Tennis: April is almost here; that means city championships getting closer

In the event you haven't checked the calendar of late, be advised that the month of March is very soon to be a thing of the past.

April arrives Sunday — no foolin'.

And showers or no showers, taxes or no taxes, Cambier Park tennis director Kevin Walker already is focusing on May and another City of Naples Tennis Championships.

The 38th annual, month-long tournament begins May 1. Entries are being accepted at the Arthur Allen Tennis Center.

Walker hopes to be running the "biggest tournament in the country this year."

"We are anticipating a huge number — in excess of the 600 participants we had last year. If this trend continues, we may have to build a bigger tennis complex!" Walker says.

"This tournament is such a Naples tradition and the players love the month-long, set-up-your- own-format."

For the 11th straight year, ASG will be the event's presenting sponsor. The DeVoe Automotive Group is on board again as a "Platinum" sponsor.

This year's entry deadline is April 25. To get full details and to register to play, contact the Cambier tennis shop at 213-3060.

• • •

Talk about planning ahead.

Organizers of the Swingtime Pro-Celebrity Pro-Am Tennis & Golf Tournament said this week the event will return to Naples next November.

For the third straight year, it will be held at The Players Club & Spa at Lely Resort and Olde Cypress Golf Club. It will take place Nov. 17-18.

The format will remain the same, with events ranging from tennis and golf action to "An Evening with the Stars Swingtime Gala" at the Naples Grand Resort & Club.

"Swingtime may be eight months away, but we're all excited to be gearing up for another fabulous event this year to raise money for a cause very close to my family's heart," said host Tom Gullikson.

The Tim & Tom Gullikson Foundation was established in 1995 after Tim was diagnosed with malignant brain tumors.

Tim Gullikson, who as a coach helped establish Pete Sampras as the top player in the world, died in 1996 at age 44. The Foundation's mission is to fund care and support programs to assist brain-tumor patients and their families in managing the physical, emotional and social challenges presented by the illness.

For information, call C & H Events, Inc. at 649-7171 or 561-394-9190 or email MLCope@chevents.com.

• • •

The Collier County Women's Winter Session Tennis Tournament was held at Pelican Bay Community Park.

In the 4.0 division, Connie Lawson and Marilyn Krause won over Nancy Black and Lynda Burke, 6-0,6-3. The honors in the 3.5 bracket went to Joy O'Laughlin and Fran Angll, who defeated Monica Polacek and Birgit Pauli-Haach, 6-2, 6-3. The 3.0 champions were Kendra Boyak and Susan Gareau, who topped Jeanne Barry and Barbara Greco, 6-2,6-3.

Any woman interested in participating in the next session or the Fall Session should call 594-8109.

• • •

Tennis legends will descend on Sanibel Island to host an all- day fundraiser April 14 at the Beachview Golf & Tennis Club.

Money will be raised to help clean up Collier and Lee County rivers and estuaries and support the "next great cause" around the world.

The seventh annual event benefits both the PURRE Water Coalition, called a "do-tank" spearheading local clean-water initiatives, and the Global Water Foundation (GWF), a worldwide water interest headed by two-time Australian Open winner and WCI Communities' Sports Ambassador Johan Kriek of Naples.

Tennis pros including Jimmy Arias, Mikael Pernfors, Tom Gullikson, Mitch Hodges and Russ Crutchfield will take part in leading open tennis clinics, a pro-am team competition and an afternoon celebrity exhibition.

New to this year's event is a morning "Walk4Water" around the Beachview Golf & Tennis Club community. Supporters will walk four miles in honor of the average distance African women and children must walk every day to reach a water source. Walkers are sponsored per mile and all proceeds benefit PURRE and the GWF.

There are five ways to get involved in the 2007 Beachview Tennis Exhibition and Walk4Water:

• 9-10:30 a.m. — Tennis clinics with the pros, $100 per person.

• 9:30-10:30 a.m. — Walk4Water (4-mile walk), $20 per person.

• 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. — Pro- Am Team Competition, $100 per person.

• 2 p.m. — Tennis Pros Exhibition, $50 per person; $75 preferred seating.

• 6 p.m. — Dinner Reception and Auction, $100 per person.

• • •

The public is invited to Pelican Bay Community Park on Vanderbilt Beach Road to see an exhibition on Saturday at 11:15 a.m.

Participating will be these top junior players:

• Pete Rispoli, who holds an ATP ranking and is committed to Northwestern University on a full tennis scholarship.

• Eric Corace, also with an ATP world ranking in doubles and singles, committed to the University of Florida on a tennis scholarship.

• Reid Carleton, committed to Duke University on a full scholarship.

• Tripp Carleton, ranked in the top five in the National USTA divisions of the 16s and 18s boys.

Rispoli and Corace will play the Carleton brothers.

Amy Grossklag, ranked in the top 50 girls 14s nationally, will play Grace Johnson, the No. 1 Barron Collier singles player.

• • •

Rob Vinal has joined Bonita Bay Club as assistant tennis pro. He teaches group and private lessons, conducts clinics, works with members in the Bonita Bay tennis-teaching center and coordinates member events. He is ranked No. 29 in Florida's men's singles and in the top 10 in doubles.

The Massachusetts native relocated to Southwest Florida four years ago.

• • •

The next USPTA/JusTennis Junior Tournament Series kicks off with a singles tournament April 14 at the East Naples Community Park. The registration deadline is April 12.

Contact Collier County Parks tennis pro Spike Gonzales at 248-0894.

• • •

Samantha Kennedy, a local 12-year-old, won her first USTA-sanctioned tournament this past weekend. Kennedy, playing up in the Girls 14s, won the singles event at Lakeshore Park in Miramar, beating Emmy Molter 6-3, 4-3 in the finals.

Kennedy trains at the MAD Tennis Academy at Imperial Lakes in North Naples.

For a list of ongoing local tennis events, clinics and instructional programs, visit www.naplesnews.com. Those wishing to have events or activities included in the weekly local tennis roundup should e- mail info to Tom Rife at heart22@comcast.net by 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

© 2007 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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