Atlanta News – May 2009

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Windward Ho!: Charity Event Seeks to Aid World's Children

Organizers are hoping for a big turnout to help raise money for a charity tennis event benefiting the U.S. and three other countries through the non-profit organization Anatta.

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span> The Annual Tennis Tournament and Silent Auction is scheduled for May 2 at Windward Lake Club. The club, nestled in the Windward community of Alpharetta, is a full service swim and tennis facility that offers a comprehensive recreational program including professional instruction, league competition, and various social events.

“We expect a fun filled afternoon of tennis and socializing to raise awareness for the work Anatta is doing for children around the world,” said Gabriela Rowland, one of the event organizers.

Participants will be broken down into four groups of 16 people, each representing a country. They will then play for points to find the winners. The afternoon event also features a pro challenge, silent auction, chair massages, prizes and food.

The entry fee to play is $100 per individual, $150 per couple, and $15 per spectator with all the proceeds going to Anatta.

“This event couldn’t happen if wasn’t for the help of Marcus Rutsche-Director of Adult Programming,” said Rowland. “[He’s] a great believer of helping others.”

Anatta is a small non-profit organization, which focuses on helping children in need around the world and in the U.S. The group has created and implemented several programs and medical equipment deliveries thanks to the support of friends, family and donors. Among this year’s projects, to provide an ambulance for a medical clinic that sees in excess of 300 births a year and educational projects in the U.S.

“We just want to bring a little awareness to what’s happening in the United States and other countries in the world,” said Gabriela Rowland. “This is a way for us to be able to help.”

Last year’s luncheon and silent auction raised more than $8,000 which was used to build bathroom facilities for an underprivileged school in Peru, provide uniforms to an entire village of children so that they could attend school. Funds raised also helped get some much-needed basic equipment into a local medial clinic in the region. The organization is also working build a kitchen for a school in the jungles of Peru that can feed 300 children a day. Anatta is also arranging medical supplies for some areas of Thailand and Nepal.

For more info, visit windwardlakeclub.com and anattaoutreach.org.

Senior Tournament Expects Huge Draw

Cherokee Town and CC is getting ready to host an impressive field of national and even some international players for the annual Atlanta Senior Invitational Championships.

The tournament features more senior national players than any other tournament in the country according to Beth Clay, director of tennis at the club. There are nine age divisions for the men’s event, which runs May 6-10. The age divisions range from 30s-70s by five-year increments. Each draw contains 16 players, but in some cases there will be qualifying rounds to get into those draws.

“It’s an exceptional tournament with some of the finest players in the country,” said Clay. “It’s a great event for people to come out and see a really impressive field of players and some really great tennis.”

The tournament, now in its 19th year, was started by a group a players to bring top national players to face the strong field of players in Atlanta. Now it has grown into a Category 2 ITF event with both men’s singles and doubles event.

For more information on the match schedule for the tournament go to www.USTA.com and look for Atlanta Senior National Championships.

Summer Camps Not Just For Kids Anymore

The fast approaching end of the school year means many parents will soon be putting their kids in a variety of summer camps. All across Georgia, tennis camps attract hundreds and even thousands of kids to the tennis courts. Now a popular camp for kids is offering some adult options too.

Each year, kids hit the tennis courts for the Ramblin’ Wreck Junior Tennis Camp at Georgia Tech. This year there’s a new experience for those that are kids at heart, but adults in age.

“We wanted to give the adult players a high intensity collegiate tennis experience, said Josh Hausman, one of the organizers. “It’s a way to really get them ready for their USTA and ALTA seasons.”

Hausman, a former assistant coach for the men’s tennis program at Georgia Tech, and current men’s assistant tennis coach Aljosa Piric decided to offer the adult camps after getting great response from a winter adult clinic. The Ramblin’ Wreck Tennis Camps for both adults and kids are full days with morning drills focused on tactical and technical elements of the game. After a lunch break participants return to the courts for conditioning and match play.

This year the USTA will also award a junior tennis player a free week at one of the junior camps at Georgia Tech. For more information on the junior tennis scholarship for the camp contact USTA Atlanta. To learn more about the adult or junior camps at Georgia Tech go to www.ramblinwrecktenniscamp.com.

Georgia Tech Continues Fight

Don’t count the Georgia Tech women out of a strong finish to the season. The ladies have struggled to clinch some tight wins during the regular season, but there is some young hope that could help them in the stretch.

Freshman Irina Falconi has provided a welcome spark to the top spots of the team. Falconi has spent much of the season alternating the No. 1 and 2 positions with defending NCAA Singles Champion Amanda McDowell. In recent weeks, Falconi has been recognized as ACC Athlete of the week and has risen to the 7th ranked player in the nation. Teammate McDowell currently sits just inside the casino online top 20.

Coach Bryan Shelton hopes to keep his team focused as they head online casino into the ACC and NCAA Tournaments. Meantime the Georgia Tech men hope to have a solid finish to their season with strong tournament performances. Freshman Guillermo Gomez remains a leading force on the team and is currently ranked 16th in the nation.

Georgia Programs Receive USTA Funding

It’s been mum that The USTA will award more than half a million dollars in recreational tennis grants to 54 non-profit organizations across the country. The Atlanta Community Tennis Foundation, Savannah Area Tennis Association and Special Populations Tennis Program, Inc. (Roswell) were among those who received awards ranging between $2,500 and $10,000.

The USTA's Recreational Tennis Division has pooled together financial resources to create a new series of grants to be distributed on a bi-annual basis to non-profits that are committed to increasing tennis participation, well-established in their communities, support tennis programming and foster diversity among participants. In total, the USTA will award over a million dollars in Recreational Tennis Grants to qualified applicants in '09.

“We're thrilled to be able to invest in organizations all over the country that believe, as we do, that tennis can be the vehicle to improve the quality of life and education for both children and adults alike,” said Kurt Kamperman, Chief Executive, Community Tennis. “These organizations are committed to growing the game of tennis by implementing important local programming such as the QuickStart Tennis play format and Jr. Team tennis. The USTA is proud to be able to assist them in their efforts.”

UGA Men, Women In Good Spot to Challenge For NCAA Title

The University of Georgia women currently hold the No. 2 spot in the ITA rankings and have their eyes set on a national title. The Bulldogs are expected to clinch the ‘09 SEC title.

“One of our goals was to win the SEC regular season,” said Georgia coach Jeff Wallace. “My hat’s off to the players. They stayed focused and have worked hard all season. I’m proud of them.”

Thanks to the solid season of players like freshman Chelsey Gullickson, ranked No. 9 in the nation, and senior Monika Dancevic, who’s 105-42 in her career. Dancevic will be honored before one of the Bulldogs’ final remaining matches of the season for her contributions to the team. Now the team hopes to win the SEC Tournament and take a shot of the NCAA team title. UGA won the SEC title in ‘83, ‘89, ‘90, ‘94, ‘00, ‘02 and ‘07. The last time the women’s team won the NCAAs was in ‘00.

Meanwhile, the UGA men are working toward another successful NCAA season of their own. Their currently ranked No. 5 in the nation and are looking forward to the SEC Tournament. The Bulldogs are hoping to defend their ‘08 team title with the help of junior Nate Schnugg, ranked 10th in the country, and junior Jamie Hunt.

Oudin to Join U.S. Fed Cuppers in Czech Republic

Marietta, Georgia’s Melanie Oudin will once again represent the United States when she travels to the Czech Republic for the Fed Cup semis.

Oudin will be joined by U.S. Fed Cup rookies Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Alexa Glatch, and top-ranked doubles player Liezel Huber on an indoor hard court at the Starobrno Rondo Arena in Brno, Czech Republic, April 25-26.

“Melanie really impressed me with both her competitive spirit and her composure in Surprise,” said U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez.

Oudin, 17, will be making her second straight Fed Cup appearance after earning a key singles victory against Argentina with the U.S. facing a 2-1 deficit in February’s quarterfinal.

Oudin officially turned pro after the ‘08 U.S. Open Junior Championships, where she reached the semis as the No. 2 seed. She achieved her best result in a tour event in Quebec City, where she recorded her first win over a top-50 player (Sybille Bammer) en route to the quarters.

Oudin won her first pro title last July at the USTA Pro Circuit $50,000 event in Lexington, Ky., and also appeared in the semis at two other $50,000 events. She’s currently No. 176.

In April, Oudin oupset No. 29-ranked Aleksandra Wozniak 7-5, 6-0 in the second round of the Family Circle Cup.

“I was really happy with the way I played and how I kept it up,” said Oudin, who called it one of the top two highlights of her upstart career, even eclipsing her win over Bammer.

“This is bigger than Quebec,” she said.

The U.S. and the Czech Republic have met 10 times in Fed Cup competition with the U.S. owning an 8-2 advantage. The U.S. won the last meeting between the two nations in ‘03 in the first round tie in Lowell, Mass., as Venus and Serena Williams combined to win all five matches in the tie.

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