YMCA has budding tennis stars

Submitted by Steve Reynolds 
 Tatia Ghviniashvili, 15, a rising tennis star, takes her swings at the Greater Marco Family YMCA.

Photo by Submitted

Submitted by Steve Reynolds Tatia Ghviniashvili, 15, a rising tennis star, takes her swings at the Greater Marco Family YMCA.

Submitted by Steve Reynolds 
 Michael Gurgenidze, 7, is optimistic about his tennis play.

Photo by Submitted

Submitted by Steve Reynolds Michael Gurgenidze, 7, is optimistic about his tennis play.

YMCA has budding tennis stars

Bud Cox, Greater Marco Family YMCA tennis professional, talks of two promising students of the game.

Michael Gurgenidze, 7, and Tatia Ghviniashvili, 15.

Bud Cox has 25 years’ experience tennis teaching and coaching. He is an ACE and USPTA certified professional. He played at Auburn University where he was on the All-Southeastern Conference team for two years. He has competed in 15 grand slam events including Wimbledon, five times, the U.S. Open, trench Open and Australian Open. He ranked in the top 150 in singles and the top 65 in doubles on the ATP World Tour. He played against several legends of the game including Andre Agassi and John McEnroe.

Cox said this summer has been exciting as he has gotten to work with the younger students of the game in the Quick Start sessions for ages 4 to 7 and also assists in nurturing promising students in the Academy tennis program.

He instructs the players in serves, forehand and backhand, usage of the ball machine and fun games.

Cox thinks Gurgenidze has potential.

Gurgenidze started with Cox at the YMCA when he was 5 and has made significant progress. Gurgenidze has participated in tournaments in the age 10-and-under category and also has had lessons at a tennis academy in the Republic of Georgia.

He thinks tennis is a fun sport, choosing the YMCA for tennis because “No one else in the area has the teacher and techniques to offer me.” Gurgenidze wants to make tennis his career and wants to play in a Grand Slam. As he said, “If Boris Becker can play in a Grand Slam at 17, why not me?”

Michael has three brothers and one sister. Rocky and Luca take part in the YMCA Swim Program with Coach Kamal Farhat.

Ghviniashvili came to the USA along with her family at the age of 8, with no grasp of the English language and became immersed in the American school system. Tatia’s mother. Irina, wanted her daughter to do something and saw the YMCA had a tennis program.

She called the Marco Y and met with former YMCA Tennis Director Connie Kormanyos. She and took a few lessons with Connie, with Tatia looking on. Mom liked the facility and Connie and signed up Tatia to begin lessons. When Kormanyos retired Ghviniashvili, stopped playing for a year. She started back with Cox in 2011. Now she trains four hours a day, six days a week and has had great success with her tournament play.

Cox said Tatia has made great strides and is the steadiest, most consistent player he has coached.

“Tatia has great potential to go as far as she wants in her tennis career,” he said.

Ghviniashvili was named the tennis MVP in only her freshman year at Lely High School. She and Casey Mendel, former Y tennis player, played in the Class 2A State Championships in doubles.

Her goal is to rank in the top 20 players in Florida, which would help her obtain a colleges scholarship. Her eyes are on University of Miami or University of Florida.

“The Marco YMCA tennis program and Coach Bud are wonderful. He helps me to excel and focus on the values of not giving up and that you yourself are responsible for your own success,” she said.

For more information about the youth tennis program contact Cox at 239-247-3377.

YMCA Gearing up for youth travel leagues

The Greater Marco Family YMCA has youth basketball, volleyball and soccer, running from September, through November.

Youth basketball teams are for boys and girls, ages 7-8, 9-10,11-12,13-14 and 15-17, high school players. Practices are at the YMCA, with all games at the Naples YMCA. The fee is $50 for Marco Y members and $90 for community participants. Volunteer coaches and team sponsors are welcome.

The Girls youth volleyball has had success in past seasons, while playing their games at the Naples YMCA. The age groups for the teams are 7-9, 10-11, 11-14, middle school and 14-17, high school students. Registration ends on Sept. 23. Fees for the program are $50 for Y members and $90 for community participants. Team sponsors are welcome. Coach for the 10-11 girls is Leslie Drake and Stacy Faremouth for 11-14.

A new league at the YMCA will be youth soccer. The league is divided into ages, 5- 6 and 7-8. The teams are coed and will be headed by Soccer Academy Coach John Patterson. The player fees are $50 for Y members and $90 for community participants.

Financial Assistance is always available. Everyone makes the teams, everyone plays in every game. The leagues are to build honesty, respect and responsibility.

The YMCA is brings back flag football for boys and girls, ages 6 to 10. The sessions will be Wednesday afternoons from 4 to 5:30 p.m., running from Oct. 2 through Nov. 21. The program will focus on skill development in a friendly, competitive environment. Children will learn skills such as passing, catching, kicking and punting. Volunteer coaches and sport sponsors are welcome.

For more information about any of these programs email sports@marcoislandymca.org or call the Member Services Desk at 239-394-9622, ext. 200.

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