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Seniors in town to showcase skills

Published February 28, 2007


The St. Petersburg Country Club offers opportunities to see some of the nation's best senior male players throughout this week in the Raymond James Super Senior Grand Prix National USTA Category II Tournament.

It's the second year the club has hosted the event, and tournament director Sam Vuille predicts some highly competitive matches as players challenge for singles and doubles titles in the 55-and-over to 90 age divisions.

"There are some great singles players here, with some among the top in the world," Vuille said. "Players are from all over, including England, Canada and all over the U.S. A tournament of this level gives more national ranking points than winning a sectional championship.

An example of the quality of play is in the 65 division with No. 1 seed Joe Bachmann of Sarasota, No. 2 Rudy Hernando of Fort Lauderdale, No. 3 Allan Carter of Boca Raton and No. 4 Ralph Howe in St. Petersburg. They've all recently won national titles on different court surfaces.

Competition began Monday in the 60, 65, 75 and 80 divisions. The 70 opened play Tuesday and the 55 and 85 begin today.

Last year's winners Larry Turville 55, Michael Beautyman (60), Joe Bachman (65), King Van Nostrand (70), George McCabe (75), Bob Meyerdierks (80) and Tom Avirett (85) are set to defend their titles.

Dick Crawford, who won the 70 doubles with Van Nostrand last year, expects a high level of competition.

"This tournament draws some of the top players and a lot of those players have a world ranking," said Crawford, who was No. 2 in the world a year ago and will play both singles and doubles. "It's definitely an honor to have this tournament in the area and especially at the St. Petersburg club. There are 10 Category II tournaments around the country, and we're lucky to have two in Florida - this one and one in Naples."

Draw sizes range from 64 in the 65 and 70; 32 in 55, 60 and 75; 16 in 80; and eight in 85. Prize money in the amount of $3,000 will be shared among the winners and finalists.

For specific playing times, call Vuille at 867-9105 or go to the tournament Web site,

LEAGUE NEWS: Among local USTA League action last weekend was Treasure Bay's 3-0 win over Bardmoor to raise its record to 8-0. Winning were Susan Hobbs and Jim Murray in No. 1, Carol Murray and Roger Pryor No. 2 and Nancy Aukeman and Pat Bitonti No. 3.

St. Pete Tennis Center's 7.0 super senior women's squad collected its fourth win with a 3-0 victory over Seminole Lake Racquet Club on the play of Unho Ko and Karen Edwards in No. 1, Gayle Woodley and Joyce Rosner No. 2 and Janice Stone and Gen Casey No. 3.

Shipwatch Tennis Club posted its seventh win with a 3-0 score over Bardmoor. Winning were Al Blackburn and John Finlayson in No. 1, Johnie Howard and Charles Eikner No. 2 and Billy Oliver and Bill Glasser No. 3.

NET SHOTS: Fourth-seed Becky Bodine reached the girls 14-and-under final in this month's USTA National Open at the Bardmoor Golf and Tennis Club. Top seed Julia Jones was third. Jones teamed with Rachel James-Baker of Boynton Beach to win girls 14 doubles.

- Among the winners in last weekend's Winter Classic at the Seminole Lake Racquet Club were top seeds Amy Lowther in the girls 14, Damian Rossi Pittau boys 18, Jake Gabay 10 and Kento Tagashire 14.

- Feather Sound Country Club named its 2007 club champions in two women's singles divisions and three men's. Elaine DiLoreto won the women's A, Nadine Brockway B, Albert Valin men's A, Brad Sueholtz B and Joe Corvello C.

COMING UP: A USTA-sponsored Recreational Coaches Workshop is 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Largo Tennis Center. Cost is $25. For more information, contact site host Julie Panton at 744-3966 or ... A St. Petersburg Rookie contest is Saturday at the St. Petersburg Tennis Center. Call 823-2225.

News for this column may be faxed to Nancy Morgan, 445-4119; e-mailed to or sent to 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756. Please include phone number.

[Last modified February 28, 2007, 01:49:48]

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