Ginepri, Isner to Face Off in Marietta
Tennis fans have the opportunity to see Georgia’s Robby Ginepri take on fellow American John Isner in a singles showdown at the Marietta CC on March 6. It was just this past January when the two faced off for the first time on the ATP Tour at the Heineken Open in New Zealand. Isner, ranked No. 139, pulled out the win in a tight three set match 6-5, 6-7(1), 7-6(5) over 44th-ranked Ginepri.
“It should be a very exciting rematch,” said event promoter Trevor Short. “It’s just great to be able to bring an event with players of this caliber to tennis fans in Marietta. It really will be a great event for the whole family.”
Ginepri, once ranked No. 15, is the fifth highest ranked American on the ATP Tour. Isner is well known to many Georgians as a driving force behind the Georgia Bulldogs ‘07 National Championship team. The Marietta Slam, presented by North Point Volvo, also features an afternoon kids clinic with both Isner and Ginepri. The two players will then face off in a singles matchup starting at 6 p.m. Two local pros will join the duo for some doubles following the singles match. Fans can also purchase tickets to a special post-match VIP event with Ginepri, Isner and other local celebrities. For ticket info, visit tandsevents.com.
USTA Atlanta Gearing Up For Spring
USTA Atlanta is gearing up for another busy spring season. More than 114,000 adult and senior players take part in USTA League play with USTA Atlanta hosting the largest USTA League in the country.
There are several playing levels that range from beginner to the more advanced player. Registration is still underway for several divisions like the spring Combo Doubles, Business and Weekday Senior Women and the Super Senior League. For info, visit ustaatlanta.com.
Crooked Creek Named GPTA Program of Year
The Georgia Professional Tennis Association (GPTA) recently named Alpharetta’s Crooked Creek Tennis and its Silvia Tennis Academy the ‘08 Program of the Year.
Heather Silvia claims she got “lucky” landing the position at Crooked Creek over 10 years ago.
“I was in the right place at the right time,” said Silvia. After playing for four years of at Valdosta State University, she returned to Atlanta and soon found herself waiting tables at Houston’s and working at the Nike Tennis Camp at Emory University. Initially, the Dennis Ralston Academy hired her to teach a few hours a week. She was then offered the position at Crooked Creek.
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With the clipboard in hand, she managed to get a few dozen pros to answer her questions and give her advice. When she wasn’t camping out at local tennis complexes, she was putting up signs around Crooked Creek to promote business: “FREE PRIVATE LESSONS” and “FREE KIDS DAY THIS SATURDAY!” By the time she was 28, she founded the Silvia Tennis Academy.
USTA Serves Awards Grants to online casino Two Metro-Atlanta Tennis Organizations
Two metro Atlanta organizations are getting some financial support from USTA Serves. The Atlanta Youth Tennis Foundation and Tennis in the ‘Hood will get $15,000 each to support the continued development of their programs.
USTA Serves is a philanthropic and charitable entity of the USTA which supports programs that promote both tennis and education to better the lives of disadvantaged children.
The Atlanta Youth Tennis Foundation has grown to include more than 3,000 children at 25 sites since it first began in ‘88. The grant will help support the foundation’s After School Youth Development and Summer Programs which work to provide a safe haven for children and offer tennis instruction, tournament scholarships, educational mentoring and homework assistance.
Tennis in the ‘Hood, based in Fayetteville, works to bring tennis and educational programs to children in the South Metro Atlanta area for little or no cost to participants. To date the program has reached more than 3,000 children. Both organizations have garnered strong support from the tennis community and neighborhoods alike.
“It’s extremely rewarding to see how programs across the country are using USTA Serves funding to help children improve academically and learn positive life skills which will help them grow to be healthy, productive adults,” said Karen Martin-Eliezer, Chief Executive, USTA Serves.
Oudin Comes Up Big In Fed Cup Debut
Chalk up another first for rising American junior turned pro Melanie Oudin. The 17-year-old Marietta native scored a come from behind win during her inaugural Fed Cup appearance. Oudin, ranked No. 147 in the world, was part of the U.S. team to claim victory over Argentina in the Fed Cup quarters in Surprise, Ariz., Feb.7-8. She lost her Saturday match against No. 44-ranked Gisela Dulko. Then when she stepped on the court for her second match on Sunday the pressure was on to keep the U.S. in it.
“I definitely had a lot of pressure because I knew if I lost then we would lose,” Oudin said.
She lost the first set to Argentina’s Betina Jozami, ranked No. 132, but then rallied after a 30-minute rain delay to win 2-6, 6-1, 6-2.
“In the second I came out a lot stronger,” said Oudin. “I was going for my shots more and I was just trying to stay patient, waiting for the right ball and making her play a lot more balls. It started getting a lot closer and I believed I could beat her.”
Oudin’s win tied the teams and forced a deciding doubles match. Americans Lizel Huber and Julie Ditty downed Dulko and Jozami 6-2, 6-3 to clinch the U.S. victory 3-2 much to the delight of captain Mary Joe Fernandez. The U.S. now advances to the World Group semis, where it will face the Czech Republic.
City Budget Crisis Could Hamper Court Time
The growing shortfall in the city of Atlanta budget is now threatening to cause more reductions in public tennis facilities. Staff and hour reductions have already been implemented at staffed city tennis facilities. Now there is concern those cuts could soon be even deeper.
“There’s cuts all over the place,” said a city employee who asked to remain anonymous. “They’re closing fire stations, furloughing police, they’ve already cut parks and [recreation] jobs, but I don’t think they get how important it is for people to have a place to get away from all the negative stuff. People still need a place they can go and have fun.”
Mayor Shirley Franklin and other city officials have already warned that if they need to and if the city deficit keeps slipping deeper into the red more cuts could come and they could hit anywhere.
For the latest in operating hour changes at city tennis facilities players are encouraged to call the facilities directly. A complete list of facilities can be found atatlantaga.gov under parks and recreation.