Charleston tennis news compiled by Mike Saia.
Non-cited stories by James Beck, Post and Courier.

Winner: 2018 USTA South Carolina Media Excellence Award

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(03/19/19)  Lowcountry Tennis Association Newsletter - March 2019
St. Patrick’s Day has passed and it is ALL GREEN to the VCO. We look forward to seeing everyone there.

Volunteer opportunities available at the following locations:
   - Tournament Volunteers
   - USTA Net Generation Courts
   - USTA Membership Tent

Notes from Dee Mack
1.   Mixed Doubles Registration is open and will close on Friday, April 5th at midnight. Teams must have the (3) eligible partnerships to be considered a team.
2.   Wildcards have been announced!
18 and over
2.5 Women
3.0 Women
3.5 Men
3.5 Women
4.0 Men
4.5 Women
   
40 and over
3.0 Men
3.5 Women
4.0 Women
   
55 and over
3.0 Men
3.   Playoffs days and times
April 8th – 14th – Mt Pleasant Rec (MPR)
Monday, April 8th - MPR
40 & over 3.0W (6P)
40 & over 4.0W (7:30P)

Tuesday, April 9th - MPR
40 & over 3.0W (6P)
40 & over 4.0W (7:30P)

Wednesday, April 10th - MPR
40 & over 3.0W (6P)
40 & over 4.0W (7:30P)

Thursday, April 11th – MPR
40 & over 3.5W (6P)
18 & over 3.5M (7:30P)

Friday, April 12th - MPR
40 & over 3.5W (6P)
18 & over 3.5M (7:30P)

Saturday, April 13th - MPR
40 & over 3.5W (9A)
18 & over 3.5M (12P)
18 & over 3.0M (2P)

Sunday, April 14th – MPR
18 & over 3.0M (9A)
18 & over 3.0M (1P)

Reminder – to be eligible to play in the playoffs, a player must play a minimum of two matches or play 1 match and receive 1 default.

Captains – plan to bring a printout of your roster to confirm eligibility
April 15th – 20th – Charleston Tennis Center (CTC)

Monday, April 15th – CTC
18 & over 3.0W (6P)
18 & over 4.0W (7:30P)

Tuesday, April 16th - CTC
18 & over 3.0W (6P)
18 & over 4.0W (7:30P)

Wednesday, April 17th - CTC
18 & over 3.0W (6P)
18 & over 4.0W (7:30P)

Thursday, April 18th – CTC
18 & over 3.5W (6P)
18 & over 4.5W (7:30P)

Friday, April 19th - CTC
18 & over 3.5W (6P)
18 & over 4.5W (7:30P)

Saturday, April 20th - CTC
18 & over 3.5W (9A)
18 & over 4.5W (11A)
4.   Flex League registration was extremely successful.

a.   (48) registered players
b.   (6) Flights
c.   (4) Singles and (2) Doubles

Thank you for getting your matches completed in preparation for 2019 Local Playoffs!


(03/09/19)  Wando boys tennis expects another deep-run season
Wando coach Winde Ellenberg is looking for another outstanding season for the Warriors after going all the way to the Class AAAAA state final last spring. The Warriors have four seniors and newcomer standout Luke Prendergast among their top eight players.

“We had some great scrimmages preseason with PG (Porter-Gaud) and BE (Bishop England) and are now just starting region play,” Ellenberg said. “I have hopes that we will do as well as we did last year, winning Lower State. Always looking to improve.”

The Warriors, off to a 2-0 start, will face major tests in a March 20 home showdown with powerful Class AA Philip Simmons and a visit to Philip Simmons’ outstanding tennis facility on April 9.

Prendergast has moved to the top of the veteran Wando lineup.” He is a solid addition as a consistent tournament player and No. 1 for our team,” Ellenberg remarked about Prendergast, a junior and former Oceanside Collegiate player.

The Warriors also rely heavily on veterans Alex Shaw, Will Bumgarner, Jack Johnson and Nick Heindel in their attempt to surpass last year’s Lower State champions.

BE DROPS A LITTLE

Defending Class AAA state champion Bishop England has dropped off a notch in the loss of Jared Pratt (Wisconsin) and Lleyton Dacuba (Queens) to college tennis, and the Bishops already have run into some of the power of Philip Simmons. The Bishops dropped a 5-2 decision to the Iron Horses, who were missing the Smith brothers, Max and Jake, as well as talented Carson Baker.

Coach Kristin Fleming Arnold’s BE team is 1-1 and will move into its AAA region play this coming week with matches against Academic Magnet on Tuesday and Georgetown on Thursday. The Bishops should be just fine against all Class AAA opposition.

“The boys are looking good and gearing up for the season,” Arnold said.

Just the same, PSHS coach Richard Schulz was happy to see a large turnout of 26 team family members supporting the Iron Horses against the Bishops. “Tennis is alive and well at PSHS,” Schulz said. “We are better than advertised.”

But without five of its top six players, including No. 1 Coy Simon, both Smiths and Baker, Philip Simmons lost to Charlotte Latin in the Florence tournament and is currently 5-1 heading into a showdown with Oceanside Collegiate on Tuesday at the PSHS courts.

WAVE, P-G STRUGGLE

Summerville and Porter-Gaud have struggled thus far in the season.

“We are a super young team this year and still trying to see where we fit within the state and our region,” second-year Summerville coach Jesse Gladis said. The Green Wave is 2-4 and has not started Region 8-AAAAA play where Wando usually dominates. Summerville will open region play on Monday at James Island.

The big surprise for Summerville is the emergence of Rollings Middle School eighth-grader Sam Dimuzio as the Green Wave’s No. 1 player.

SCISA Class AAA defending state champion Porter-Gaud also has a young No. 1 player in smallish eighth-grader Lucas Acevedo.

Coach Jonathan Barth’s Cyclones are only 2-3, but the losses have come against Philip Simmons, Bishop England and Hilton Head Prep, with wins over Summerville and Pinewood Prep.

GRETKOWSKI SHINES

Local junior Allie Gretkowski missed the recent Volvo Car Open Wild Card Event due to a scheduling conflict, but the 15-year-old didn’t come up empty handed from a trip to San Jose, Costa Rica, to participate in the ITF Costa Rica Bowl.

Gretkowski advanced through qualifying with three straight wins and then won three more times in succession to advance to the main draw semifinals in singles, leaving the Central American city with a 6-1 won-lost record.

RPTA AT PALM SPRINGS

A large group of juniors from the Randy Pate Tennis Academy at LTP Tennis and Family Circle Tennis Center is preparing for a trip to Palm Springs, Calif., for the spring national championships that will start March 23.

The group includes Emma Navarro and Anna Ross in the girls 18 main draw; Lara Schneider and Gretkowski in girls 18 qualifying; Whitley Pate, Emma Charney and Sonia Maheshwari in the girls 16 main draw; Piper Charney and Alice Otis in the girls 14 main draw; Coy Simon in the boys 18 main draw; Max Smith in the boys 16 main draw; Carson Baker in the boys 14 main draw; and Sawyer Severance in the boys 12 main draw.

LOCAL NOTES

-- Senior tennis star Brenda Carter was among the honorees at the Trident Literacy Association’s Founder’s Day Award Luncheon on Thursday at Charles Towne Landing’s Founders Hall. Carter has won more than 60 national tennis championships in singles and doubles and has played on 17 USTA international senior teams. She has won six world singles titles.

-- Several Volvo Car Open WTA Tour standouts will teach a free junior clinic on Sunday, March 31 from 4-5 p.m. at the Jack Adams Tennis Center in downtown Charleston. The Citadel tennis team also will teach in the clinic. Juniors should RSVP to Charleston Tennis Center (843-766-7401) by Tuesday to participate in the event.

-- Charleston Tennis Center will stage the USTA-sanctioned Lowcountry Junior Tournament March 22-24. The entry deadline is March 18. Registration is available online at tennislink.usta.com using the tournament number (700041119).

-- Former USC Upstate tennis player Sandy Franz is starting a Charleston Tennis Circuit based on the Universal Tennis Rating system. The first tournament is an 18-and-under event scheduled for May 10-12 at the I’On Club in Mount Pleasant. Contact Franz at Sandy@charlestontenniscircuit.com.

-- The Citadel will play a doubleheader against the tennis teams of Richmond and Lehigh on Sunday at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., respectively, at the Jack Adams Tennis Center near The Citadel.


(03/02/19)  Ho claims Volvo Car Open Wild Card Qualifying Event
As spectacular as Peyton Stearns was in the first seven games with a display of bold, powerful and precision shot-making, little 22-year-old Jessica Ho was just as brilliant the rest of the way in Saturday afternoon’s final of the Volvo Car Open Wild Card Qualifying Event at Family Circle Tennis Center.

As a reward, Ho earned a lucrative wild card into the March 30-31 VCO qualifying tournament on the same Family Circle Tennis Center clay courts where she scored a 1-6, 6-2, 10-7 victory over Stearns, a 17-year-old fourth seed from Cincinnati.

As the imaginary bell to start the second set went off, Ho transformed into a different player. So did Stearns.

Ho, a 5-4 former Duke player who now trains in Cape Coral, Fla., became more aggressive while maintaining her consistency. She jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the second set as Stearns’ big groundstrokes suddenly started flying wildly all over the Althea Gibson Club Court.

After finishing off the second set, Ho won seven of the first 10 points in the match tiebreaker. She dropped three straight points after gaining match point at 9-4 on a Stearns error before closing out the match when Stearns sailed a forehand service return wide.

“I dropped my energy and I couldn’t get it back,” said Stearns.

Ho was impressed by Stearns’ game in the first set.

“She was playing amazing tennis,” said Ho, the fifth seed in the 32-player draw, which used the Universal Tennis Rating format. “I had never played her before, but I was impressed with her forehand. It was awesome all of the time. I think it’s the best I’ve ever seen. Her backhand was pretty amazing as well.

“But I just let myself go in the second set,” added Ho, who played one year (2016) at Duke before hitting the professional circuit full time and is currently ranked 512th in the world by the WTA Tour.

Ho was “excited, overjoyed” by her victory. “I thought it was a great opportunity to compete here for a wild card into the Volvo Car Open qualifying,” she said.

The UTR rating system appeared to work well in the tournament as all four semifinalists carried 12.0 UTR ratings.

Ho went 5-0 in three days in an impressive string of victories, winning twice each on Friday and Saturday. She posted a 6-4, 6-1 win over power-hitting 6-2 sixth seed Alycia Parks of Port St. Lucie, Fla., in Saturday morning’s semifinals.

Stearns scored a 6-3, 6-4 victory over 6-2 eighth seed Dalayna Hewitt of Cleveland in the semifinals.


(02/27/19)  Qualifying for the Volvo Car Open qualifying tournament begins Thursday
Charleston’s 16-year-old Lara Schneider is confident and looking forward to the Volvo Car Open Wild Card Event that starts on Thursday at Family Circle Tennis Center.

Schneider is well aware that five wins could stake her or any of the other 31 players in the draw to a spot in the VCO qualifying tournament on March 30-31.

The tournament is using the Universal Tennis Rating format for seeding and entries.

Schneider will get an early start in the tournament. The Randy Pate Tennis Center player is scheduled for an 8:30 a.m. opening match on Thursday against 18-year-old Naina Nait Omar of Seneca, who played in last fall’s LTP $25K ITF at LTP Tennis in Mount Pleasant.

“I think I have a good chance to do well,” said Scheider, a talented baseliner who hasn’t made a college commitment so far. “It will be a great experience getting to play with some great players.”

Schneider is fresh from teaming with fellow Pate Academy player Allie Gretkowski to win a National Level 2 doubles title in Key Biscayne, Fla. But Gretkowski had committed to an ITF tournament in Costa Rico and is not playing in the VCO Wild Card Event.

“Allie and I are very pleased with our results lately. We are undefeated at the moment,” Schneider said. “There is no doubles in the UTR tournament.”

Three other local juniors are entered in the UTR event. Anna Ross plays at 12:30 p.m. on the first day, while Sophie Williams and Abby Cotuna both are scheduled for 2:30 p.m. matches on Thursday

Two rounds will be played on Friday, with the semifinals and final slated for Saturday.


(02/23/19)  It’s a long road from Universal Tennis Rating event to Volvo Car Open main draw
The road to the Volvo Car Open is a tough one for all but the top tier of women’s tennis.

But now, more lower-ranked players have a chance to qualify for the big WTA Tour event on Daniel Island, thanks to a new local tournament for aspiring professionals.

The new tournament is officially named the Volvo Car Open Wild Card Event. It’s also known as the initial Universal Tennis Rating event, one that uses the UTR ranking for entry.

It’s a long road from UTR to the VCO main draw, although all three tournaments will be played at Family Circle Tennis Center.

Just the same, the winner of the 32-player UTR tournament will receive a wild card into the official VCO qualifying tournament.

Of course, you’ve got to be pretty good just to get into the UTR tournament that starts Thursday at Family Circle Tennis Center. It will take five wins to take the UTR title and advance into the March 30-31 VCO main qualifying event.

Three wins in main qualifying would put you in the main draw of the Volvo Car Open. All you need is a total of 14 straight wins to bring home the big prize at the VCO.

This particularly “you” could be any one of five local girls or 27 others scheduled to appear in the first round of the UTR tournament. Anna Ross, Lara Schneider, Emma Charney, Sophie Williams and Abby Cotuna are the local juniors.

Any of the 32 UTR players lucky enough to win eight straight matches would join Shelby Rogers and Emma Navarro in the main draw of the April 1-7 Volvo Car Open. Rogers and Navarro already have secured their spots in the main draw.

Rogers accomplished the feat through her outstanding career WTA Tour performances before falling to a knee injury almost a year ago at Indian Wells, Calif. The VCO was generous enough to award Rogers a wild card into the main draw.

Sometimes it helps to be local. But Shelby is well deserving, being the face of local professional tennis for so many years. Even non-tennis fans identify with a simple mentioning of “Shelby.”

Navarro, just 17 and currently the No. 1 U.S. girls 18 player, also earned her way into the VCO main draw by winning seven straight matches and the wild card that went to the winner of last summer’s girls 18 national clay courts at LTP Tennis.

These three VCO-connected events make up just 60 percent of the local fan opportunities over the next five months. A $100K International Tennis Federation World Tennis Tour tournament is scheduled for April 29-May 5 at LTP Tennis, followed in July by another girls 18 national clay court championship at LTP Tennis.

All of this means an almost continuous line of great viewing opportunities for local tennis fans.

More good news for fans is that three of these events, UTR, LTP $100K and the girls 18 nationals, are free to the public. That’s a great deal and a great opportunity to see the futures of the women’s game.

These girls coming to Family Circle Tennis Center for the UTR event are some of the most talented players anywhere, although most of them are still young.

All five of our locals in the UTR field are still teenagers. You would never know it by their level of play and skill level.

Talented Abigail Forbes, a Raleigh product bound for UCLA, is the UTR top seed.

The lone non-American in the UTR field is third seed Ksenia Laskutova of Moscow, a 22-year-old who played four years for the Tulsa University women’s team.

“The draw looks very strong. I am looking forward to some great matches,” tournament director Rob Eppelsheimer said. “I don’t see a bad matchup.”

The semifinals and final will be held next Saturday at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Gretkowski missing

It’s too bad that Allie Gretkowski didn’t increase the number of UTR locals to six. Gretkowski is just 15 years old and looking like a future pro. She has an 11.28 UTR rating in doubles.

Fresh from winning the doubles title in a National Level 2 tournament in Key Biscayne, Fla., with Schneider, Gretkowski will head for San Jose, Costa Rica, this coming week to compete in the ITF Costa Rica Bowl.

The Costa Rica trip was already in the works for Gretkowski when the UTR tournament was announced, her mother Debbie said. It’s not a vacation, she said, just a chance to allow Allie to play for the first time in another country.

Of course, Allie is disappointed about missing the UTR event but thrilled by her success with Schneider in Florida. She also was a quarterfinalist in singles, while Schneider was a semifinalist in singles. Both Gretkowski’s and Schneider’s singles losses in Key Biscayne came against U.S. girls 18 No. 3 Zoe Howard.

“Lara and I had a great win in Key Biscayne,” Gretkowski said. “I was not playing my best in the semifinals, but she picked me up and we got through that match. Everything was working (in the final) and we were just swinging. It’s always easy playing with her (Schneider) because we practice together (at LTP) and we work well together.

“I’m obviously disappointed to miss the UTR tournament because it’s a great opportunity for a wild card, but I’m excited at the same time to be going out of the country to play an ITF for the first time.”

Notes

-- The former MW Tennis Academy from Family Circle Tennis Center has switched to Greensboro, N.C. The academy, which originally was named after founders Bryan Minton and Jeff Wilson, switched from the Family Circle complex to Wild Dunes last year after the Randy Pate Academy took over FCTC. Several local juniors made the move to train in Greensboro with Wilson.

-- The popular Tri-County Elementary and Middle School Tennis League is planning to start its league season the week of March 4.

-- After only a limited schedule in this past week’s unpredictable weather, the boys high school season should move into high gear the next two weeks. Bishop England and Porter-Gaud, two defending state champions, are scheduled to square off March 4 at Porter-Gaud, which also is scheduled to travel to Pinewood Prep on Tuesday and play a home match against Summerville on Thursday.

-- In one of the few matches thus far, SCHSL Class AA powerhouse Philip Simmons posted a 6-3 win over Porter-Gaud last week. The showdown scheduled for last week between Philip Simmons and BE was rained out. Philip Simmons is scheduled to play in the Florence tournament next weekend, but will be missing top two players Coy Simon and Max Smith, who are scheduled to play in key junior events.


(02/21/19)  DERREK ASBERRY: Volvo Car Open adds 3 more tennis players ranked among top 15 in the world
Competition is getting stronger for the Volvo Car Open as three more top-15 players have added their names to the list of entries for the WTA event in Charleston.

Volvo officials announced this week that Aryna Sabalenka, Anastasija Sevastova and Ashleigh Barty have committed to the tennis tournament, scheduled for Mar. 30-April 7 at the Family Circle Tennis Center on Daniel Island.

“We are ecstatic to announce that Aryna, Anastasija and Ash have entered the Volvo Car Open,” said Eleanor Adams, the tournament manager. “Ash is one of the most well-rounded players on the tour, Anastasija is a returning VCO semifinalist and Aryna is making her Charleston debut.”

Sabalenka, a native of Belarus in Europe, is the No. 9 ranked women’s player in the world. She has won three WTA titles in the past year, and has reached the finals or semifinals in four others in that span.

Sevastova is ranked No. 11 in the world as she prepares for her sixth time at Volvo, including her 2017 bid when she reached the quarterfinals. The 28-year-old from Latvia has been making deep runs in Grand Slams, including a fourth round berth last month in the Australian Open, and reaching the semifinals in the 2018 U.S. Open.

Barty is No. 12 in the world, thanks in part to reaching the quarterfinals in the Australian Open and the final in a WTA tournament. An Australia native, Barty won two tournaments last year and made deep runs in several others.

The three women are joining a growing pool of other top-tier players. Sloane Stephens and Caroline Wozniacki, ranked Nos. 3 and 14 respectively, committed to the Volvo Car Open in September, along with Madison Keys, who’s ranked No. 17 in the world.

And earlier this month, Charleston native Shelby Rogers received a wild card draw, granting her entry into her ninth Volvo tourney.

The Volvo Car Open is the largest women’s-only professional tennis tournament in North America, with an average attendance of 90,000 people.


(02/18/19)  Lowcountry Tennis Association: February 2019 Newsletter
Good day everyone. Hopefully you will notice something different about this newsletter. At the LCTA Board Meeting, February 12, the Board voted to establish a constant contact account and be responsible for our own marketing. This is the first. We hope it comes together as nicely as the newsletters the USTA SC did for us.

Important dates:

Local:
Mixed Doubles Registration March 1 – April 5
VCO Tournament March 30 – April 7
LCTA Playoffs April 8 – April 21 (Mt. Pleasant Recreation and Charleston Tennis Center)

USTA-SC Championships
70 & over April 25 – 27
55 & Over April 27- 29
40 & Over May 4 – 6
18 & Over May 17 – 20

Site locations for the State Championships:
70 & over Hilton Head
55 & Over Hilton Head
40 & Over Florence
18 & Over Aiken
Here are three links to volunteer at the Volvo Car Open:
1.   To Volunteer to work for the VCO Tournament – click this link.
2.   To Volunteer to work in the USTA tent – click this link.
3.   To Volunteer for the Net Generation Courts – click this link.

League Notes from Dee Mack
       
1.   We have had a great start to the season and thank you for getting your matches played. We have had some weather challenges but overall “Mother Nature” has been cooperative.

2.   Please be reminded that the Team Default regulation is being enforced for Spring play. Captains, make every effort to play the majority of your positions in each match.

3.   The updated 2019 LCTA Adult League Regulations can be found on the LCTA website. http://www.lctatennis.org.

4.   Flex League Registration is open and will close February 24th. For more information contact Shirley Godfrey-Jackson (Shirley.godfrey@gmail.com or 843-725-9095)

5.   To advance to Local Playoffs (Championships), players must meet the (2) match minimum, (1) default received will count towards that requirement.
6.   The flights below will play their regular season at State Championships.
a.   18 and over 5.0 Men
b.   18 and over 5.0 Women
c.   70 and over 4.0 Men
d.   70 and over 4.0 Women

7.    Please be kind, considerate and sportsmanlike at all times during your matches. 

Check the LCTA website (http://www.lctatennis.org) and “Like” us on Facebook for updates on LowCounty tennis!  

2019 Volvo Car Open
Here’s an opportunity to win a Champions Package to the VCO!
For a $20 donation to the LYTA, you could win this package:
2 tickets to the Quarterfinals, Friday, April 5
2 tickets to the Semifinals, Saturday, April 6
2 tickets to the Finals, Sunday, April 5
*Seating in the Terrace level  and access to all courts!

In addition, you’ll also get Ace Club membership, valet parking all three days, and a Dunlop racket and bag.  Call Ron Charron (843) 607-3541 for tickets. Drawing will be held March 20.

Proceeds of all sales will go to the Lowcountry Youth Tennis Association, a charity organization improving the lives of young people through tennis.


(02/12/19)  Volvo Car Open to hold pre-qualifying tournament using Universal Tennis Rating system
There is a great deal of debate currently over tennis rankings and ratings.

Most tennis fans don’t appear to have a problem with the WTA and ATP professional women’s and men’s rankings, but many observers see a great deal of disparity in the junior, adult and senior rankings from the state level to international tennis.

Even league tennis rankings are controversial. From self-rated to computer-rated, the National Tennis Rating Program that governs league tennis ratings often disappoints league tennis players.

Could the Universal Tennis Rating system be the answer to all of these debates?

UTR Powered by Oracle is a global tennis rating system that compares all players, regardless of age, gender, or geography across a single, unified scale.

The WTA’s Premiere level Volvo Car Open is partnering with UTR in a pre-qualifying wild card tournament. The event is scheduled for Feb. 28-March 3 at Family Circle Tennis Center and the winner will receive a wild card into the VCO qualifying tournament March 30-31.

The entry deadline for the VCO’s pre-qualifying UTR event is Feb. 22.

Any female tennis player with a UTR rating of 11-plus is eligible to compete in the pre-qualifying tournament.

The 32-draw event will be held the weekend prior to the start of the Premiere Level WTA Tour tournament main draw, which will begin on Monday, April 1.

“UTR ignores gender and age,” said VCO tournament director Bob Moran, who has been a fan of the UTR system for some time.

“We are very excited to create an official partnership with UTR by hosting a wild card event for a spot in our qualifying draw of the 2019 Volvo Car Open.”

Several local juniors might pass the 11-plus rating criteria for the tournament, according to Randy Pate of the local Randy Pate Tennis Academy at LTP.

“Anna (Ross) is already at 11.3, and Allie (Gretkowski) and Lara (Schneider) are right at it,” Pate said. “Emma (Charney) has a good chance at getting there.”

Emma Navarro, the world’s No. 22-ranked junior girl, already is in the VCO main draw as the result of the national girls 18 clay court singles championship she won last summer at LTP Tennis.


(02/09/19)  Iron Horses are the new team to beat in high school tennis
There’s a new force in boys high school tennis this year. Philip Simmons is already an overwhelming favorite to win the Class AA state championship.

And why not? The Iron Horses look unbeatable on paper with the top-ranked boys 18 and boys 16 players in the South on their roster

“The level of tennis ability in practice at Philip Simmons is unbelievable,” insists coach Richard Schulz.

Schulz has reason to be excited. The Iron Horses’ top five players are all ranked among the top 25 players in the South in their age groups.

Southern boys 18 No. 1 Coy Simon works his magic at the top, using a unique pair of forehands, one from each side. And Southern boys 16 No. 1 Max Smith is just Mr. Solid.

Both Simon and Smith played on the unbeaten 2017 Hanahan team that won the Class AAA state title.

To complete the singles lineup, Schulz can call on Southern 15th-ranked boys 16 Mitchell Deames, and Southern boys 14s Nos. 22 and 23 Carson Baker and Jake Smith.

“We are pretty good,” Schulz admits.

Philip Simmons will open its season Feb. 20 at defending Class AAA state champion Bishop England.

Coach Kristin Fleming Arnold’s BE team will continue to be a threat in Class AAA, even after losing former top-ranked U.S. junior Jared Pratt to Wisconsin and Lleyton Dacuba to Queens. The Bishops can still depend on returning starters Zach Dacuba, Harrison Estey, Lukas Gosselin and Rafe Flathman, as well as newcomer Hector Romero.

Same story in AAAAA

Wando, which went 18-3 last year while winning the Class AAAAA Lower State championship, should be a threat again after adding a potential No. 1 player in junior Luke Prendergast, who played for Oceanside Collegiate Academy in the past.

“We will be strong again this year,” 12th-year Wando coach Winde Ellenberg said.

Prendergast is expected to push last year’s top three players (Alex Shaw, Will Bumgarner and Jack Johnson) down a notch in the lineup, and Nick Heindel is back to play No. 5. Thus, Ellenberg predicts that the Warriors “will be stronger down the line at 2-5.”

Second-year Summerville coach Jesse Gladis hopes the Green Wave can challenge Wando, but he admits, “The team is looking really young this year. We lost four players from the past year’s roster.”

Gladis said seniors Dontrell Whetsell and Kordell Whetsell have stepped up to provide leadership, while Rolling Middle School eighth-grader Sam Dimuzio “is pushing for the No. 1 spot.”

Citadel seeks success

At the opposite end of local tennis, sixth-year coach Chuck Kriese is trying to turn things around at The Citadel. In recent years, the Bulldogs have struggled mightily just to be competitive.

The Citadel posted a 10-25 record in 2018, going winless in the Southern Conference. The Bulldogs entered this weekend’s matches in Florida with a 4-10 record.

They will open their home season and SoCon season next Saturday with a 1 p.m. match against Furman.

Senior Roy Hobson has won four of his last six matches at No. 1 singles for the Bulldogs, including a 6-4, 6-4 win over Georgia Tech’s Andrew Li, who is ranked 91st in NCAA singles.

Williams at Fed Cup

Local junior Sophie Williams is spending the weekend in Asheville, N.C., with the U.S. women’s Fed Cup team as one of four Team USA junior girls members selected to participate in the Fed Cup activities.

A left-hander who was All-Lowcountry in 2017 as a Porter-Gaud eighth-grader but now attends online schooling while training at the USTA national training center in Orlando, Fla., and with Martin Zumpft at Wild Dunes Resort, Williams was in a team photo from Asheville that included Madison Keys and the rest of the Fed Cup team along with Billie Jean King and Fed Cup coach Kathy Rinaldi.

“It was amazing to meet Billie Jean King. She spoke to us for an hour and a half, telling stories and giving us advice,” Williams said. “It has also been amazing to be with the USA pros and coach Rinaldi.”

LCTA’S cold start

I haven’t heard anyone who has been pleased with the Lowcountry Tennis Association’s cold start to the spring season.

Winter had just begun a few weeks when the spring season got under way in freezing or near-freezing weather. I thought it was bad that the men’s 18-plus 3.5 season started on Jan. 14, but some women’s team members put on their gloves and grabbed their rackets the week before that.

“Thank you for your comments in your column about the early spring season.  Our first match (women’s 3.5 18-plus night) was Jan. 10 when it was 44 degrees at the start of the match,” team captain Meghan Rowland wrote. “This Thursday night (Feb. 7) will be our fifth match of the season and the first with reasonable temperatures.

“It’s not easy playing tennis in gloves.  In the past, the season has ended sometime in April (typically we have the week of the Volvo Cup Open off), but this year it ends March 14.  It’s insane.”

Ladies 4.0 captain Stacey Berlin wrote: “It seems to me, something needs to be done so that we can still enjoy tennis and be competitive in Charleston.  Spring tennis should not begin in the winter month of January.”

Local notes

Alan Schmitt is the new boys tennis coach at Academic Magnet, taking over from Steve Percy, who directed the Raptors to the Class AA state title in 2018. The Raptors have their work cut out for them as they move up to Class AAA this spring to compete against perennial power Bishop England.

After a successful Junior Australian Open showing that included a runner-up finish with Chloe Beck of Watkinsville, Ga., in doubles, Emma Navarro is now the No. 22 junior in the world. Navarro is scheduled to play this year’s Junior French Open and Junior Wimbledon.

(02/07/19)  DERREK ASBERRY & ANDREW MILLER: Charleston’s Shelby Rogers to make WTA return at Volvo Car Open

Shelby Rogers’ return to the WTA Tour will be on familiar ground.

Rogers, a Charleston native, has received a wild card into the main draw of this year’s Volvo Car Open on Daniel Island set for March 30-April 7.

It will be Rogers’ first WTA tournament since injuring her knee at the BNP Paribas Open in March 2018.

“I am beyond excited for the opportunity to compete again at the Volvo Car Open this April,” said Rogers, who missed last year’s event. “Charleston is where it all began for me, so it is extra special to start my comeback here with the support and encouragement of my hometown, friends, and family.”

Rogers grew up in Charleston, where she trained at the Family Circle Tennis Center and participated in the ball crew program for the Volvo Car Open (formerly the Family Circle Cup).

“It’s heartbreaking to see an athlete sustain an injury that takes them out of their beloved sport,” said Eleanor Adams, the Volvo Car Open tournament manager. “Shelby has earned her wild card through hard work during recovery, all the while with a winning attitude. We can’t wait to see her back playing on her home courts.”

In 2010, Rogers made her debut in the Volvo Car Open tournament when she competed in its qualifying rounds. During the 2017 tournament, she reached the quarterfinals, defeating the No. 1 seed and playing in four thrilling matches, three of which were decided in three sets.

The 2019 Volvo Car Open will be Rogers’ ninth time competing in the tournament.

Meanwhile, three more players confirmed this week that they will compete in the tournament. American players Danielle Collins, Sofia Kenin and Amanda Anisimova will join a competitive field that already includes several of the top women’s tennis players in the world.

This will be Collins’ first time at the VCO. The 25-year-old is coming off a semifinal appearance in last month’s Australian Open, which lifted her to No. 23 in the world rankings.

Kenin, 20, will be playing in the Volvo Car Open for the third time. She’s coming off an already eventful 2019, including a doubles title and singles titles at two different WTA events. She is ranked No. 37 in the world.

Anismova, 17, will also be bringing a streak of success to the Volvo Car Open. She reached the fourth round of the  Australian Open. She is No. 59 in the world and the youngest player in the top 100.

The three players will join Sloane Stephens, the No. 4 ranked player in the world who won the Volvo Car Open in 2016. Also playing this year is No. 10 Carolina Wozniacki, who won the event in 2011.

Madison Keys, ranked 17th, has also committed to Volvo, along with a handful of other top-tier players.

The Volvo Car Open is the largest women’s-only tournament in North America, with an average attendance of 90,000 people.


(02/01/19)  DANIEL ISLAND NEWS: Grand Slam Donation

The Family Circle Tennis Center’s Annual Holiday Classic tournament, held in December of 2018, resulted in a grand slam donation to the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital. Recently, Family Circle Tennis Center Facility Director Rob Eppelsheimer and Membership Manager and Tournament Director Nancy Heinz presented a check for $33,500 to the hospital, representing the proceeds from the tournament, which was presented by Allstate Wally Burbage. Construction of the new children’s hospital began in August 2016 and is on schedule to be completed in the fall of 2019. Through the generosity of many, over 100 items on the Child Life Atrium Wish List were also delivered for distribution directly to patients undergoing treatment in the hospital.

“Thank you for helping imagine what’s possible through the Campaign for MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital, so many sick children will soon awaken in a new hospital,” stated Heinz.

Pictured left to right at the presentation are MUSC Children’s Hospital Child Life Manager Betsy McMillan, Eppelsheimer, Dr. Mark Scheuer, and Heinz.


(02/01/19)  CHARLESTON REGIONAL BUSINESS JOURNAL: Volvo Car Open announces new events and elevated attendees experiences for the 2019 tournament
The Volvo Car Open will add several new events and experiences for its 2019 tournament, scheduled March 30 – April 7 on Daniel Island in Charleston, South Carolina. In addition to its wide range of current on-and-off-court entertainment options, this year the Volvo Car Open is hosting a Gospel Brunch, immersive yoga event and enhanced Family Weekend. The tournament has also updated its dining experience to include a restaurant and sports bar on-site, as well in-seat food and beverage delivery via the Volvo Car Open’s app.

“Each year we look to expand our fan offerings both on and off the court,” said Bob Moran, Volvo Car Open Tournament Director. “The expanded Family Weekend, presented by MUSC Health, yoga event and Gospel Brunch will really bring to life our venue and facilities. All of our new events will be in high demand so I’m urging our fans to get their tickets!”

New events at the Volvo Car Open include:

Family Weekend presented by MUSC Health
Saturday, March 30 – Sunday, March 31
The tournament has elevated its Family Weekend to include two fun-filled days celebrating the best of the state of South Carolina. The weekend will offer a farmer’s market, beach with sand sculptures, state fair, ferris wheel, LEGO® building station, petting zoo, Fortnite-style obstacle course and much more. The event takes place during qualifying draw weekend and is free for kids 16 and under and $10 for adults. With admission, the tournament asks that Family Weekend-goers please bring a book to donate to 365Read, a Charleston program providing opportunities for students to read. To purchase tickets for Family Weekend, visit: http://volvocaropen.com/tickets/singlesessions/.

Golden: A State of Being Yoga Event
Saturday, April 6
New in 2019, Golden is an empowering and energizing yoga experience at the Volvo Car Open led by Charleston’s Sarah Frick and Ashley Cebulka. Attendees will have the opportunity to kick off the tournament’s finals weekend with mental and physical work to put them in touch with their golden core. Event-goers will tap into energizing ways to embrace transitions through both physical movement and mindset upgrades, so they can show up to any role in life being who they want to be. Tickets are $98 per person and include a general admission ticket to the Volvo Car Open’s semifinals. To purchase tickets for Golden, visit: http://volvocaropen.com/specialevents.

Gospel Brunch
Sunday, April 7
The Volvo Car Open will host a Gospel Brunch prior to its final matches on Sunday, April 7. The event will include performances by a world-renowned gospel choir and a menu featuring some of Charleston’s favorite dishes by two popular Lowcountry restaurants. The event will also feature a deluxe Bloody Mary and mimosa bar. Tickets are $115 and include a general admission ticket to the Volvo Car Open’s finals. To purchase tickets for the Gospel Brunch, visit: http://volvocaropen.com/specialevents.

In addition to the new events, this year the Volvo Car Open will also improve its food and beverage program for patrons. The tournament will build a rooftop restaurant, featuring food from Coastal Crust and Vintage Café, where attendees can make reservations to dine throughout the week. This restaurant will bring the hospitality experience known in Charleston to the Volvo Car Open. The tournament will also create a main dining hospitality tent, the Serve & Volley, providing a respite for attendees, with two prevalent Charleston restaurant concepts providing the catering. The Ultra Club sports bar will feature a lounge area with televisions, couches and shade, along with a myriad of drink options and food trucks. The tournament will share more information on the restaurant concepts and menus within the coming month.

“Our fans will find a very different experience on the dining front with expanded restaurant options on the Grand Lawn and two new destinations - the Ultra Club sports bar and a rooftop restaurant above our Merchandise Tent overlooking our main plaza,” said Moran.

The Volvo Car Open’s app will now allow patrons in both box and terrace seating to order food and beverage to their seats. The app is free to download and is the ultimate source for tournament information, keeping attendees up-to-date on the Volvo Car Open’s schedule and order of play. The app also allows for fans to follow their favorite player, view statistics and top news stories, participate in trivia to win fun prizes, interact with other attendees and much more.


(01/29/19)  Volvo Car Open partners with GUINOT Institut Paris on a premier level sponsorship for the 2019 tournament
The Volvo Car Open has partnered with GUINOT Institut Paris on a new premier level sponsorship for its 2019 tournament. GUINOT, a pioneering French cosmetic company with more than 400 locations worldwide, opened its first U.S. location in November 2018 in Mount Pleasant, SC.

The skincare company features highly specialized and professionally trained beauty therapists. They will be part of the Volvo Car Open’s style lounge, an area for players to relax and be pampered with facials or makeup applications in-between matches. Players will also have the opportunity to visit the flagship U.S. beauty center for additional services before and during the tournament.

“We’re very excited to have GUINOT join us as a sponsor this year,” said Bob Moran, Volvo Car Open President. “The relationship is a perfect marriage combining local activation and international exposure. We will help drive home the message that GUINOT chose Charleston to open their first U.S. beauty center. At the same time our 20 million viewers will see the GUINOT brand featured prominently on stadium court during our domestic and international broadcasts. In Charleston, we like to pamper our players and GUINOT will help us deliver an elevated beauty experience like no other!”

GUINOT hopes to create a Paris experience for the Volvo Car Open’s player field. The Charleston tournament is the kick-off to the clay court tennis season, which culminates at the French Open.

“It is with great pride that we have opened the first fully branded GUINOT Skin Care Salon in Mount Pleasant, offering the entire line of GUINOT treatments and products,” said Jean Baudrand, General Manager of GUINOT Carolinas. “The Volvo Car Open captures the essence of our brand by the quality of the tournament, the dedication of its staff, competitive spirit which animate the event, as well as its laser focus on the overall experience for the players and the fans. We could not think of a better partnership and look forward to the top tennis players in the world experiencing GUINOT.”

GUINOT has sponsored tennis players on the WTA and ATP since 2008, and recently partnered with the Miami Open as a 2018 tournament sponsor.

Founded more than 50 years ago in Paris by chemical engineer René Guinot, GUINOT’s approach to specialized skincare treatment reached a new level of innovation in the 1970’s when Jean-Daniel Mondin equated the process of giving skincare advice to that of pharmacists providing prescriptions. Now, the business model is based on the foundation of licensed estheticians, also known as beauty therapists, providing personalized client consultations and treatment prescriptions focused on the face and body and concentrating in anti-aging, firming, sun treatments and waxing.

Mount Pleasant’s GUINOT center is located at 1161 Oakland Market Road in The Market at Oakland shopping center and features four state-of-the-art treatment rooms with heated and fully adjustable beds. The Beauty Center specializes in world-renowned, age defying facials that focus on the face, eyes and neck including firming, cleansing, peeling, lifting and relaxation treatments. GUINOT is also highly sought-after for their body treatments—slimming anti-cellulite, body contouring, skin renewing exfoliation, self-tanning and thermo-relaxing—which range in price from $45-$125. The Beauty Center offers full-body Depilation (waxing), which is less painful than regular waxing and proven to last longer. Customers can also access a full line of cosmetic products and GUINOT’s unique makeup line, Master Colors.

With plans already underway to continue to further GUINOT’s exposure in South Carolina, Baudrand will open two additional beauty centers in the Charleston region in 2019, the first in Summerville’s Nexton community.

The nine-day Volvo Car Open is the largest women’s-only tennis tournament in North America and attracts an average of 90,000 attendees and more than 100 of the top singles and doubles tennis players.

Patrons have the option to choose from individual tickets, ticket packages and travel packages. Ticket prices range from $25 for an individual session to $540 for an all-inclusive weeklong package with complimentary access into a private hospitality suite. The Volvo Car Open also offers packages that include premium seats, ticket savings and membership into the tournament’s Ace Club.

For more information on the tournament and ticket options, visit volvocaropen.com or call 800.677.2293.

About GUINOT Institut Paris:
GUINOT Institut Paris, a pioneering skincare brand, was founded in France more than fifty years ago by renowned chemist René Guinot. Providing a focused approach to treating skin with Hydradermie, GUINOT’s skincare products have been developed utilizing cutting-edge science and technology, aiming to offer scientifically-proven results for women’s beauty. Highly-respected for their one-on-one skincare approach via “Beauty Therapists,” developed by Jean-Daniel Mondin, GUINOT’s areas of focus span the face, eyes and body and are heavily concentrated in anti-aging treatments. GUINOT is the number one professional brand in France and is also highly ranked in the UK and Ireland. Products can be found in more than 10,000 salons in 70 countries worldwide. The new Beauty Center at The Market at Oakland in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina serves as GUINOT’s first franchise location in the United States. For more information about GUINOT and the services offered in South Carolina, please visit http://www.GuinotCarolinas.com.
 
About the Volvo Car Open:
The Volvo Car Open is North America’s largest women’s-only tennis tournament. The event, formerly known as the Family Circle Cup, moved to Charleston, S.C., in 2001 from Hilton Head Island, S.C., and will celebrate its 47th tournament in 2019. The Volvo Car Open welcomes more than 90,000 spectators each year. The tournament features a singles draw of 56 players, a qualifying draw of 32 players and a doubles draw of 16 players. In conjunction with Tennis Channel and WTA Media, the Volvo Car Open is showcased from the first ball struck in main draw competition to the last ball played in finals, throughout the U.S. and 174 international partners. The tournament receives more than 100 hours of tennis; live from Charleston, broadcast across the globe to millions of fans. The tournament is operated by Charleston Tennis, LLC. For more information on the Volvo Car Open, visit http://www.VolvoCarOpen.com, call (800) 677-2293, email info@volvocaropen.com, Facebook (Volvo Car Open), Twitter (@VolvoCarOpen) or Instagram (VolvoCarOpen).


(01/27/19) SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE: ROGER LEE: Sports Briefs
Tennis social, oyster roast

The Town of Summerville’s sixth annual Tennis Social and Oyster Roast is scheduled for Feb 9.

The event will feature fellowship, tennis and all you can eat oysters. Participants should feel free to bring a side dish to share and beverages (no glass containers). Children are welcome.

The event begins at 5 p.m. and the oyster shucking is scheduled for 7 p.m. Cost is $15 per person prior to February 9. Pay by cash/check to Director of Tennis Nancy Sumersett or by credit/debit to the Town of Summerville Parks and Recreation office. For more information, call 843-851-5211.


(01/26/19)  PINE FOREST COUNTRY CLUB:  February 2019 Newsletter
From the Tennis Shop
Pine Forest Country Club Tennis is proud to offer a Junior Tennis Program.  We will begin this program the week of February 4-8. 

The following programs will be offered:
 
Junior Tennis Program
Lil Jrs. Monday/Wednesday 4:00-4:45 Pine Cone program- Exercise and socialize, all while learning the game of a lifetime.
This orange ball program is designed for ages 5-10 to learn the skills that build the foundation to their tennis development. We start with developing motor skills using coordination, movement and balance on court. Students will learn the first stages of tennis including introduction to strokes: forehand, backhand, serving, and court etiquette. Students also benefit from cooperative games that are both fun and tennis related.
Member/non member- 10/12 Per clinic
 
Beginner Jrs. Monday/Wednesday 4:45-6:00 Loblolly group- Get fit & make friends while learning a game that lasts a lifetime.
This program is designed for beginners, aged 11-18. Students will learn proper technique on ground strokes, volleys, overheads and serves. Program includes learning how to play, keep score, court etiquette and enjoy the game of tennis.  Footwork drills, play based games, and fitness will be included in the weekly training.
Member/non member- 15/20 Per clinic

Advanced Jrs. clinics- Tuesday/Thursday 4:00-5:30 Pitch Pine Group- Sharpen your tennis skills as well as fitness all while getting the most out of your tennis game.
This clinic is designed for high school and tournament players.  Geared for ages 11-18, advanced students will build on ground strokes, volleys, overheads and serves. The program includes competitive match play to refine strategic/technical skills, consistency and sportsmanship. Footwork drills and fitness will be included in the weekly training.
Member/non member- 15/20 per clinic

Saturday morning Jr. Stroke of the week- Sat. at 11 In this program, we'll work on a single stroke each week.  We will spend one hour to help with production and variations of the stroke.
15 drop in fee

Please let me know if there are any question. Contact me at 864-414-6836 or barry@pineforestcountryclub.com. I am looking forward to the start of these programs.
 
Barry Quinn
Director of Tennis
 
LTA NEWS
ANNUAL MEETING FOR ALL PINE FOREST TENNIS LADIES:
Sunday, January 27th - 5 PM
Kelley Johnson's Home  - 602 S. Main Street (Parking available at Azalea Courts)
Light Refreshments and Drinks will be provided.
 
ELECTIONS:  If you would like to nominate someone for an officer position for 2019, please email
racquetsforrecovery@gmail.com before January 27th.
 
SAVE THE DATE!   Saturday, March 9th - Ladies Tennis Party
Let's just say - saddle up -  it's going to be a "Rootin Tootin" Good Time!!
Details to follow soon


(01/26/19)  Beck and Navarro are local tennis heroes
Only six American girls tennis players participated in the main draw of the Junior Australian Open singles championships. Two of those six players had local connections. Emma Navarro and Chloe Beck even advanced to the doubles final.

That’s a big deal.

For Navarro and Beck, it was a huge event just to be eligible to show up for the main draw of this Junior Grand Slam. In reality, it could be compared to making a world version of a high school all-star team.

It’s really amazing that Charleston tennis has reached this stage of the game.

Just as almost no one would have bet on Beck and Navarro coming so close to winning a Junior Grand Slam Down Under, hardly anyone could have dreamed a decade ago that Charleston tennis would be where it is today.

Navarro and Beck should be welcomed home with a celebration, or celebrations, since Beck is from Watkinsville, Ga. They’re heroes.

Tennis isn’t a game of weaklings.

Has anyone seen 32-year-old Rafa Nadal play tennis lately? He’s as much of a phenomenon of an athlete as LeBron James. Seriously.

I admit I’m a tennis fan. You have to be to be awake to watch a televised 3:30 a.m. championship match in Australia. My dog’s name is Rafa.

I’m also a sports fan. Like any sports junkie, I watch almost all of the big sporting events on TV these days, and certainly tennis’ Grand Slams. I guess that comes from my journalism career with this newspaper that has taken me to many of the nation’s major sporting events as a columnist, nearly 20 Super Bowls and NCAA Final Fours, golf’s Masters, baseball’s all-star game, college football’s national championship, and, of course, tennis’ U.S. Open.

I know tennis is a truly great game played by phenomenal athletes whom, of course, I believe deserve a little more recognition than they sometimes receive.

As a result of what Navarro and Beck accomplished in the past week at the bottom of the world, the scope of local junior tennis is almost certain to shoot even further through the roof.

You can watch our local talent for free in such upcoming events as the pre-qualifying tournament for the qualifying tournament for the Volvo Car Open, spring’s $100K LTP women’s ITF tournament or this summer’s National Girls 18 Clay Courts.

Except for the March 30-31 VCO main qualifying tournament and the April 1-7 VCO main draw, all of these tournaments are free to the public. Navarro already has earned her spot in the VCO’s main draw by winning the national clay court singles title.

If you attend these events, maybe one day you will be able to say I saw the likes of Emma Navarro, Chloe Beck, Anna Ross, Allie Gretkowski, Lara Schneider, Sophie Williams and others when they were on their way up.

Of course, these local events are not tailored for junior boys due to the local emphasis created by the women’s Volvo Car Open. But the area has some great junior boys, too, the likes of former U.S. No. 1 Jared Pratt, Coy Simon, Huntley Allen and Max Smith to mention just a few.

You might have seen a non-local such as current Australian Open star Danielle Collins when she was runner-up in an LTP Tennis ITF event in 2017. Collins has now blossomed into one of the stars of the women’s game.

Local fans missed out on much of Shelby Rogers’ early success because the Junior Family Circle Cup was about the only local avenue to see Shelby on the rise. She admitted during her visit last summer with the Tennis Channel for the national clay courts that she was a little jealous of Navarro for being able to play so often in front of local audiences.

Of course, the chance to see many of our current stars will start running out in the next 18 months as Beck heads for Duke next fall and Navarro follows her to Duke a year later, while many of the other current local junior stars also will head off to college campuses.

Others are almost certain to follow in their footsteps. The golden age of tennis for Charleston may just be in its infancy because of forerunners such as Shelby Rogers and Emma Navarro.

TOO COLD FOR LCTA

There has been some controversy in local league tennis this year because the Lowcountry Tennis Association started its spring season in the middle of a cold winter. For instance, the 3.5 men started their season on Jan. 14 on a night of near-freezing temperatures.

League tennis players have little or no input into the matter as the schedule apparently comes down from state officials. Something needs to change. There is absolutely no reason why league tennis should start before the first week in February.

League tennis owes it to its participants to do a better job of scheduling and planning the year’s busy league schedule.

League officials may be trying to pack too many leagues into each year. Something has to give. It’s not fun for anyone to play in freezing temperatures.

LOCAL NOTES

-- The College of Charleston men’s and women’s tennis teams already have played several matches this season, and on Friday players from the 1960s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s participated in the annual alumni match at the Patriots Point Courts. The women are on a break until a Feb. 8 trip to Rock Hill to take on Winthrop. Starting Feb. 10, the women’s team is scheduled to play 13 straight home matches.

-- The popular Tri-County Elementary and Middle School Tennis League plans to start its season the week of March 4.

-- The Volvo Car Open is currently seeking volunteers for the VCO main draw and qualifying tournament. Volunteer applications are available online at http://events.trustevent.com/index.cfm?eid=3240.

-- VCO officials are excited that this year’s tournament will not be held the same week as Augusta’s Masters or Hilton Head Island’s Heritage Golf Classic . That could create a boost in attendance for the VCO.


(01/25/19)  Charleston’s Emma Navarro comes up short in doubles final of Junior Australian Open
Emma Navarro and Chloe Beck came up short in their bid to win their first Junior Grand Slam doubles title on Friday.

Playing in the girls doubles championship of the Junior Australian Open in Melbourne, the Americans lost to Adrienn Nagy of Hungary and Japanese left-hander Natsumi Kawaguchi 6-4, 6-4.

Beck and Navarro were semifinalists in the 2018 Junior U.S. Open and arrived in Australia as the eighth-seeded team. Their third try, probably at the upcoming Junior French Open, may be the one to reward them with a Junior Grand Slam title.

“In the end, it was a special week,” said LTP Tennis’ Peter Ayers, the coach for Navarro and Beck. “I would like to think both girls grew tremendously from the experience. We are extremely excited about what’s to come. Whenever you get that deep in a tournament, it’s a given the opposition will be really good.”

Nagy and Kawaguchi entered the tournament as the No. 3 seeds.

Kawaguchi's left-handed serves gave the Beck/Navarro team trouble as she yielded just two points in her first five service games. Beck and Navarro finally broke Kawaguchi in the ninth game of the second set to close to 5-4, but Navarro was broken right back in the no-ad 10th game to end the match.

Navarro, who lives in Charleston, and Beck, of Watkinsville, Ga., are both 17 and have committed to play for Duke.


(01/25/19)  KALEN OYER: Design the label for Volvo Car Stadium and Dockery’s new Daniel Island beer
Volvo Car Stadium, the Daniel Island music venue and tennis arena, is partnering with neighboring restaurant, bar and brewery Dockery’s for its craft beer distribution.

Dockery's, led by brewmaster Dustin Wilson, is launching a new, custom beer to be served at Volvo Car Stadium this summer. The brew, “No Fault,” is a light, golden ale with a 4.0% ABV, refreshingly designed for drinking at various outdoor events.

“We wanted to have a beer that was fresh and light, something from Charleston that would work both for the Volvo Car Open in the spring and our music series that begins just after the tournament,” says Bob Moran, tournament director at Volvo Car Open.

For its launch, the two organizations are hosting a design contest for the new craft beer’s label. The contest winner will receive art recognition on the can, along with $500 cash and tickets to the Volvo Car Open finals.

Entries should focus on what makes the Volvo Car Stadium popular, whether that’s tennis, concerts by popular touring bands or simply outdoor summer vibes.

“I love that our beer can will feature a local artist,” says brewmaster Wilson. “It’s going to be fun to see what people come up with to really highlight the stadium and the city.”

Contest entries must be submitted by 5 p.m. Feb. 22 though the web form at dockerysdi.com/contest. Rules and template requirements are posted there.

The official beer launch will be announced at a later date.


(01/23/19)  Andy Roddick among four former No. 1 men's tennis players coming to Volvo Car Stadium
Men's professional tennis returns to Volvo Car Stadium in April with four former world No. 1 players, including Andy Roddick.

Roddick, Jim Courier, Mats Wilander and Lleyton Hewitt will play in Charleston on April 6 as part of the Invesco Series, a competitive tennis circuit featuring some of the ATP’s former top-ranked players. The event features two semifinal matches, with the winners meeting in a final. The format is meant to be entertaining for fans with players calling their own scores and interacting with the crowd.

The action begins at 8:30 p.m. Earlier that day, the Volvo Car Open semifinals will be played on the same court.

“We truly enjoy our long running partnership with the Invesco Series,” said Bob Moran, President of Charleston Tennis, LLC. “It allows us to bring some of the best players who’ve played the game at the highest level to Charleston for our fans to experience. All four of these athletes are Grand Slam Champions, which will provide an amazing contest of talent and skill.”

Roddick, who holds 32 singles titles, won the 2003 U.S. Open and continues to be the most recent American male player to win a Grand Slam title. During his career, he also reached four other Grand Slam finals.

Sweden's Wilander is a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame. He won 33 singles titles in 220 tournaments.
Courier won four Grand Slam titles, two at the French Open and two at the Australian Open. He won 23 singles titles and spent a total of 58 weeks ranked World No. 1.

Hewitt is a two-time Grand Slam singles champion. He holds the record as the youngest male tennis player to be ranked World No. 1, which he achieved at just 20-years-old.

Tickets start at $30 for terrace level seating to the Volvo Car Stadium’s Invesco Series. A limited number of box seats are available.


(01/23/19)  Navarro rebounds from singles loss to advance with partner Chloe Beck to Junior Australian Open doubles semifinals
Losing a singles match you almost had won in the round of 16 of a Junior Grand Slam is one thing. Pumping yourself back up to go back out under the Melbourne, Australia, sun a few hours later to play a quarterfinal doubles match is another.

But Charleston's 17-year-old Emma Navarro came through in flying colors on Wednesday in the Junior Australian Open girls doubles quarterfinals, thanks greatly to her partner, Chloe Beck of Watkinsville, Ga., a part-time participant in LTP Tennis' Randy Pate Academy.

The eighth-seeded Beck/Navarro team advanced to their second straight Junior Grand Slam doubles semifinal with a victory Down Under on Wednesday.

Navarro appeared to have full control of her singles destiny for the day when she held a 6-3, 3-0 advantage over young and so far mistake prone Daria Snigur of Ukraine. A spot in the singles semifinals appeared to be well within Navarro's reach.

Navarro ended up losing, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2. And there was doubles still to go.

"Losing singles was super tough, especially after being up a set and 3-0 and then 4-3," Navarro said. "I stepped back a little and took some of the pace off of my shots, which allowed her (Snigur) to get comfortable and get to a place where she was playing really well."

Navarro fell victim to Snigur's rapid-fire baseline onslaught through most of the last 11 games.
Then it was time for Navarro to think about doubles.

"There was enough time between my singles and doubles to where I was able to regroup and get into a good mindset for doubles," Navarro said. "I knew I wouldn't be happy with myself if I carried the weight of my singles loss with me during doubles."

Beck and Navarro started slowly against the fourth-seeded team of Marta Custic of Spain and Helene Pellicano of Malta.
 
Beck and Navarro dropped the first set before winning the match in a 10-point third-set tiebreaker, 3-6, 6-2, 10-6.

"Having been in the semis of a Grand Slam before, I think we're pretty comfortable and excited going into tomorrow's match," said Navarro, who teamed with Beck to make the doubles semifinals of the 2018 Junior U.S. Open.

Beck and Navarro will face an unseeded team of Daria Frayman of Russia and Federica Rossi of Italy in a Thursday afternoon quarterfinal.

Peter Ayers, who coaches Navarro full-time in the Pate Academy and also coaches Beck in road tournaments, said, "I'm so proud of both girls. Emma's loss in singles was about as difficult to swallow as it gets. Her resolve to bounce back and play great doubles was a special effort."

Ayers was especially impressed by Beck's doubles play. “Chloe really hung in mentally when things didn't go her way," he said. "Arguably (she) had the play of the match in winning an amazing reflex volley exchange that set up match point."


(01/22/19)  Navarro falls in Junior Australian Open singles round of 16
Emma Navarro's dreams of winning a Junior Australian Open singles title came to an end on Wednesday Down Under as Ukraine's Daria Snigur rallied for a 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Navarro in the round of 16.

But Navarro and partner Chloe Beck remained alive in the chase for a doubles crown after advancing to the quarterfinals on Tuesday with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over the Japanese team of Mana Kawamura and Funa Kozaki in 69 minutes.

"Our opponents were very aggressive at the net, which put pressure on us at the baseline," Navarro said about the doubles win. "We started hitting it down the line more and using lobs, which were really effective.

"We served well and were able to close out a lot of games with big serves and put away volleys."
The Duke-bound Beck/Navarro team, which was scheduled to play a quarterfinal doubles match later Wednesday, made the semifinals of in the 2018 Junior U.S. Open.

In the singles loss, Navarro charged through nine of the first 12 games and appeared on her way to a berth in the quarterfinals of the tournament played in Melbourne, Australia, as the 17-year-old from Charleston took a 6-3, 3-0 lead under the midday sun.

But just as quickly as that thought became a possibility, the gritty Snigur turned into a baseline wonder with her unorthodox ground strokes and half-motion serves. She started controlling play from the baseline and won the next four games.

Navarro came back to deadlock the second set at 4-4 before Snigur regained control to yield only one point in the next two games to even the match at a set apiece. The third set belonged to the 16-year-old from Ukraine.


(01/22/19)  USTA Southern: Award Winners, Champions and Australian Open Competitors
Greensboro, NC, native John Inser leads the contingent of Southern natives and residents competing in the 2019 Australian Open. Three girls are in the main singles draw.

Girls' singles (ITF world rankings as of Jan. 7)

    No. 39 Emma Navarro (pictured on the left in the above photo), Charleston, SC, defeated Jiaqi Wang in the first round 6-2, 6-2 and Himari Soto of Japan in the second round 6-1, 6-3.She will face Daria Snigur in the thrid round. Navarro and Beck are seeded No. 8 in girls' doubles and have moved into the quarterfinals versus the fourth seeds, Marta Custic and Helene Pellicano. The Southern pair defeated Anttila/Grishuk 6-4, 6-4 in the opening round and Kawamura/Kozaki  6-3, 6-4 in the second.
    No. 58 Chloe Beck, (pictured on the right in the above photo), Watkinsville, GA. Canadian Leylah Annie Fernandez defeated her in the opening round.
    No. 71 Kylie Collins, Savannah, GA, She lost to the second-seed, Qinwen Zheng, in the first round to 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4. She is playing doubles with American Kacie Harvey but they were eliminated in the first round.

Singles main draw players (with their rankings as of Jan. 7) are:

    No. 81 Ryan Harrison, a native of Shreveport, LA, eliminated Jiri Vesely in the first round 6-0, 7-5, 6-3. He faces the 15-th seed, Daniil Medvedev beat him 6-3, 6-3, 6-3  in the second round. He is teamed with Sam Querrey and they won their first three doubles matches. They are scheduled to face Lukasz Kubot and Haracio Zeballos in the quarters.
    No. 48 Alison Riske, Nashville, TN, who just reached the final of the Shenzhen, drew the ninth-seed, Kiki Bertens, in the first round. Bertens won 6-3, 6-3. Riske is playing doubles with Jennifer Brady. and they advanced to the third round and defeated Nicole Melichar and Kveta Peschke, the fourth seeds, 6-3, 6-4. They took down the seventh-seeds, Chinese Taipei's Chan sisters, in the quarterfinals. Next up in the semis are Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic, seeded second.
    No. 63 Tennys Sandgren, Gallatin, TN, fell to Yoshihito Nishioka 6-4, 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4 in the opening round. Sandgren and Mackenzie McDonald and set to play Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin in the opening round.
    No. 94 Taylor Townsend, Atlanta, lost 6-4, 6-2 to US Open champion Sloane Stephens in the opening round. She is playing doubles with Aliaksandra Sasnovich. They reached the third round but fell to the seven-seeded Chan sisters 7-5, 7-5.
    No. 10 John Inser, a native of Greensboro, NC, faced Reiley Opelka in the first round. In one of the biggest upsets of the first day, Opelka won 7-6(4), 7-6(6), 6-7(4), 7-6(5).
    No. 171 Christopher Eubanks, Atlanta: Qualified but lost to 19 seed, Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia (the other Georgia!), in the main draw first round 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-3. He defeated the second-seeded qualif player Felix Auger-Aliassime in the second qualifying round.

Men's singles qualifying (with their rankings as of Jan. 7). Both lost in first round of qualifying.

    No. 232 Donald Young, Atlanta
    No. 242 Christian Harrison, a native of Shreveport, LA


(01/21/19)  Navarro advances to round of 16 at Junior Australian Open
Charleston’s Emma Navarro has advanced to the round of 16 of the Junior Australian Open.

In Tuesday’s second round match, the 17-year-old LTP Tennis star started red-hot again, cooled down in the middle of the second set while dropping a rare back-to-back service games, but came back with a solid break and then held serve at love to put away 16-year-old Himari Sato of Japan 6-1, 6-3 in 74 minutes under the midday sun in Melbourne, Australia.

The victory sends Navarro into a round of 16 matchup with Daria Snigur of Ukraine. Navarro and partner Chloe Beck also are in the round of 16 in doubles.

Navarro was solid for most of the match from the baseline and overwhelmed the smaller Japanese girl with her serve except for those two service breaks in the second set. Navarro served up three aces and took advantage of six double faults by Sato.

“I’m really happy with how I played today,” Navarro said. “I played really good defense throughout the match, which I thought made the difference.

“I also mixed in some offensive points which kept her off balance. She was quick side to side, but I was able to move her around and make her uncomfortable.”

Navarro controlled the match by winning 23 return points to just nine by her opponent. Sato had 24 unforced errors to 16 by Navarro.

Navarro coach Peter Ayers was impressed, too. “Emma performed beautifully. Do not be misled by the score,” Ayers said.

“Her opponent played good tennis. Emma was just better today. I’m especially pleased with her serving, point structure and overall grit. When Emma plays like that, it takes a big effort to beat her.”

Navarro and Beck of Watkinsville, Ga., opened doubles play on Monday with a solid 6-4, 6-4 win over 16-year-old left-hander Skyler Grishuk of Los Angeles and Alexandra Anttila of Finland.

Navarro held service throughout the match, delivering aces to close out the sixth game of each set for 4-2 leads. Navarro also finished off each set by holding service at 40-30 in the 10th game of each set.

“The girls we played had good ground strokes and serves,” Navarro said. “They both hit pretty hard and flat, which made it tough on Chloe and me at the baseline. We won a few big deuce points, though, and we were able to close out the match pretty comfortably.”

The eighth-seeded Duke-bound Beck/Navarro team, which advanced to the Junior U.S. Open semifinals in 2018, was scheduled to play a round of 16 doubles match later Tuesday.


(01/21/19)  PINE FOREST COUNTRY CLUB: Junior Tennis Program
Pine Forest Country Club Tennis is proud to offer a Junior Tennis Program.  We will begin this program the week of February 4-8.  The following programs will be offered:
 
Junior Tennis Program
Lil Jrs. Monday/Wednesday 4:00-4:45 Pine Cone program- Exercise and socialize, all while learning the game of a lifetime.

This orange ball program is designed for ages 5-10 to learn the skills that build the foundation to their tennis development. We start with developing motor skills using coordination, movement and balance on court. Students will learn the first stages of tennis including introduction to strokes: forehand, backhand, serving, and court etiquette. Students also benefit from cooperative games that are both fun and tennis related.
Member/nonmember- 10/12 Per clinic
 
Beginner Jrs. Monday/Wednesday 4:45-6:00 Loblolly group- Get fit and make friends while learning a game that lasts a lifetime.
This program is designed for beginners, aged 11-18. Students will learn proper technique on ground strokes, volleys, overheads and serves. Program includes learning how to play, keep score, court etiquette and enjoy the game of tennis.  Footwork drills, play based games, and fitness will be included in the weekly training.
     Member/nonmember- 15/20 Per clinic

Advanced Jrs. clinics- Tuesday/Thursday 4:00-5:30 Pitch Pine Group- Sharpen your tennis skills as well as fitness all while getting the most out of your tennis game.
This clinic is designed for high school and tournament players.  Geared for ages 11-18, advanced students will build on ground strokes, volleys, overheads and serves. The program includes competitive match play to refine strategic/technical skills, consistency and sportsmanship. Footwork drills and fitness will be included in the weekly training.
Member/nonmember- 15/20 per clinic

Saturday morning Jr. Stroke of the week- Sat. at 11 In this program, we'll work on a single stroke each week.  We will spend one hour to help with production and variations of the stroke.
15 drop in fee

Please let me know if there are any questions. Contact me at 864-414-6836 or barry@pineforestcountryclub.com. I am looking forward to the start of these programs.
 
Barry Quinn
Director of Tennis


(01/16/19)  DANIEL ISLAND NEWS: Volvo Car Open partners with Universal Tennis for qualifying wild card tournament
Winner to receive entry into the WTA Premiere event’s qualifying field

The Volvo Car Open has partnered with Universal Tennis on a qualifying wild card tournament, with the winner receiving entry into the WTA Premiere event’s qualifying player field.

The tournament, hosted February 28 – March 3, 2019 at the Family Circle Tennis Center on Daniel Island, will include a 32-player draw. Players will be seeded based on their Universal Tennis Rating (UTR) Powered by Oracle. This unique event will provide the opportunity for any female tennis player with a UTR of 11+ to compete for a spot in the professional tennis tournament.

UTR Powered by Oracle is the only global tennis rating system that compares all players, regardless of age, gender, or geography across a single, unified scale. The system is growing quickly worldwide and is being adopted by players, coaches, academies, colleges, clubs and organizers as the most reliable way to measure tennis skill level. The MyUTR engagement platform features a fully integrated event and tournament management system, where tennis events are organized around player UTRs to facilitate competitive, level-based play.

“We look forward to partnering with the Volvo Car Open to create a new opportunity for talented players to play to qualify for the main draw of the tournament,” said Mark Leschly, Universal Tennis Chairman & CEO. “We will also be working closely with the venue to create more compelling year-round opportunities for level-based competition for players of all levels.”

The tournament match play format will consist of two out of three sets, with a match tiebreak for the third.

“We are very excited to create an official partnership with UTR by hosting a wild card event for a spot in our qualifying draw of the 2019 Volvo Car Open,” said Bob Moran, Volvo Car Open Tournament Director. “However, this relationship will go far beyond this event. UTR provides the most accurate and real-time assessment of a player’s ability. It cuts through gender and age to provide a vehicle for men and women to player together and juniors to play with adults based on their UTR rating. We, as a year-round venue, find great value in being able to create and cultivate an even more close-knit community of tennis players. UTR will truly provide a standard for all players!”

The nine day Volvo Car Open is the largest women’s-only tennis tournament in North America and attracts an average of 90,000 attendees and more than 100 of the top singles and doubles tennis players. Its 2019 field features seven of the top 25 players in the world, including Caroline Wozniacki, Sloane Stephens and Kiki Bertens.

Patrons have the option to choose from individual tickets, ticket packages and travel packages. Ticket prices range from $25 for an individual session to $540 for an all-inclusive weeklong package with complimentary access into a private hospitality suite. The Volvo Car Open also offers packages that include premium seats, ticket savings and membership into the tournament’s Ace Club.

The Ace Club is a program for package holders that provides unparalleled amenities and benefits during the tournament, including private bag storage, invitations to the “Selection Party,” a tournament poster, incentive membership cards and much more. In addition, members have the option to opt-in for Ace Lounge access, an exclusive hospitality location providing first-class amenities like live entertainment, air-conditioning, elevated food options and more.

For more information on the tournament and ticket options, visit volvocaropen.com or call (800) 677-2293. To sign up for the VCO wild card qualifying event, visit the event page at https://www.myutr.com/events/889.


(01/12/19)  Emma Charney is a junior to keep an eye on
Emma Charney is another talented local junior tennis player to watch, having risen to the South’s No. 3 girls 16 player.

The 15-year-old just brought home runner-up honors from girls 16 doubles in the USTA’s Winter Nationals in Orlando, Fla. She also was a quarterfinalist in singles.

And her younger sister, 13-year-old Piper, ventured out to Tucson, Ariz., to bring a Winter Nationals girls 14 doubles runner-up medal back to the Charney home. Piper played doubles in Tucson with new LTP Tennis academy player Alice Otis.

If you haven’t heard much about the Charneys before, the family has been residing locally for some time while the two sisters trained at LTP Tennis’ Randy Pate Academy, but Emma Charney said the family recently sold their home in the Louisville suburbs of Prospect, Ky., and purchased a home East of the Cooper.

Their dad, Jason Charney, is a sports agent whose work travels with him. “Dad can work from anywhere,” Emma said.

Both Emma and Piper attend the LTP Scholars academy at LTP Tennis. “Emma came here with her mother to attend the academy two and a half years ago, and Piper came last year,” Randy Pate said.

“Piper wanted to finish middle school in Louisville,” Emma pointed out.

“We had three really good girls in Louisville. I played with a girl from there (Carrie Billman) in the Winter Nationals. We use to play together every day in Louisville.

“But we have a lot of good girls here (at the Pate Academy).”

Counting the Charneys and Otis, five Charleston area junior girls brought home runner-up awards in doubles from the Winter Nationals. Anna Ross and Allie Gretkowski took second place in girls 18 doubles.

Emma Charney loves the Charleston weather. “Louisville is very cold. We played indoors there all year except for summer,” she said.

She also is high on the Pate Academy, which appears to have an almost endless line of outstanding junior girls. “Randy Pate is a really good academy. They are always teaching us new skills and things to do,” she said.

“We always have very intense practices at LTP.”

The Charneys got into tennis in the Louisville area because as Emma said, “Tennis was popular in my community and our parents wanted us to play something. I want to go to college (and play tennis) at a really good Division I school.”

The Charney girls took up tennis at about the same time when Emma was eight years old, so Piper was “a little further along” age-wise when they enrolled at the Pate Academy.

“Emma is really good. Her biggest qualities are elite speed and an unbelievable backhand,” Pate said.

In other impressive results for local juniors in the Winter Nationals, Max Smith and partner took third place in boys 16 doubles, Coy Simon made the round of 16 in boys 18 singles and teamed up with Huntley Allen to advance to the quarterfinals in boys 18 doubles, and Ross and Gretkowski both made the round of 16 in girls 18 singles.

UTR VCO EVENT COMING

There is a great deal of debate currently over tennis rankings and ratings. I have no problem with the WTA and ATP rankings, but after that there appears to be a lot of disparity in the junior, adult and senior rankings all the way from the state to international rankings.

And league tennis probably has the most controversial rankings of all. From self-rated to computer-rated, the National Tennis Rating Program needs an overhaul or a complete abandonment. The Universal Tennis Rating system might be the answer.

Meanwhile, the Volvo Car Open is partnering with UTR in a pre-qualifying wild card tournament. The event is scheduled for Feb. 28-March 3 at Family Circle Tennis Center.

“You have to have a UTR rating,” said VCO tournament director Bob Moran.

The tournament is looking for an 11-plus UTR rating as the entry level for the 32-draw event, which will send its winner into the VCO qualifying tournament that will be held the weekend prior to the start of the Premiere Level WTA Tour tournament main draw on Monday, April 1.

UTR Powered by Oracle is the only global tennis rating system that compares all players, regardless of age, gender, or geography across a single, unified scale.

“UTR ignores gender and age,” said Moran, who has been a fan of the UTR system for some time.

Moran is excited about the breakthrough locally, but insisted, “This relationship will go far beyond this event. UTR provides the most accurate and real-time assessment of a player’s ability. It cuts through gender and age to provide a vehicle for men and women to play together and juniors to play with adults based on their UTR rating.”

Several local juniors might pass the 11-plus rating criteria for the tournament. Of course, U.S. No. 1 girls 18 Emma Navarro already is in the VCO main draw as the result of the national girls 18 clay court singles championship she won last summer at LTP Tennis.

And Randy Pate said, “Anna (Ross) is already at 11.3, and Allie (Gretkowski) and Lara (Schneider) are right at it. Emma (Charney) has a good chance at getting there.”

Ross (girls 18), Schneider (girls 16), Sophie Williams (girls 14), Coy Simon (boys 18) and Max Smith (boys 16) still hold No. 1 Southern rankings in the first rankings of 2019.

LTP SCHOLARS

What are the LTP Scholars?

They make up an online school at LTP Tennis that has eight tutors and a headmaster, former Ashley Hall School teacher of the year Jean Bartlett. Sixteen Pate Academy players have received or committed to colleges since 2016, according to Pate.

Full-time players at the Randy Pate Academy simply leave the facility’s tennis courts at 10:30 a.m., and head for a classroom building behind the clubhouse.  There, they have classes until 3:30 p.m. There’s no wasted time for these success-driven young men and women who have their sights on playing college tennis, usually not at just a small college but at a high-caliber major college such as Duke, Vanderbilt, Virginia and others.

Would you expect anything less from an academy that is associated with LTP owner Ben Navarro, the founder of the Meeting Street Schools and owner of the Volvo Car Open.

FENNO DEFERS TO FALL

Former Porter-Gaud star Brant Fenno will not attend college at Wake Forest this school year after undergoing surgery for a chest deformity last June, according to his father, Edward Fenno.

“He (Brant) is deferring until fall. His chest operation was a big success, but he still has some work to do on his tennis to get it to where he would like it before going to Wake Forest,” Edward Fenno said. “So, he asked them (Wake Forest) for one more semester off, and they granted it.”

NAVARRO DOWN UNDER

Emma Navarro lost a three-set match to 15th seed Loudmilla Bencheikh of Paris’ Roland Garros training group in the round of 16 on Saturday in the Junior ITF Grade 1 AGL Loy Yang Traralgon Junior International in Australia.

Navarro is scheduled to play in the Junior Australian Open which runs Jan. 19-26 in Melbourne.


(01/09/19)  SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE: LETTER: Don't renew contract of town administrator
To the Editor: Town Administrator Colin Martin is asking the Summerville Town Council to renew his $139,000 contract for another year in January. Before granting a renewal, the council should review what he has accomplished for the last two years. In 2015, voters elected Mayor Wyley Johnson to streamline and innovate our public services. The town council decided to transfer much of that authority to a town administrator, Colin Martin and to give the rest to themselves. So, Mr. Martin, not the mayor, should be held to account.

Let’s review some of the low points.

• Mr. Martin escalated a minor conflict between volunteer tennis instructor James Martin and the town tennis pro concerning access to Doty Tennis courts into a trespass ban on James Martin and his minority students, unnecessarily raising racial tensions. Town Administrator Martin then tried to justify his mismanagement with a council resolution condemning tennis pro James Martin.


(01/03/19)  VOLVO CAR OPEN: 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko and World No. 12 Elise Mertens join VCO field
2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko and World No. 12 Elise Mertens will compete in the Volvo Car Open, the WTA tournament scheduled for March 30 – April 7 on Daniel Island in Charleston, South Carolina. Ostapenko was a 2017 Charleston finalist, however the 2019 tournament will mark the first time Mertens has competed in the Lowcountry. With the addition of Mertens and Ostapenko, the field features seven of the world’s top 25 tennis players, including Caroline Wozniacki, Sloane Stephens, Kiki Bertens, Julia Goerges and Madison Keys.

“Both Jelena and Elise are welcome additions to our 2019 field,” said Eleanor Adams, Volvo Car Open Tournament Manager. “Jelena had a fantastic run the first time she played in Charleston, and with Elise’s sensational season, we’re really looking forward to watching their talents on display come April.”

Currently ranked World No. 22, Ostapenko kicked off her 2018 season by making the finals of the Miami Open, a WTA premier mandatory event. With her success in Miami, she achieved a career-high ranking of World No. 5. From there, the 21-year-old reached the semifinals in Wimbledon and the quarterfinals in Stuttgart, Rome and Eastbourne.

In her Volvo Car Open debut, Ostapenko reached the Charleston finals, losing to Daria Kasatkina in the first all-teen WTA final in nine years. Immediately following her success in Charleston, she captured her first Grand Slam title at the 2017 French Open. She became the first Latvian player to win a Grand Slam tournament and the first unseeded women’s champion at the French Open since 1933.

“I fought my way to the finals in 2017 and didn’t get the title I wanted, so I’m eager to return and give it all I’ve got,” said Ostapenko.

Mertens began her 2018 season by becoming the first woman to win back-to-back titles in Hobart. She also captured two additional titles this year, both on clay, in Lugano and Rabat.

The 23-year-old Mertens reached the fourth round in the French Open and US Open and the semifinals of the Australian Open this year, her best Grand Slam finish to date. She also reached the quarterfinals in Tianjin, Cincinnati and Montreal and the semifinals in San Jose. Due to her success, the Belgian qualified for the WTA Elite Trophy tournament for the first time in her career. Mertens impressively held a 14-2 win/loss record on clay this season, losing only twice on the surface, both to World No. 1 Simona Halep.

“I had an incredible season and I am already looking forward to playing again next year and adding the Volvo Car Open to my 2019 schedule,” said Mertens. “I’ve only heard great things about the tournament and I am excited to explore Charleston and meet new fans.”

In addition to her three singles titles in 2018, Mertens also won four doubles titles and qualified for the WTA Finals in doubles. She is currently ranked World No. 11 in doubles. She is one of just two players ranked in the top 15 for singles and doubles.

Three players in the Volvo Car Open’s current field are also Grand Slam champions, including Wozniacki (Australian Open), Stephens (US Open) and Ostapenko (French Open).

The nine day Volvo Car Open is the largest women’s-only tennis tournament in North America and attracts an average of 90,000 attendees and more than 100 of the top singles and doubles tennis players.

Patrons have the option to choose from individual tickets, ticket packagesand travel packages. Ticket prices range from $25 for an individual session to $540 for an all-inclusive weeklong package with complimentary access into a private hospitality suite. The Volvo Car Open also offers packages that include premium seats, ticket savings and membership into the tournament’s Ace Club.

The Ace Club is a program for package holders that provides unparalleled amenities and benefits during the tournament, including private bag storage, invitations to the “Selection Party”, a tournament poster, incentive membership cards and much more. In addition, members have the option to opt-in for Ace Lounge access, an exclusive hospitality location providing first-class amenities like live entertainment, air-conditioning, elevated food options and more.