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Remodeled club is excited about open house

An old club with a new name and a new look invites tennis players to its open house Saturday.


© St. Petersburg Times, published December 13, 2000

Lakewood Country Club, officially renamed the St.Petersburg Country Club in November, has undergone a $2.5 million face lift.

The club will have an open house in conjunction with Babolat USA's Demo Day, which is scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon.

"The St.Petersburg Country Club is a new account for us, and we thought it would be good timing to have a demo day there," said Rhett Rollyson of Babolat USA.

"Babolat has a new line of racquets out, and bringing them out to the public as much as possible to try is our goal," Rollyson said.

Babolat has been known more for its string than racquets.

But with its new line -- used by such professional players as Carols Moya, Alex Corretja and Kim Clijsters -- Rollyson wants to get the racquets in the hands of other players with the hope that once they try them, they'll be impressed.

Rollyson will coordinate with tennis director Sam Vuille and direct games and contests for participants while they demo the racquets at 9 a.m.

Later in the morning, an exhibition is planned with Rollyson, Vuille, Jeff Davis and Mark Foster participating.

"This is our first special activity since the renovation, so we're looking forward to it," Vuille said.

"Some of the tennis improvements include new fencing, court resurfacing, expanding our screened-in area and painting. We also now have six of our 11 courts lighted."

Ken DeMott, the club's general manager, is extremely pleased with the look of the tennis area and credits Vuille and his staff as well as a strong membership.

"We've been fortunate to see an increase in tennis and in our memberships," said DeMott, "and we have a positive core of members we're really proud of.

"With all the renovations we've had, it's a great scenario for us," he said.

There is no admission to the event.

The St.Petersburg Country Club is one of the area's oldest clubs. Established in the early 1920s, the club is located in south St. Petersburg in Lakewood Estates.

K-SWISS WINNERS: Pinellas players dominated the K-Swiss Fall Championships last weekend at the Vinoy. Men's singles players won eight of 11 divisions, and women's singles players captured all eight classes.

Susan Hobbs won the 4.5-minus singles and teamed with Ann Worthington to win the 8.5 doubles. Other doubles winners were St. Petersburg's Jacqueline Calametti and Vicki Fox in the 7.5.

Straight-set singles winners included Nadine Verdebout (2.5), Margaret Laird (3.5-minus), Teena Marks (3.5), Janie Griffith (4.0-minus), Turtle Marshall (4.0) and Lisa Freeman (5.0).

Beth Frierson of the St.Petersburg Country Club rebounded from a first-set loss to win the 3.0 title 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.

In men's singles, three-set victories were earned by Robert Starzl (3.5) and Ron Wiser (5.0). Two-set wins were netted by Scott Kroeger (3.5-minus), Terry Griffith (4.0), Dan Mollica (4.5-minus), Kamran Rezapour (4.5), Kurt Long (5.5) and Greg Tournant (6.0).

DEDICATION: Earlier this month, the lounge/meeting room at the St. Petersburg Tennis Center was named in memory of Mildred Harris, a long-term volunteer and player at the center.

Harris, who passed away in February at the age of 84, was a founding member of the Racquettes ladies group that began in 1962 and continues activity today.

Family members, tennis friends, the center's advisory board and city officials attended the dedication.

ORANGE BOWL PLAYERS: Scheduled to compete in the main draw division of the Orange Bowl Championships at Crandon Park in Key Biscayne are Ashley Harkleroad and Kelly McCain in the 18-and-under division, Alezandria Liles in the 16 class and Sukhwa Young in boys 16.

Harkleroad is seeded 15th.

The top eight players in this week's qualifying tournament advance to the main draw, which continues through Sunday.

HOMECOMING: The 32nd annual Sullivan Homecoming Invitational is scheduled for 11 a.m. Dec.23 at the St.Petersburg Tennis Center.

Invited players are former or current students of Dan Sullivan, a well-known teaching professional in St. Petersburg since 1954.

At one time, Sullivan was ranked 29th in the nation and competed against players such as Bill Tilden, Roy Emerson and Ken Rosewall.

Over the last 40-plus years, it's estimated that Sullivan has taught hundreds of players who attended college on a tennis scholarship.

A round-robin doubles format will be played, followed by a party hosted by Sullivan. Interested players should contact Jeff Davis, 360-6543.

SENIOR LEAGUE: The Racquet Club of St.Petersburg earned its third victory in four attempts last weekend with a 2-1 decision over unbeaten Innisbrook in the 3.5 central division of the UTSA Florida Section Senior Doubles League. Netting wins were Nick Routh and Nute Rogers in the No.1 position and Larry Sewall and Tom Shevlin in No.2.

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