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Tennis team takes 2nd at USTA event

The Aces, an adult recreational club team, came together as a family en route to the national championships.

By JOHN BALZ, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published October 4, 2002


TAMPA PALMS -- The magical season for the Tampa Palms Aces came to a close over the weekend with a second-place finish at the United States Tennis Association's national championships in Tucson, Ariz.

The Aces, Tampa Palms Country Club's club team, which had never sent any group to a national tennis championship event qualified along with 16 other teams. After advancing to the final round, the team fell to a younger, more powerful squad from Puerto Rico by a score of 4-1.

The USTA's event is the culmination of the largest adult recreational tennis league in the world.

Mike Bedosky, the Aces captain, said the entire weekend was a "phenomenal experience."

"It was an opportunity for 14 guys to come together and unite with a goal of achievement in mind," he said.

The Aces breezed through the local and regional USTA tournaments. They won the state tournament this summer at Daytona Beach, site of the USTA's headquarters.

The 14-member team (plus two others who practiced but didn't make the trip west) range in age from 36 to 60. Off the court they are doctors, research assistants, consultants and sales managers.

Bedosky said he and his teammates practiced their serves and backhands at all hours of the day, going to the country club or to Compton Park in Tampa Palms before and after work.

He recalled setting up practices at 11 p.m. and wiping off clay courts after a thunderstorm to sneak in an extra half hour of hitting time.

"We pushed each other to become better and we became a family," Bedosky said.

-- John Balz can be reached at (813) 269-5313 or at balz@sptimes.com.

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