7 from 9-12:30 (rain or shine) at Wa-KeHatchee Community Park in Fort Myers 33908. 

At a mere $15 to participate, this is an excellent opportunity for parents, teachers, or anyone interested in getting youngsters started in tennis, in accord with the latest "best practices" advocated by the USTA. Prospective participants can register at  The Workshop will be conducted by National trainer, Susan Allshouse.

That's all I have for now. Game, set, match...T. A.


This post is courtesy of C. J. Weber, Men's Tennis Coach at Florida Gulf Coast University

Dear fans and supporters of FGCU Men’s Tennis:

Well, we couldn’t quite get it done this last weekend [April 17 - 19] up in Jacksonville, but the guys gave it a heck of a try at the A-Sun Championships! I know many of you were following the results, and I can’t thank you enough for your congratulations throughout the weekend and all of your support throughout the entire year.

After breezing through Mercer in the first round by winning 4-0, we knew we had a huge challenge ahead of us, playing against the #2 seed and host UNF. Although we have never beaten UNF in program history, the air was whispering ‘upset’ all weekend, and we really thought we were going to be able to pull away with that one to play for our first conference title. 

After many weather delays and plenty stoppages of play, we ultimately lost the match 4-2 with our hearts broken and bodies and minds exhausted. After winning the doubles point (Jordi and Dean beat their first nationally ranked team ever…and Bao and Lance came back from a 5-7 deficit to win in a tiebreaker to remain a flawless 5-0 in tiebreakers all season!), it appeared that we were sitting in a great spot; but we were only fortunate enough to claim one of the singles spots before the other four came to a dramatic halt. 

Senior Gabe Echeverry was left on the court early in a third set tiebreaker, and we’re most certain he would have come away with the W in that one. The overall match couldn’t have been much closer, as the singles alone lasted over 3 hours.

But the season is over, and it’s time to reflect back on another great year. So many program firsts, so many individual accomplishments, and so many team accomplishments, I will probably forget several of them, but here goes nothing! 

Maybe most importantly and most excitingly, you guys (our fans) put us in the national spotlight in fan attendance in February by being ranked top 5 in the country in average attendance of all three of our matches in February!!! Wow, is that something special, and I can’t wait to see how we can continue to build things here as we make enhancements to our facility in trying to increase the fan experience.

Our conference record this year in the regular season was 6-2, and I can’t help but think about the freshman year of the current seniors when they went 1-9 in the conference! What a turnaround in such a short amount of time, and it couldn’t be a better testament to their hard work and determination to grow and build this program. 6-2 is the best record FGCU has ever seen in the A-Sun, and it is the most total number of wins as well. 

We were seeded 3rd in the tournament, the highest seed we have ever had. We beat Stetson on Senior Day, which had never been done before (and hopefully this is the start of trying to even that series after starting down 0-7).  Senior Dean Tsamas became the winningest player in FGCU Division I history with 62 total singles wins!!! 

Wow, won’t that guy be missed…not only by myself and his teammates, but also by our fans. To watch his grit and determination on the court every day was really something special! Another senior Gabe Echeverry won a title for the Eagles back in the fall by winning the Georgia Southern Championships! Bao made 1st Team All-Conference for the first time in his career, moving up from Freshman of the Year his first year, to 2nd Team last year, and now to 1st Team. I can’t wait to see what he’ll surprise us with next year. And Jordi has a seemingly endless list of accomplishments this year. 

After posting a 34-4 record on the season, he is currently ranked #50 in the country, the highest of any FGCU player in its Division I history, and his 10-0 record in the conference was good enough to make him the A-Sun Conference Player of the Year! Not to mention, he made the All-Academic Team with his 3.51 GPA as well as the All-Tournament Team for his efforts this past weekend! 

And let’s not forget his quarterfinal run in Regionals last fall, and we will NEVER forget his magical run to the championship of the Dick Vitale Invitational in Lakewood Ranch when he beat the likes of Minnesota, Virginia, Duke, and Princeton! And how about Jordi and Bao playing in the FINALS of our home invitational against each other in the singles draw and WITH each other in the doubles draw! That was something special!  

And to cap it all off, Jordi will be looking forward to ‘taking his talents to Athens, GA’ as he will undoubtedly qualify for the NCAA Singles Tournament, which takes the top 64 singles players in the country, so they can all battle it out for an individual national championship! The tournament starts on 5/21, so wish us luck…and maybe even a couple fans might be interested in making the trek up there to watch him play??? 

Thanks once again for your continued support of this program! It’s been a really fun ride these past 3 years, and I can’t wait to see what is in store for the future yet. Maybe with a little bit more improvement next year, we can somehow take home that coveted conference title, and bring FGCU its first conference championship! But for now, I hope everybody has a great summer, and is looking forward to just a little bit of relaxation as I am (but not until Jordi is complete with his run at NCAA’s of course!)

Take care, and GO EAGLES!!!
C. J. Weber
Head Men’s Tennis Coach|  Florida Gulf Coast University

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Nice crowd for final match of the season
Photo courtesy of Linwood Ferguson
If you missed the climactic finish to Florida Gulf Coast University’s (FGCU) Men’s Tennis home stand against Stetson University this past Saturday (April 12), all I can say to you is “Sorry!” 
Match-clinching celebration
When you have something really good that’s worth savoring, you save the best for last, right? Well, that’s what the tennis men in green and blue did this past weekend.

Seniors Gabe, Lance, Dean, & Coach Weber
Photo courtesy of Linwood Ferguson
The match on Saturday coincided with Senior Day, as we sadly bid “so long” to seniors Gabe Echeverry, Lance Lvovsky, and Dean Tsamas. 
Lance Lvovsky
Photo courtesy of Linwood Ferguson
Not all of the seniors tasted the nectar of individual victory this day, but they did taste victory as a team. It was anything but easy, despite sweeping the doubles courts for the second consecutive match.

Dean & Jordi post doubles win
On the No.1 Doubles court, Dean teamed with junior Jordi Vives to claim the relatively easy 8-2 victory. 
Adrian and Lucas clinching doubles point
Freshmen Lucas Vaz and Adrian Reid joined forces to down their foes at No.3 Doubles, clinching the the first point of the match. 
Lance & Bao gutting out their doubles win
Lance and Junior Tianyu Bao engaged in a major struggle at No.2 Doubles to post a comeback, 8-7-tiebreak (7-2) win. It was just a sign of things to come.

Lance slicin' & dicin'
In singles, neither Lance nor Gabe had his A-game for the final match of his college career, but they certainly had the A-effort that we are used to from them both. 
Gabe Echeverry gives his all
Photo courtesy of Linwood Ferguson
After taking the doubles point, things took a turn for the worse. 
Lance and
Lucas Vaz fighting the wind
Photo courtesy of Linwood Ferguson
Freshman Lucas Vaz had struggled in the swirling wind and fell in straight sets, on Courts 5 and 4 respectively. Advantage Stetson Hatters.

Dean gives up no winners
Photo courtesy of Linwood Ferguson
Dean’s win at No.3 Singles brought the Eagles back to 2-2, and It was great to see him play like the Dean “Ground & Pound” Tsamas of old, getting every single thing back and frustrating his opponent with 30-ball rallies. 
Dean smacks a winner of his own
Photo courtesy of Linwood Ferguson
When you look at the score of Dean’s match, you might think that his opponent was already digesting his bagel before the other courts had finished popping the new-ball-cans for their matches…but it wasn’t that fast. 
Poetry in motion
Dean actually ground his guy down point after point, chipping away at his will with every anticipated winner that came back saying, “hit me again!” In the end, Dean prevailed 6-0, 6-3.

Jordi refuses to lose on way to
No.60 in the country

Photo courtesy of Linwood Ferguson
As I suggested in the preview to this match-up, things were tight, and I know C. J. was feeling a bit on edge because Gabe had dropped his first set at No.6 Singles, and, surprisingly, so had the Eagles top singles player Junior Jordi Vives. 
Bao displays finesse
Photo courtesy of Linwood Ferguson
At No.2 Singles, junior Tianyu Bao was in a dogfight in his first set, and if those dropped sets held true, the Eagles would drop their final home match and lose the No.3 Seed in the upcoming Conference Championship to Stetson.

Gabe says, "There's nothing I can't get"
Photo courtesy of Linwood Ferguson
But Eagles are proud birds and they fiercely defend their nests. The FGCU Eagles are no exception. Gabe showed his grit, fighting back after losing the first set at love, and dropping the first three games of the second set. 
A picture of reflection
He eventually lost that second set 4-6, but it surely wasn’t because of a lack of effort or heart. When you are off your game and playing a tough opponent, it might be easy to give up. But Gabe showed the kind of corazon he has shown throughout his career, and went down swinging.

One of those days!
Photo courtesy of Linwood Ferguson
On Court 1, despite not having his very best tennis at his disposal, Jordi dug deep after dropping that first set, and took the following two sets, 6-3, 6-4, but those two sets were anything but easy. 
Fly like an Eagle to victory...that a song?
I don’t remember which game it was, but it took Jordi eight, that’s right, eight break points before he claimed the break in the third and final set. 
Jordi tracking it down
Oh, by the way, he had been up 40-0 in that game. How easy would it have been to become frustrated and give that game up? Not when you wear the Eagles uniform!

Bao the soaring Eagle
Photo courtesy of Linwood Ferguson
So there the match stood, knotted at 3-3, and the Bao…Tianyu Bao that is… may have bent a little but didn’t break! 
Furious forehand unleashed
Photo courtesy of Linwood Ferguson
Bao took the first set in a tiebreak (7-4), but gave up a break in the second set to lose that one 4-6. It was definitely a battle of the titans, as the 6’ 5”-bombs-away Bao took on the 6’ 3” laser-serving Laurynas, and neither could get a break through the first six games of the final set.
No double this time buddy!
Photo courtesy of Linwood Ferguson
Then, serving at 3-3, 30-0, the moment seemed as though it was getting bigger than Bao, and a couple of double faults and tentative play gave the Hatter the break. 

Let's make this 5-5
Photo courtesy of Linwood Ferguson
The big Lithuanian Hatter pounded some serves in and held without much trouble, putting Bao in the position to hold serve or lose the match...his match and the team match! Would Bao hold up under the pressure that got to him in his previous service game?

Loading up
Photo courtesy of Linwood Ferguson
Showing little sign of the nerves that served up the break, Bao played a smart, aggressive service game to bring the match to 5-4 with Stetson serving for the match. 

Power personified
Photo courtesy of Linwood Ferguson
Bao managed some stellar returns and solid play, and the nerves crossed the net, leading to a break and an even match. Bao took control of the tiebreak, and at 
Post-match madness: You're no Novak Bao
match point, left his opponent standing and staring as a backhand blew by him to end the match, 7-3 in the breaker.

Let the celebration begin
The team and the crowd roared as the dual match which 
started at 1pm had finally concluded at 5:30pm with the  Eagles flapping their victorious wings, and Stetson leaving as…well…Mad Hatters (couldn’t resist!).
Elizabeth Means (women's team) led the cheers
Photo courtesy of Linwood Ferguson

All the guys on Senior Day
Photo courtesy of Linwood Ferguson
It was a fitting way to end a season that started with some stiff competition and some tough losses.  
Coach C. J. Weber
The year before Coach C. J. Weber (guy can’t be all bad, using initials, huh?) got here, the Eagles went 3-18.Since his arrival, things have gotten progressively better, going 7 -10, 11-11, the two previous years, and 11-9 this season. 

Coach Weber brings Adrian and Lucas through
Photo courtesy of Linwood Ferguson
This season is the first time since 2007, and the first time as a Division I program that the Eagles have been above .500. Not bad for a team that started the season 0-4.

Lady Eagles preparing for battle
Photo courtesy of Linwood Ferguson
The Eagles, men and women, will be heading to Jacksonville for the Atlantic Sun Conference Championships this week (Thursday through Saturday).
Cheering big Bao on to victory
Both teams enter and the No.3 Seed, both teams enter the tournament on five-game win-streaks, and both teams have what it takes to pull off the upsets and soar home as champions…they just need to fly like they know how.

Sara Roberts
Athletics Communications

Photo courtesy of Linwood Ferguson
Don’t forget to check out all the tremendous recaps of the women’s and men’s teams (especially with the A-Sun tourney on tap) done by Sara Roberts at the FGCU’s athletics website (men, women), and Linwood Ferguson takes some stupendous photos, so you don’t want to miss those either.
Linwood Ferguson
Photo courtesy of
Linwood Ferguson's website
You can check them out here

Finally, if you would like to receive Coach Weber’s personal newsletter updates, send him an email at That’s about it for now on the Eagles front. Game, set, match...T. A.