Community Spotlight – Southern California Tennis News Tennis News, Events, Community Activities, Tournaments Sat, 21 Jul 2018 02:17:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Garafola’s Love For Athletics Inspired Angel City Games Sun, 08 Jul 2018 23:06:19 +0000 Read more »]]> COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT: Michael Garafola

When Michael Garafola first dreamed up the idea of an Adaptive, Paralympic-style event to be held in Southern California at a world-class venue like the campus of UCLA, he thought back to a time in his youth when he could have benefited from something like the Angel City Games.

The 4th annual Angel City Games at UCLA recently concluded on June 24th.  Garafola, the UCLA Recreation Adaptive Programs Coordinator and Angel City Games Co-Founder and the incredible ACG leadership team, along with hundreds of dedicated volunteers welcomed more than 300 adaptive athletes with physical disabilities from 19 states and 3 countries over the course of the 4 day competition.

In 1990, 15-year-old Garafola had just entered his sophomore year of high school when he was injured in an automobile accident which left him paralyzed.  “Before my accident I loved being an athlete.  I was the captain of my freshman basketball team, a multiple time basketball all star.  I snow skied, water skied, played soccer, I was a junior lifeguard … you name and I did it,” said the native Staten Island, New Yorker.  “But from 1990 to 2003 sports were gone from my life. While I filled it with other positive things, I always felt that something was missing.  Like many people, I didn’t know about adaptive sports or what the Paralympics were. I wish there was an Angel City Games when I was growing up in New York.”

Garafola moved west to Los Angeles in 1999 to work in the music industry and it wasn’t long before he came across a brochure for the Lakers wheelchair basketball team. “I wanted to know what this was all about,” he said. “When I entered the gym, I was blown away!  I couldn’t believe I could play sports competitively again!  While I got a late start to the adaptive sports game, I was so fortunate to have found it.  Basketball was my passion and now it was back in my life.  It was like a rebirth; my competitive fire was back!”

Soon after, Garafola heard of UCLA Adaptive Sports & Recreation and began participating in their programs.  After volunteering and then working part time for a few years, the position of Adaptive Programs Coordinator opened. Garafola interviewed for the position and was asked if he would consider going back to school to receive a Therapeutic Recreation Certificate. He enrolled at Long Beach State, completed the necessary course work & has been the UCLA Recreation Adaptive Programs Coordinator ever since.

Garafola and his friend and Angel City Games Co-Founder, Clayton Frech, wanted to expand what UCLA currently offered students and the community in adaptive athletics, and soon found themselves pitching UCLA administrators on the idea of the Angel City Games. Frech’s son Ezra was born with a congenital limb difference.  Despite his disability, Ezra is an elite adaptive track & field athlete.

“In 2015, the first year of the Games, we started with 2 sports: Wheelchair Basketball and Track and Field.  Our idea was to have a clinic where new athletes could learn from experienced athletes, Paralympians and coaches, try new adaptive sports and then compete in those sports at the same event,” said Garafola.  “Last year we decided to add 3 more sports.  Angel City Games now showcases 5 sports: Wheelchair Basketball, Wheelchair Tennis, Track and Field, Archery & Swimming, all in 4 days at UCLA.”

About three and a half years ago, Garafola tried wheelchair tennis for the first time, and was immediately hooked. “There’s something so unique about tennis,” said Garafola, who joined the Northridge Knights Wheelchair team (sponsored by Northridge Hospital) and tried to find as many opportunities to play the game in Southern California and beyond. “I really enjoy being on the tennis court. Managing your emotions and maintaining your mental focus throughout a tennis match is like nothing I’ve ever experienced in other sports I’ve played.  It’s just you & your thoughts… and I think that’s why I love it so much.”

Garafola relies on the support of both the USTA National office, as well as the SCTA. “It seems like they get it,” he said. “They understand the importance of starting grassroots programs, finding and developing new talent and plugging in to community partners that make sense; with a collective mission of growing the sport of wheelchair tennis.”

Garafola credited friend and recently retired Annette Buck and friend and coach Cari Buck, SCTA Executive Director Linda Milan, Tiffany Geller-Reed and Coach Dee Henry with providing support for anything wheelchair tennis related.

“It’s like a tight-knit family, and the support we’ve gotten from people like Annette Buck, Cari Buck, Coach Dee Henry (among others) is amazing.  We couldn’t do it without their help,” he said, adding. “We need to keep expanding the sport of wheelchair tennis by finding new talent, and that’s where Angel City Games has helped. We need to keep spreading the word by finding those kids, like me, who thought sports were gone forever.  I want to give others the opportunities that I didn’t have to get back in to sport.  No one with a physical disability should be sitting on the sidelines watching if they want to play.”

To learn more about Angel City Games, go to:

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Perry Couple Continues To Give Back To Tennis Thu, 10 May 2018 04:21:48 +0000 Read more »]]> Community Spotlight – The Perrys

During the Friday semifinals of the Pac-12 Championships at The Ojai last month, both winning teams that day UCLA and USC had two special fans rooting on their respective schools.

Norm Perry played for the Bruins in the early 1960s, and his wife Reggie attended USC.

“We are equal opportunity fans,” said Norm, who was captain of the 1960 NCAA Men’s Tennis Championship team and also won another in 1961 along with teammates Larry Nagler and Allen Fox. “Both coaches are great guys and we support them both.”

Next year, the Perrys will celebrate 50 years of doing tennis business in Southern California as NJP Sports, Inc., in Glendale has sold tennis nets, wind screens and other sporting equipment since 1969.

The Perrys not only love supporting their beloved Bruins and Trojans but have also worked tirelessly to support tennis on a truly grassroots level in the Glendale area. They provide some funding, as well as nets and wind screens and other equipment for Ron Zambrano and his NJTL site at Scholl Canyon Golf & Tennis Club in Glendale.

“We support Ron with whatever he needs,” Norm said of Zambrano, who has coached St. Francis High School and Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy tennis teams since 1993. “He’s a great guy and we are happy to help him with nets, or wind screens and also provide a donation at the end of the year.”

Added Reggie: “Ron is fantastic. He now has 50 kids each summer and once the kids are older and leave for school they always come back and visit over the summer.”

Reggie said that NJP Sports also helps support the Glendale Community College Foundation and works closely with recently retired Glendale coach Bob MacKay. “We helped them resurface the courts, and with nets and wind screens,” she said.

Norm, who turns 80 this month, always enjoys his trips to The Ojai, a place he first experienced as a youth growing up next to the UCLA campus.

“I remember playing Ojai for the first time when I was 12 years old and my partner was Stan Singer,” Bob said. “Ironically we played [legendary coaches] Dick Gould and Tom Chivington.”

To learn more about the Perrys tennis nets and wind screen business NJP Sports, go to:


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Teri Cohn Stays Busy Calling Lines For Top Events Fri, 16 Feb 2018 19:43:44 +0000 Read more »]]> Community Spotlight: Teri Cohn

Tennis fans in Southern California who attend local college and USTA Pro Circuit matches would most undoubtedly recognize Teri Cohn by sight as she has been calling lines at area clubs and tennis facilities for the past 13 years.

The Upland resident Cohn has been a USTA linesperson since 2005, and stays busy working the numerous local junior, college and pro matches that take place in the Southland and beyond.

“It really has turned into a full-time job,” said Cohn, who grew up playing tennis in Missouri and got back in the game after a 15-year hiatus when she lived in Atlanta before relocating to California in the early 2000s.

When asked which events she enjoys officiating the most – be it Pro Circuit, juniors, college or ATP and WTA – Cohn paused and said that’s like asking to pick which child is your favorite. “But I love, love college tennis,” said Cohn, who holds a national chair designation from the USTA. “I love the excitement and the atmosphere. And I also love the professional events. I think it’s whatever I happen to be doing that day.”

Cohn achieved a goal she had long sought after last September when she became a linesperson for the main draw of the US Open, after working one other year at the qualifying event.

“It’s crazy just being at the Open,” she said. “It’s a huge facility and there are courts everywhere. Just being in New York and the crowds. You can just feed off the energy.”

Cohn joined the Claremont Club shortly after her move to California, and says she fell into the officiating gig after longtime official Jim Flood encouraged one of her friends to attend a training session, and invited Cohn to come along.

“Next thing you know I’m taking classes and I’m shadowing other officials for five straight days and I started applying for some jobs,” she said.

Cohn grew up outside of St. Louis in the suburb of Webster Groves where “everyone played tennis” during the tennis boom of the 1970s. “We’d all jump on our bikes and ride to the courts and play and swim all day. I had just a fabulous idyllic childhood.”

One of Cohn’s sons Andrew played at Pomona-Pitzer and is now the head women’s coach at Haverford College in Philadelphia.

With an empty nest at home, Cohn said she’s enjoyed being able to pick and choose the events she does. In January she stayed busy from the first of year at the USC Pro Futures, followed by the Long Beach Pro Futures, and then a day working in the desert for the Henry Talbert Memorial Junior event. Cohn then finished the month strong at the new ATP/WTA Newport Beach Oracle Challenger.

Cohn has worked with the Special Olympics for the past four years. In 2015 in L.A., she worked the Special Olympics World Games. She has chaired events for the Wheelchair Professional Masters and says working Special Olympics and wheelchair tournaments is at the top of her list of events to work.

Her travels have led her to work in places like New Haven, Conn., New York, Phoenix, Las Vegas, South Carolina, Portland, the Easter Bowl in the desert and the Carson ITF Spring Internationals.

“Watching these kids when they are 8 or 9 and working their matches and seeing their progression is just amazing,” Cohn said. “I remember players I called lines for in the juniors who are now on the pro circuit. They come up and say, ‘You chaired my Easter Bowl final.’ If you are around long enough, the kids remember you.”

Cohn is in love with what she calls her main vocation these days. “I love the people I do it with,” she said. “It’s such a crazy cast of characters. We have doctors and veterans and warehouse workers and lawyers and teachers. People from all walks of life. To me, that’s the fun part is the camaraderie and the people you get to meet.”

Cohn is the current president of the umpires’ association (SCTUA). If you are interested in becoming a USTA official, you can go to for more information.

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Valley Center Celebrates with Court Resurfacing and Family Tennis Day Thu, 16 Nov 2017 17:33:38 +0000 Read more »]]> The combined efforts of an enthusiastic tennis community and key support groups rallied to renovate the Valley Center Tennis Club, where a play day and ribbon-cutting ceremony were recently held to celebrate the six court facility in North San Diego. The community event featured a Family Tennis Day followed by the unveiling of the newly resurfaced facility.

“This was a huge community effort and that’s the only way it could have worked,” said Marla Helms, the Vice President of the Valley Center Tennis Club. “We are so lucky to receive this kind of support from so many people.”

The Valley Center Tennis Club was in dire shape and had not been resurfaced for over 15 years. This situation was brought to the attention to influential San Diego area tennis groups that pooled resources to make things happen for this tennis community. The project was funded by a partnership between the Valley Center Parks and Recreation District (VCP&RD), the Greater San Diego City Tennis Council (GSDCTC), The San Diego District Tennis Association (SDDTA), and the Southern California Tennis Association (SCTA.)

The courts were professionally renovated and resurfaced by CH Court Tech in beautiful two- toned blue and green colors. The courts were also lined for USTA 10-and-under-tennis to enhance the enjoyment and development of younger children. This site is home to a plethora of tennis activities including USTA adult leagues, community programs, local classes, summer camps, and high school and junior tennis competition.

“This project was a true team effort,” said David Gill, President of the GSDCTC. “This is a tight knit group of people and they really help each other out. We are pleased to support this community park tennis project .” The Valley Center Tennis Club and the SDDTA co-hosted a Family Tennis Day celebration to bring about 40 adults and children of all ages. Many local volunteers and teaching pros helped out including Valley Center’s Head Pro Seth Leichtfuss, SCTA’s San Diego Area League Coordinator Randie Lettington, USPTA Pro Andrew Cretella and Valley Center High Tennis Coach Tom Helms. The Family Tennis Day was designed to create a six-hour series of free adult beginner lessons at the site, sponsored by the SDDTA.

David Gill said this was one of the first projects the GSDCTC has undertaken since the 2016 passing of Ben Press, the President and Founder of the GSDCTC. The completion of Valley Center Tennis Club courts is, in part, an emotional tribute to Ben’s vision to help keep tennis alive and growing in San Diego by helping communities with court resurfacing. 

“I definitely thought about Ben when cutting the ribbon because this is something he really loved to do,” said David Gill. “Ben helped create the GSDCTC almost twenty years ago and his legacy continues to thrive through projects like Valley Center.”

The Valley Center Tennis Club has over 100 members who play at the site on a frequent basis in addition to players from surrounding areas. The club is now fundraising to build a shade structure its bleachers. Helms said temperatures can get over 100 degrees in the summer and shade is a necessity for children who attend their summer camps. The local Eagle Scouts have adopted the Valley Center Tennis Club shade structure as their troop project and will donate their time to build it. However, financial assistance is needed to purchase supplies.

“This little facility draws from all around from Temecula, Murrieta and many parts of North San Diego,” Helms said. “You would be surprised how far people come to play here. We have a very friendly environment.”

For more information about the Valley Center Tennis Club, its programs, or donations for the shade structure, please contact Marla Helms at












Special thanks to Marla Helms and David Gill for contributing to this story with information and photos.

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Bakersfield’s Beth Kuney Gives Back to the Game She Loves Thu, 02 Nov 2017 15:59:37 +0000 Read more »]]> Community Spotlight: Beth Kuney

After a 17-year hiatus from the game of tennis, Beth Kuney didn’t waste any time getting back into the game she loved so much as a child. And doing so in the community where she learned the game was an added bonus.

The Bakersfield tennis community thrives because of people like Kuney, who in February will mark her third year as the executive director of the Kern Community Tennis Association.

Kuney came up the ranks as a junior during the tennis boom of the 1970s, and was introduced to the game by her father, who for years was involved in junior tennis in Bakersfield.

“He always had a passion for junior tennis,” Kuney said. “After my break from tennis I saw an opportunity to get involved again and he was the reason. As well as the people involved. They’re just so great to work with. I took on his love of spreading the sport and getting people interested in tennis.”

Kuney said she was surprised upon her return to the sport 10 years ago how so much had changed. “When I got back into tennis I knew nothing about what the USTA was doing and all about the leagues and all the things the KCTA was doing.”

Kuney is a 4.5 rated player and is currently the USTA League Coordinator for her area and is captaining a tri-level 3.0, 3.5 and 4.0 league.

“We’ve been able to get a lot of new players into the game, and league play is a great way to introduce those to the game and to re-energize their competitive side,” she said.

Kuney graduated from Central College in Pella, Iowa, and was able to play college tennis for the small Division III school. “It’s a long story on how I got there, but I wasn’t looking to play tennis in college, but was able to so it was an added bonus,” she said.

After earning her law degree, Kuney got married and began a family. It wasn’t until her daughter found an interest in tennis that Kuney got back out there after 17 years. “That’s the great thing about tennis,” she said. “You can play as a junior, and in college and put your racket down for 10 years and then come back to it. Just this morning I was out playing and was next to two ladies in their 70s playing. So it is truly a sport you can play your whole life.”

Kuney has worked alongside Aisling Bowyer, the SCTA Tennis Service Representative in Bakersfield, to put on free Saturday clinics for kids, as well as set up a meeting with the Kern Community to get to know new SCTA Executive Director Lance Lee, who recently made the trip to Bakersfield to meet with the group.

“I know Beth comes from a family that has given so much to tennis, but more recently she has really been amazing,” Bowyer said. “If I ever need anything or information in Bakersfield, she is the first person I go to. She really has her hand in every part of the tennis community.”

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World University Games a Special Trip For Coach Chen Mon, 25 Sep 2017 16:30:53 +0000 Read more »]]> Community Spotlight: Grant Chen

Being a part of Team USA this summer and coaching at the World University Games in Taipei, Taiwan, had extra special meaning for current UCLA associate head men’s coach Grant Chen.

Chen traveled with four UCLA players – Logan Staggs, Martin Redlicki, Terri Fleming and Jada Hart – and the Bruins represented the United States admirably, with Staggs and Hart taking home the bronze medal after falling in the semifinals to Slovakia, 10-7, in a super tiebreaker after splitting sets. Staggs and Redlicki advance to the Round of 16 in singles and doubles and Fleming and Hart won two rounds in singles.

Grant Chen, centered, coached UCLA’s Jada Hart and Logan Staggs to the mixed doubles bronze medal.

“I was very proud of how our players represented themselves and country—on and off the court,” Chen said. “While tennis was why we were there, the trip also gave them an opportunity to experience a different culture.”

It was also meaningful for Chen, whose family is from Taiwan, it represented a home away from home.

“It was very special for me because I have family in Taiwan,” Chen said. “My mom came out to practice the first day and I had dinner with my cousins. My uncle is a physician and was in charge of the sports medicine for the entire 20-sport event.”

The World University Games are held every two years and are a mini version of the Olympic Games. Chen said experiencing the Opening and Closing Ceremonies were the highlights, as each of the countries marched into the stadium in front of 40,000 or so fans.

“When the guys and girls weren’t playing they watched table tennis, basketball, baseball and softball,” Chen said. “We stayed in the Athlete’s Village and were roommates in the dorms with other athletes. The athlete dining area was the size of two football fields and you got to dine with other countries and other athletes who have excelled in their sport. So that was pretty fun.”

Chen is a familiar face to UCLA tennis fans as he has been associated with the program now going on 17 seasons having entered the program as a freshman in 2000. In fact, Chen has attended the NCAA Championships all 17 season’s he’s been a part of the program. As the student manager as a senior in 2005, the Bruins won their first NCAA team title under longtime Coach Billy Martin. Elevated to assistant coach by Martin five seasons ago, Chen watched as the Bruins fell to the University of Virginia after holding championship points in his first season as an assistant.

“I had no intention of coaching college tennis,” Chen said. “But Billy took me under his wing as a mentor, and we’ve maintained a friendship and working relationship that we hope and think is helping these student-athletes grow as players and men.”

Chen has helped coached two Bruins to NCAA national singles titles the past few years in Marcos Giron and Mackie McDonald. “I’ve been very lucky to work with some tremendous student athletes at UCLA. Former players who are now competing for Grand Slams and many from our own backyard of Southern California,” Chen said. “To be able to be a part of this tennis journey with these players and helping them reach their dream of playing collegiate and eventually professional tennis has been very rewarding for me.”

The Bruins finished No. 5 in the nation last season and are loaded up once again this year, including four incoming freshman from SoCal. “I am a product of So Cal tennis having grown up in Santa Barbara. We’ve been able to keep a lot of the SCTA kids close to home,” he said. “It’s been great to recruit in our own back yard.”

Chen called the two weeks at the World University Games, held every two years , an “unbelievable experience and one of the most amazing multi-sport events I’ve ever been a part of.

“It’s something the athletes will remember forever.”

As will Chen.

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Alberto Ramos Happy With Decision To Get Back To Tennis Mon, 01 May 2017 14:52:52 +0000 Read more »]]> COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT: Alberto Ramos

There was a time in Alberto Ramos’ life where he thought he had walked away from tennis for good, but something kept calling him back.

Ramos is grateful for the decisions he made that led him back to the game about 10 years ago following a stint helping his father and mother full-time in a soccer store in San Diego.

In February, Ramos was presented with the Eugene Jung Multicultural Award at the SCTA Meetings for his work teaching tennis in a low-income area near his home in Chula Vista. Ramos has also made winners out of both the boys’ and girls’ Eastlake High School tennis teams as the girls’ won a CIF title in 2014 and the boys’ team did the same in 2016.

“When they told me I was going to get the award I was a little surprised,” said Ramos, 53, who was nominated for the award by San Diego TSR Karen Ronney. “It is a great honor and we’ve been able to develop some good solid players, and some that went on to play tennis in college.”

Ramos has quite an interesting and extensive background in tennis. Born in Mexico City, Ramos was a top-rated junior player who had the opportunity to move with his family to Marina Del Rey when he was 12 years old. Three years later, the family relocated to San Diego, where Ramos was taught by Angel Lopez and from ages 16 to 19 worked with the legendary Pancho Segura.

He then turned pro and then set off for Europe along with his brother and the two played for a club team in Paris, France, for 10 years and then another two years in Germany near Munich.

“They give us an apartment and a car, and it was a great life,” Ramos said. “It was small but at least we had a place to stay, and all we had to do was commit to playing for the league season.”

Ramos continued: “After 10 or 11 years, we decided to come back home. I was burned out and started working for my parents’ soccer store they owned.”

Ramos’ brother began working for the Barnes Tennis Center shortly after it opened, and got a call from him one day to come and help him teach some of the up and coming juniors. “He said he was starting to work with some really good players and some top juniors. Once I agreed to help him, I was back where I belonged, and I had to tell my parents that I was going back to tennis. It’s something I had done my entire life. It was hard, but something I had to do.”

After moving their program to Balboa Park at Morley Field, Ramos and his brother settled at Eastlake High because the school’s courts had lights.

“I’ve had people offer me jobs at country clubs, but I’m happy where I’m at now,” Ramos said. “I want to just keep training and developing players. It’s very tough to make it on the professional level, but you can go to college and you never know what’s going to happen.”

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Tennis and the Color Green Are a Great Fit for St. Patrick’s Day Thu, 16 Mar 2017 00:10:09 +0000 Read more »]]> What would St. Patrick’s Day be without wearing green, thinking about shamrocks, four leaf clovers and all that goes with the holiday? Better yet, how does playing sports such as tennis, baseball, track, soccer and more fit into the “Wearing O’ the Green” theme?  As it turns out, sports and the color green are a perfect fit on March 17 in honor of the holiday. Please enjoy reading fun St. Patty’s Day facts and watching this Wearing O The Green Tennis & Sports Video: “Tennis Is My Sport.”


Why is it extraordinarily fun to wear green and play tennis? Consider it a possibility that a lively leprechaun might be sending you smiles from nearby court foliage. After all, one never knows where wee folk are hiding. Here are some fun facts regarding the holiday.

  • The color green is now seen in beer, leprechauns, hats and almost everything related to St. Patrick’s Day. It is also the color of Spring and the lush county sides of Ireland. It is believed to be a color that brings good luck to all who wear it.
  • The holiday owes it deepest origins to the coming of spring that will be Monday, March 20, 2017 at exactly 6:29am.
  • Ever get confused about the difference between four-leaf clovers and three-leaf shamrocks? The four-leaf clover can be ever present in our lawns and gardens. They represent the Celts, who were the solar-worshiping invaders of Ireland.
  • The Shamrock means “Little Clover” in Gaelic and is a symbol of the Christianity’s Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), a story attributed to the Irish missionary St. Patrick.
  • Taylor Fritz. (SCTA Staff)

    The Pot of Gold is treasured by the “Wee Folk” and it’s a magical pot that represents the “Cauldron of Abundance” uniting the four elements: fire, earth, water and air. It also forms a metaphorical womb to represent the vessel of life.

  • The element of Irish “gold” comes through generations of lore and mystical story telling. It represents wealth, wisdom and knowledge.
  • Fanciful leprechauns are magical beings that are mostly male in the traditional form. They can be
    feisty, funny and often playful, and if the mood strikes, helpful. These red-bearded fairy folk are thought to be eternal as they perch on toadstools and selectively befriend human kind. 
  • Finally, legends say “St. Patrick’s Day” was named in honor of an Englishman born in Britain circa (389-461). He was kidnapped and sold into Irish servitude to be a shepherd. After escaping and returning to England, h e studied to become a priest and changed his name to “Patricus.” He later returned to Ireland to become a Christian missionary with the goal of dispelling pagan myths. St Patrick died on March, 17, 461. Today he is known as the Patron Saint of Ireland.

This festive holiday is now celebrated around the world. Whether you adopt some or all of its traditions, consider picking up a racket and playing tennis with friends. Don’t forget to wear something green!

Frances Tiafoe on the run (SCTA Staff)


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SCTA Celebrates Black History Month Tue, 28 Feb 2017 18:34:30 +0000 Read more »]]> The SCTA is proud to honor the following people and organization for Black History Month:

Marty Woods

Marty Woods

Marty is the CEO of the Pete Brown Scholarship Fund and their program provides free lessons, hosts free community events, and he mentors children on and off the court. He is also an NJTL coach and a dedicated volunteer.

Jada Hart

Jada Hart

Jada is from Colton, CA and had a successful journey through Jr. Tennis, winning national hardcourts and winning at the Jr. US Open doubles with partner Ena Shibahara. Jada is now continuing her tennis career at UCLA.


Hollis Smith

Hollis is a pioneer for tennis in Los Angeles. Here are a few facts about Hollis:

•Didn’t start playing tennis until he moved to LA in 1963. Was one of the first blacks to play at Rancho Cienega Tennis Club. Fell in love with the sport, became ranked in the top ten during most of his senior years, won national championships in Men’s 60 singles, 45 doubles, 70’s doubles, & two senior mixed doubles
•Elected President of the Los Angeles Municipal Tennis Association
•1971 fundraised and helped organized a chapter of the National Junior Tennis League ( now National Junior Tennis & Learning operated by the SCTA)
•1972 helped to form South West Tennis Patrons, a nonprofit that puts on a series of events for kids in the southwest area of LA
•1978 Became President of the National Public Parks Tennis Championships (NPPTC)
•2002 the Hollis Smith Sportsmanship Award was established by the USTA & National Public Parks Tennis Association, with Smith being the 1st recipient. It is now called the Jean (his late wife) and Hollis Smith Lifetime Achievement Award, which is given annually to recognize an individual who has been an outstanding advocate of the NPPTA & NPPTC

Pacific Coast Championships Tennis Association, Inc (PCCTA)

The American Tennis Association (ATA) was born when representatives from more than a dozen Black tennis clubs met in Washington, D.C. on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 30, 1916. Barred from competing in United States National Lawn Tennis Association (forerunner to the USTA) events, people of color yearned for opportunities to develop and compete at national and international levels.

In March 1917 The Western Federation of Tennis Clubs (WFTC, forerunner to the Pacific Coast Championships) was formed in Los Angeles, California. The initial PCC Member Clubs were Pasadena, Glendale, Santa Monica, Westside, Ceres and Alpha. Later that year, the ATA invited the WFTC to join them as their Western Section. They accepted, becoming part of what is now the oldest and largest minority tennis Association in the world.

In 1921 the 1st Annual Pacific Coast Championships Tournament was held during the Labor Day weekend. The ATA National Championship Tournaments were used as a “family vacation” with both juniors and adults competing. Drawing an average of 1000 participants, they were therefore rotated from city to city each year. Following that tradition the PCC Tournament, which was equally as large, has been held up and down the West Coast highlighting cities like Los Angeles, San Diego, Palm Springs, Oakland, Bakersfield and Portland, Oregon. In recent years, the tournament has been hosted by the city of Long Beach but there are plans on the drawing board to start rotating it again.

To find out more about their organization or events, visit:

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SCTA Brings Interactive Tennis to Telemundo Tue, 31 Jan 2017 23:58:03 +0000 Read more »]]> The Southern California Tennis Association brought an exciting brand of tennis at the Telemundo celebration as part of the 13th Annual Health Fair recently at the Los Angeles Convention Center.  Tennis was a part of the health and fitness event that also included free health tests and screenings, tennis, yoga, dance, zumba, kids activities and games, cooking demonstrations and much more.

The SCTA set up mini 10-and-Under tennis courts for the approximately 30,000 health fair participants with the goal of offering tennis to all. SCTA event staff included Tennis Service R epresentatives Tiffany Mai, Aisling Bowyer and Donald Wong, as well as NJTL Manager Evan Smith and USTA School’s Trainer Barbara Tscherne.

“It was great to offer the Hispanic families an opportunity to try tennis for the first time,” said Barbara Tscherne, a Teaching Pro at the Neighborhood Junior Tennis Program (NJTP) in Sylmar . “We also gave the kids free membership (10& Under) and information to sign up for affordable NJTL lessons.”



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Watch The Pros Play At USC January 2017 Thu, 22 Dec 2016 02:21:21 +0000

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Community Spotlight: Annie Star Mon, 12 Dec 2016 20:31:52 +0000 Read more »]]> Marty Woods never realized at the time he met Annie Star on a mixed doubles court in Calabasas a few years back that the two would become long-lasting friends and form an incomparable partnership aimed at helping those who may need a hand.

On Dec. 17, the two will once again host the sixth annual LaRhonda Amos Holiday Tennis Celebration. The event is billed as: “A super fun-filled day of tennis for children in the tennis community of Los Angeles with free tennis clinics & drills, games, lunch, snacks, prizes and a special visitor from the North Pole.”


The fun begins at 11 and last until 2:30 p.m. and takes place at the Jackie Tatum Harvard Tennis Park located at 1535 West 62nd Street in Los Angeles (on the corner of Halldale & 62nd Street).

“Through contributions and gifts we’ve been able to give more than $50,000 to Marty and the Pete Brown Scholarship Fund,” said Star. “We help year-round but this is our big event and the one we get the most kids out for.”

The Calabasas resident Star said they are expecting 200 kids to take part in the tennis celebration. “We have more than 500 toys wrapped and will put them on one side of the court and the let the kids hit for prizes,” said Star, a tennis lover who plays on three adult league teams. “It’s amazing to see the kids just light up. Everyone gets numerous things to take home, and no child is left out.”

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Star added: “We get kids who have never held a racket before and others who are ranked players. So there is quite a range. We really want to encourage the younger kids who have never tried tennis to come out and try and 10 and Under courts. We will provide the rackets and even the shoes, clothes, whatever they need that will keep them busy and off the streets and having a good time.”


Annie Star and Mary Pat Faley

Star said many of Southern California’s tennis directors and teaching pros come out to lend a hand on this special day. “The more coaches we get, the better,” she said. “These kids don’t get a lot of high-level coaching. There’s a lot of camaraderie on this day between the tennis pros, and it’s become the place to be. If you’re a local tennis coach and you have a pulse, we’d love to have you.”

Star is the mother of one son, Jonathan, who was a noted junior player and NCAA Division I recruit who is currently a freshman at Tulane University in New Orleans.

Star said the Holiday event would not be possible without the generous support of all the sponsors, including Tennis Warehouse. “They have been so good to us,” she said. “They just sent me 15 rackets today, without asking. Babolat, Wilson and Chase Bank are the other big ones we couldn’t do without.”

Star said there will be a raffle and craft area set up, for kids who may not be interested in the tennis clinics but still want to attend.

Mary Pat Faley of the Riviera Country Club is a major organizer of the event, and heads up the clinic. “She’s been a great supporter and always on board for whatever the families and kids need down there,” Star said of her good friend. “We love Mary Pat and she’s a great organizer of all the things we do on-court.”

For last-minute donations, please contact Star by email at: or call event organizers Marty Woods (714) 202-4778 or Delores Simmons (213) 448-1550.

— Steve Pratt

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Community Spotlight: Ginger Tangedahl Mon, 29 Aug 2016 23:25:32 +0000 Read more »]]> By Steve Pratt

As a volunteer for years at the popular annual Queen of Hearts / Vic Braden Tournament run by Dennis Claus, there was no way for Ginger Tangedahl to ever predict at the time that she would someday return as the Women’s Honorary Chair for the event.

The tournament raises needed funds – $1.3 million for Ovarian Cancer Research so far – and crucial awareness for ovarian cancer, a cause close to the heart of Claus, who lost his mother after a year-long fight to the disease in 2003.


Dennis Claus with Ginger Tangedahl and Kim Beaudette, President of the Queen of Hearts Foundation.

“A few weeks after our tournament two years ago, Ginger called me early on a Sunday morning asking me to repeat the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer,” Claus recalled. “My heart sank. She saw her doctor on that next Monday and was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer.”

Tangedahl said Dennis was the first person she called when she believed for the first time she might have ovarian cancer.

“It will be two years in October that I was diagnosed with Stage 4 ovarian cancer,” Tangedahl said. “I’ve fought it all along. I’ve had three surgeries over 10 months and 42 chemo treatments.

But Tangedahl, who is 70 now and currently living with her sister in Las Vegas, remains upbeat. “My numbers are good and everything is looking good.” She recently began driving again, and will be going to this year’s Tux and Tennies Gala on Sept. 10, where she will be honored.

While in a wheelchair, she attended last year’s tournament both weekends. She expects to move back to California in a year and a half to two years from now.

Tangedahl first met Claus at the Ridgeline Country Club in Orange and has known him since the late 1970s. She said he’s “like a brother to me. A very close friend.” Tangedahl cut his mother’s hair as she worked for 30-plus years as a hairdresser in Tustin.

“If you were to ask me, what is the one word to describe what this is like I would say it is extremely humbling,” Tangedahl said. “I’m really humbled by the whole thing, and amazed that today we do have better medicines. We still have to find a test so that nobody else has to go through this.”

Tangedahl said the Queen of Hearts event has kept her alive. “When I was volunteering I would read through the book of brochures and I knew what Dennis’ mother went through. Twenty to 25 years ago you didn’t live more than six to eight months with Stage 4 and Dennis’ mother lived a little less than a year.”

She continued: “I wake up every day and say thank you and thank you. Just to be alive. Because so many before me have not lived as long with this, especially finding it in my stage. Like Dennis said last year as he lifted me out of the car and into my wheelchair, he said, ‘I’m so sad you have this. I’m so sad we still haven’t found a test to let people know earlier. But you have now put a face on ovarian cancer.’ And if I can do that, then it’s totally an honor to do that.”

The 14th annual Queen of Hearts / Vic Braden Charity Tennis Tournament will take place Sept. 2, 4-5 and 9-11 at the host site Newport Beach Tennis Club.

“She is amazing and inspirational for all of us,” Claus said. “And we look forward to honoring her at our event.”

All funds for the Queen of Hearts Tournament go to the University of California at Irvine and the CHAO Cancer Center.

You can sign up online or check out more information on the TennisLink site HERE. You can donate at: and for questions you can reach Claus at 714-749-5462.

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USTA Oncourt 10-and-Under Tennis Shines at Lake Balboa Fri, 06 May 2016 15:48:47 +0000 Read more »]]> lake balboa 8Cascading cherry blossom trees and colorful red, orange and green tennis balls were the back drop recently in a recent USTA Oncourt 10-and-Under Training at the Lake Balboa District of the San Fernando Valley. This northwest neighborhood community, a jewel of that region, offered the national training at Birmingham High School. Many Southern California coaches enthuslake balboa 2iastically participated in the 3.5 hour event and it was a great success.

“This was a really fantastic class,” said Aisling Bowyer, the TGA Premier Youth Tennis Programming Coordinator. “So much was covered and it was really fun. The information was perfect for teaching tennis to kids in any setting.”

At Coach Youth Tennis, the USTA offers a dual Online and Oncourt curriculum for a recreational certification. The six online courses include:


  1. Organizing and Supervising Youth Play
  2. Characteristics of Children Ages 10 and Under
  3. Communicating with Children Ages 10 and Underlake balboa 18
  4. Rules and Guidelines for Children Ages 10 and Under
  5. Skill Development
  6. Group and Team Management

The USTA Oncourt training features criteria of Red, Orange and Green tennis programming regarding equipment, competition, training, tennis tools, skills, games and live ball teaching methods. Both the Online and Oncourt portions must be completed by participants to receive final certification. This USTA program is required for further training with the USPTA or PTR.  For more information can be found at Coach Youth Tennis: go here .  To view all of the event photos which include 133 super fun pics go here and please  “Like” SD10sRocks Facebook page to see the album.

With appreciation to all who participated in the day including administrator Southern California Tennis Service Representative Phillip Siordia, host Jack Tulatammagul and all of the wonderful participants. #Tennis is my sport.

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San Diego, Calif. – (April 18, 2016) – The fifth annual National Wounded Warrior Tennis Camp is scheduled to take place May 16-19, 2016 at the Balboa Tennis Club located at 2221 Morley Field Dr, San Diego, CA 92104.
wounded warrior 6 best shot
Over 50 wounded, ill, and injured service members and military veterans from across the country are expected to participate in the Tennis Camp, which is being hosted by the San Diego District Tennis Association (SDDTA), in collaboration with the United States Tennis Association, Naval Medical Center San Diego and the Balboa Tennis Club.The camp, which will offer on-court sessions from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. each day, will focus on helping participants improve their tennis skills through game-based clinics and instruction in an upbeat, fun-filled atmosphere.  The camp also provides emotional benefits and helps with community re-integration.Fundraising efforts are currently underway to help cover all participants’ airfare, lodging, meals, transportation, tennis equipment wounded warrior 2and instruction. The San Diego District Tennis Association is accepting contributions through its 501(c)(3) fiscal agent, Tennis Lovers For Charity, which are tax deductible. Checks may be made to “Tennis Lovers for Charity” and mailed to SDDTA, 2221 Morley Field Dr., San Diego, CA 92104.

“The positive feedback we have received from past camp participants has been overwhelming,” said Steve Kappes, Director of Military Outreach for the SDDTA. “Many have commented that tennis changed their lives for the better and in some cases, has saved their lives.”

For more information on the fifth annual National Wounded Warrior Tennis Camp, please go to:

The camp will be led by Balboa Tennis Club’s Tennis Director, Geoff Griffin, a USPTA-certified teaching professional for over 25 years, and other professional tennis instructors from twounded warrior 5he club. All have been involved in the club’s Wounded Warrior Tennis Program since its inception in 2009. Support staff from Naval Medical Center San Diego will assist, along with trained volunteers from the tennis community.

About the Wounded Warrior Tennis Program – Since 2009, the Balboa Tennis Club, in collaboration with Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) and the San Diego District Tennis Association, has provided hundreds of free weekly tennis clinics to more than 700 wounded, ill, and injured service members and veterans from all the military services as part of NMCSD’s Wounded, Ill, and Injured Wellness Division of its Health and Wellness Department.wounded warrior 3

These military tennis clinics and tennis camps have been recognized by Congressional representatives, senior officials from the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs, and the leadership of the United States Tennis Association for their excellence and impact. They have become the model for similar tennis programs for wounded, ill, and injured service members and veterans that have been established at other major military medical centers, Warrior Transition Units, and VA hospitals across the country.

The Wounded Warrior Tennis Program has made a positive impact in the lives of wounded, ill, and injured service members and veterans. Therapeutically, tennis has helped them work on eye-hand coordination, balance, ability to transfer weight, endurance, strength, and overall fitness. In addition to the physical benefits, tennis enables theWounded warrior 1m to learn a new sport, promotes socialization, decreases stress and anxiety, and helps with re-integration into the community.

About The Balboa Tennis Club – The Balboa Tennis Club (BTC), which dates back to 1922, was rated as America’s Best Public Tennis Facility by the USTA in 1989. In 2000, the San Diego District Tennis Association named BTC as Club of the Year and in 2003, it received the Outstanding Tennis Facility award from the USTA for large facilities in the United States.
Thank you to J. Fred Sidhu for contributing to this post.





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Community Spotlight: Terry Lynch Thu, 31 Mar 2016 02:16:15 +0000 Read more »]]> Since way back in 1988 when she took over as the Chairperson leading the Ventura County Junior Tennis Association, Terry Lynch has made hundreds of friends.

If you ask her what has been the most rewarding aspect of running the organization is, she will say the friendships she has made over that time.

“The friendships I have made, and the friendships the kids have made –  that’s the most rewarding thing,” said Ventura’s Lynch, who from 1988 to 1995 ran all the City of Ventura’s tennis tournaments including the USTA junior sanctioned in the summer, the County Tournament and the Corporate Games.

VCJTA Accepts Bryan Bros. Foundation Gift

She started playing tennis around the age of 25 and met her husband Ed at the Pierpont Racquet Club in Ventura where the two played mixed doubles in Wayne Bryan’s popular Ventura County Grand Prix.

Lynch, who worked as an airline stewardess for American Airlines for 35 years, has seen many changes in the VCJTA over the years. “We are a stepping stone to bigger USTA events,” she said. “We offer both novice and open division tournaments.”

A few years ago, the VCJTA was seeing declining numbers so Lynch called all the pros together to discuss what should be done to turn it around. Because it’s expensive to return to the courts each day driving across the county, the group decided it would be best to play in a shortened round-robin format and have the tournaments last just one day. “And the parents loved it,” Lynch said. “It’s like a soccer or basketball game and doesn’t have to take the whole weekend.”

In 2000 she became involved with The Ojai Tournament running a site.  She then joined the board a year later and in 2007 became the Tournament Director for all the collegiate events except the Pac-12.

Lynch has been using the same 75 volunteers to run seven sites in Oxnard and Ventura since Day 1. She said she loves ending up in Libbey Park in Ojai on the final Sunday after watching them play in Ventura and Oxnard a few days before.

“That’s the goal of everyone who starts The Ojai in Oxnard and Ventura; it’s to get to the park,” she said.

Lynch said she is thankful Mike and Bob Bryan, VCJTA alums who do so much to give back to the group. She has taken kids to numerous Davis Cup matches over the past five years, courtesy of the Bryan Bros. Foundation which supports the VCJTA. “The whole thing with Wayne and the Bryan Brothers is making memories with the kids. That’s what it’s all about.”

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SB United Relief Fund Tennis Clinic Fri, 12 Feb 2016 01:18:07 +0000 Read more »]]> SB-United-Relief-Fund-Tennis-Clinic

All proceeds go to the SB United Relief Fund to benefit those affected by the San Bernardino Shootings. Aquinas High School Sat. April 23rd, 10am – 12pm $15 Adults, $10 Kids For more info, please contact Scott Smith: (909) 338-3518 Doubles exhibition featuring Brett Hansen-Dent and other former ATP players. Tennis drills, games, & hit for prizes! 2772 Sterling Ave., San Bernardino.

Signup or donate today!

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Community Spotlight: Alvin Alaman Wed, 30 Dec 2015 17:20:09 +0000 Read more »]]> As the President of First Serve Santa Ana, Alvin Alaman’s main objective is to continue to encourage the youth in his area to learn the sport of a lifetime – tennis.

As the boys’ and girls’ tennis coach at Valley High School in Santa Ana, Alaman also selfishly hopes the kids he teaches during the popular Saturday Tennis Academy at McFadden Intermediate School may someday suit up and play for him.


“It’s really difficult to compete in our league,” Alaman said. “We were getting kids who hadn’t touched a racket before coming out for the team. We are starting to see a trickle effect and I’m trying to create an atmosphere where these kids are going to want to come to my high school and play for me.”

Alaman said tennis facilities have never been an issue as he has access to nine courts at Valley High, and 11 more at Santa Ana College. “I went to a tennis teacher’s conference a few years ago at the U.S. Open and everyone was bemoaning the fact that they didn’t have any courts,” Alaman said. “We have a wealth of tennis facilities here, but not the programming.”

Back in 2008, Alaman and two of his buddies decided to do something about it and had the goals of getting tennis into the city’s 30 or so elementary schools. That’s how the First Serve Santa Ana Community Tennis Association was born.

“Darryl Killion was the tennis coach at Santa Ana High and Lewis Bratcher and I had been coaching at Valley High, the crosstown rival,” Alaman said. “We were sitting around talking about what it was like to coach tennis in a soccer town. And we were trying to figure out ways to get kids playing tennis at an earlier age. We set a goal to have a tennis program at each of the 30 or so elementary schools.”

That morphed into the idea of the Saturday Morning Academy where local parents are bringing their children, and staying around for a hit also. “That’s our main focus right now,” Alaman said. “We go from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and have four or five courts active. We use high school players from the local teams to help teach the kids.”

Alvin A

Alaman gives credit to the one and only Vic Braden for teaching him how to coach. “Vic made me a coach,” Alaman said. “When I took over the program several years ago I was the football coach at Valley High School. I didn’t know much about tennis, but I loved playing. So I went over to a seminar over at Vic’s Tennis College at Coto de Caza.

“Vic was always very benevolent toward us and our program, and we would send him kids to his Junior Ambassador program.”

Alaman relays a classic Braden story: Years after that initial meeting at Coto de Caza, Alaman ran into Braden at that before mentioned coaches’ conference in New York. “I’m there in the lobby of the hotel and Vic comes up to me and says, ‘Hey, Alvin, how are you doing?’ It’s amazing that he even remembered my name after all those years. Just an amazing guy.”

Alaman reiterated that the major focus of First Serve Santa Ana is to expose young children to the game of tennis, so that they can grow up to compete at the local high school level.

“We want to develop feeder patterns from the elementary to junior high to high school,” he said. “We’ve put programs into these schools and we want to start seeing some success in our high school programs.”

To learn more about First Serve Santa Ana, log onto the website at:


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Community Spotlight: Tovi Mosey Sun, 11 Oct 2015 22:36:32 +0000 Read more »]]> The hard part completed, Tovi Mosey and her non-profit tennis association have recently been enjoying the six refurbished courts in her community of El Cajon.

Mosey, 47, and a lifelong San Diego County resident, said the past five months have been spent playing and coaching at Montgomery Middle School. Mosey’s non-profit One All Tennis ( had a lot of help in getting the courts fully functional and playable.

Tovi W kids Fall Festival

“While my advocacy efforts pushed the district to refurbish the courts, I would not have been able to do it without support of the SCTA staff, Pam Shriver and the Greater San Diego City Tennis Council,” Mosey said. “For the last five months, I have taken a break growing the game and enjoying the fruits of my labor, playing and coaching on the new courts.”

Mosey said she is now back to work on a plan submitted to the local school district in May 2013. It was at that time that she realized there were no public courts available for her ever growing new tennis community to play.

“We want to continue to grow the sport of tennis so that it rivals baseball, soccer and football as a sport youths want to learn, ensure it becomes lifetime sport for families by encouraging parents to play,” said Mosey, who she her inspiration all along has been former professional tour player Valerie Ziegenfuss, her coach and inspiration to rebuild tennis in East County. “We want tennis festivals to become an annual community activity for years to come.”

Senator Tovi-Bruce Fall 2013

Ben Press (Greater SD Tennis Council, Valerie Ziegenfuss, California Senator Joel Anderson with Tovi B. Mosey, Bruce Hunt (SCTA Executive Director).

Another one of her goals is to run a local Junior Team Tennis team through the non-profit. “We also want to organize a level 4 CTA that partners with the school district and the city to maintain and operate the tennis courts during and after school hours,” Mosey said. “Programs will range from youth NJTL sessions to USTA adult leagues and maybe one day 8U tennis tournaments when I can get one of the courts converted to four minis.”

The reason Mosey’s tennis festivals have been so successful is that she gets the parents involved. “They are always included in the festivals we do,” she said. “That’s sort of our hook.”

Mosey’s third tennis festival was attended by California Senator Joel Anderson.

Mosey was born in San Diego, but moved to El Cajon at age 8. “Tennis was my community,” she said. “We always hung out at the courts. I’m a firm believer in it. That’s what we did all weekend long was play tennis. So that’s what we’re trying to rebuild here.”

09.20.13 Festival

Another attainable goal? To form a local USTA Junior Tennis Team out of the non-profit group. “That’s a three-year plan, and in five years we hope to have a really strong team,” Mosey said. “JTT is our next step. I’m not sure how far we can go. But we want to have more opportunities for our kids to play.”

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Community Spotlight — Harshal Patel Thu, 16 Jul 2015 05:29:42 +0000 Read more »]]> Community Spotlight — Harshal Patel

Growing up in India, Harshal Patel says he knew the struggle his parents faced being able to afford the life he and his younger brother Jay envisioned as world-class international junior tennis players.

So when the opportunity arose for the 18-year-old Patel to join Jay in Australia at legendary coach Tony Roche’s training facility, Patel said he had no choice but to leave home and go and train with the best.

“My parents almost went bankrupt before sending me and my brother to Australia to train with Tony Roche,” said Patel, the successful boys’ and girls’ tennis coach at Fountain Valley High School. “Our parents did everything to let us play tennis. But it was very expensive to travel.

“That’s why when we decided to settle here in Orange County it was all about giving back to the game that has given so much to us. We could have started with a high performance group, but we had a decision to make and that was doing it at a grassroots level. We did everything from scratch and now we have 80 girls and 60 boys on the team, which is the largest team in Orange County.”Harshul2

Patel, 39, has had chances to move on to more lucrative jobs, but he remains at Fountain Valley and continues to take his 45-mile drive home every day to Rancho Santa Fe because his team has become an extension of his family.

“It’s truly a team atmosphere,” said Patel, whose team has risen from the bottom of the standings to one of the top teams in the county. “We eat together, train together. We do everything together. We do everything with a low-key approach and not much noise or marketing. We just keep our heads down and work hard.”

Patel didn’t pick up the game of tennis until he was 14, choosing instead to play the nation’s pastime, cricket, when he was younger.

At the time of his arrival in Australia to help train his brother, Roche was coming off a successful career coaching legends like Ivan Lendl to Grand Slam titles, and in recent years has done the same with guys like Patrick Rafter, Roger Federer and Lleyton Hewitt. “My dad sent me to the best to learn how to train,” Patel said. “That’s where my journey started.”

From there he traveled to Asia and Africa and along his travels he met Vic Braden, a legendary tennis coach from Southern California he had only heard stories about. When Patel was named the USPTA High School Coach of the year he dedicated it to his parents and to Vic Braden, someone Patel calls “my mentor and my second father.”DSC_0026-e1423461254666

Braden told Patel about Southern California, and that he and Jay should come there and work with him near his Coto de Caza home and tennis college.

“That was 1996 and my brother came and trained with Vic for three weeks,” said Patel, whose brother would go on to play for UC Irvine and get his Masters from the University of Pennsylvania. “Vic saw that we had a passion for tennis, and we saw how humble he was and what an amazing soul he had.”

Patel added: “Vic knew that tennis was the center of my life. If tennis is the center, you have to be with Vic and not do this on your own. And Vic knew it was the center of my life. Now it is 20 years later, and we’re still here doing something in tennis and hopefully improving lives and tennis players.

“I want to take my last breath on a tennis court. That’s how much we love it.”

To learn more about Patel and Jay’s tennis program, go to:

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Tim Mang Mon, 11 May 2015 17:13:17 +0000 Read more »]]> Community Spotlight — Tim Mang

Tim Mang has always believed there is a huge value in playing high school tennis, even for the really great prep-aged juniors living in Southern California.

For the past 20 years, Mang has worked tirelessly trying to get the same recognition for tennis players as high school baseball, football and basketball players get at the state and national level.


l to r: Tim Mang, Parker Collins and Taylor Dent back in 1999.

“There is no state championship for tennis, and there is no individual championship either,” said Mang, who coached Corona del Mar High for 16 years and in 1982 was named the California High School Tennis Coach of the Year. “We wanted to change that and give the kids who play high school tennis a chance to earn All-American status.”

So Mang created the National High School Tennis All-American Foundation (NHSTAAF), a non-profit corporation formed to promote high school boys and girls tennis and to recognize the most outstanding high school players and teams throughout the United States.

According to the mission and purpose that can be viewed “The mission of the NHSTAAF is two-fold. First, the NHSTAAF wants to reward personal achievement by honoring the best high school boys and girls players in America in a meaningful way. Second, the NHSTAAF hopes to encourage the development of high-caliber high school tennis players and participation on high school teams by hosting and promoting national invitational team tennis tournaments each year – boys in the spring, and girls in the fall.”

Back in March, Torrey Pines High won the 16th annual National Invitational Boys title played at the Palisades Tennis Club in Newport Beach by beating Menlo Park, 7-2, in the final. Los Alamitos High beat Bellarmine Prep 5-3 in the third-fourth match. Iolani School in Honolulu won the Stan Smith Sportsmanship Award.

Coach Mang

“We bring the top eight teams from Southern California and eight teams from the rest of the U.S. and had even had teams from Australia and Canada,” Mang said.

Teams that have already been accepted to play in the 2016 event include: Collegiate School (New York, N.Y.), Corona del Mar (Newport Beach), Gilman School (Baltimore), Greenhill School (Addison, Texas), Horace Mann School (Riverdale, N.Y.), Peninsula High (Rolling Hills Estates), Potomac School (McLean, Va.), San Marino and University High (Irvine).

Mang said besides the team invitational, top individual players from Southern California are also honored. This year’s banquet will take place for the award recipients and parents and coaches on June 1 at the Palisades Tennis Club.

This year’s winners with high school and college or year in school include: Reese Stalder (Newport Harbor, Texas Christian University); Daniel Gealer (San Marino, UCLA); Michael Genender (Harvard Westlake, Stanford); Bjorn Hoffman (Corona del Mar, UC Berkeley); Brandon Holt (Palos Verdes, junior); Connor Hance (Peninsula, sophomore); Riley Smith (Los Alamitos, USC); Ryan Peus (Peninsula, sophomore); Katie Ta (Capistrano Valley, Brown); Ena Shibahara, Peninsula; junior); Summer Dvorak (Laguna Beach, Vanderbilt); Kenadi Hance (Peninsula,Washington).

Mang was seen at the recent Ojai Tennis Tournament seeking out each of the top SoCal players listed above and handing them and their coach a special invitation to the dinner.

Mang has been attending The Ojai since 1959 when he played there for Newport Harbor and its first-year coach legendary Glenn Bassett.

“He was an amazing coach even back then and of course went on to great things at UCLA,” said Mang of his mentor Bassett.

Mang spent 10 years on the CIF tennis advisory committee and has also chaired both the individual and team championships.

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Cari Buck Tue, 24 Feb 2015 00:10:40 +0000 Read more »]]> Community Tennis Spotlight – Cari Buck

Ask Cari Buck what her dream job is, and she doesn’t delay in responding: “I’m living it.”

Working in tennis has always been the goal for the current Manager of Client Services at Tennis Channel who also volunteers her time as the current USPTA California Division President, as well as serving on the USTA National Wheelchair Committee.

Cari Buck at French Open

“Tennis has been my life, part of my DNA,” said Buck, a Manhattan Beach resident. “I knew I always wanted to work in tennis.”

It’s indeed in the genes as Buck’s mother Annette is the long-time Adult/Senior coordinator for the SCTA and her father Jim played tennis for USC and captained the Southern California Maze Cup junior team for many years. The Bucks were the second family to be named SCTA Family of the Year back in 1985, as well as earning the same honor with the USTA the same year.

Buck got her USPTA teaching pro certification following college and spent six months in Florida before heading off to Maui where she worked for five years at both the Royal Lahaina and the Ritz Carlton at Kapalua.

It was there where she first was introduced to wheelchair tennis, some 25 years ago. “I didn’t know a thing about it,” Buck said. “I showed up one day and they said, ‘You’re going to teach wheelchair tennis.’

Cari Buck at US Open

“I was fascinated by it,” she continued. “The guys I was working with when I started were just so funny and fun to be around. They were learning forehands from me, and I was learning life lessons from them. I’ve always said that the wheelchair athletes are so grateful for everything that they have. And so many people we encounter today just wish they had more.”

Buck remains active on a national level with the USTA board, as well as coaches at the USTA / ITF International Junior Camp in Mission Viejo in July.

Following a return to California, Buck began working for Bob Kramer and the SCTA on the Mercedes-Benz Cup ATP event. Buck then worked in sales for a fitness company with 25 reps reporting to her.

She yearned to get back into tennis and took a marketing job at Tennis Channel almost 8 years ago. “I get to wear a lot of hats,” she said. “I work closely with our Ad Sales team and their clients, do social media, and I also work with our Tennis Industry Relations team at events, working with the ATP, WTA and players as an interview coordinator for green screen shoots, live interviews and even Bag Checks.”

Cari Buck

About six years ago, her friend Eric Stephens of Lakewood Tennis Center got her to join the USPTA Board, and thought she’d be a perfect fit to become president of the organization someday.

“My parents instilled in me this whole idea of giving back,” Buck said. “I’ve gotten so much from this game and I wanted others to be able to get just as much. So whether it’s because I work at Tennis Channel to promote the game, or if it’s giving back to teaching pros, or if it’s my wheelchair tennis work, I just want others to have some of the same amazing experiences that I’ve had.”

The recently concluded USPTA California Division convention was a huge success, according to Buck, with speaking lineup that included respected and noted USPTA teaching pros Dennis Ralston, Angel Lopez and Steve Johnson Sr., who had attendees “glued to their seats.”

“It was an unbelievable weekend,” Buck said. “Speaker-wise, it was the best lineup we’ve ever had. And we had more attendees than ever before. The feedback I’ve gotten back has been amazing. (USPTA CEO) John Embree was there and was amazed. He said we set the bar pretty high. I think the best thing about it was just seeing all the hard work and it how it paid off.”

And it wasn’t just on court discussion on strategy and tactics. “We did different drills, had a fitness class and even one on social media. It wasn’t just on-court. It was a great weekend of educating and networking. That’s what I wanted to bring to the USPTA conference: a great weekend of educating and networking. There are so many opportunities to learn and grow in the profession.”

Buck is asked again what, if any, job she would desire. She can’t think of anything that would make her as happy as what she’s doing now.

“I just have so many friends who get up every day and hate their jobs,” Buck said. “I just consider myself so lucky.”


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