If last week’s turnout is any indication, the USPTA Teaching Professionals 45 and Older Exhibition Tour is going to be quite successful.
With less than seven days notice, 50-plus people showed up for the first event at Gateway.
“Some of us thought about doing this last fall, but we never got it together,” said Gateway director and USPTA district president Alex Hermeto. “So I just bit the bullet and had it at my club. I’m very glad we did.”
Hermeto said the exhibition tour is an extension of, and not in competition with, the Pro League.
“We know the Pro League keeps getting more and more popular,” he said. “This is another channel for some of the pros who are not competing in the Pro League or not competing full time. It’s a bit more relaxed.”
The event is not the first of its kind. Three years ago, Armor Persons created a Master Pro League.
“Nothing was done last year so we decided to bring it back,” said Hermeto. “It’s something extra for fans. The goal is to give the pros and clubs not part of Pro League a chance to showcase themselves and their property.”
If you missed the first event, the second exhibition will be held at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Miromar.
“We will have three courts going,” said Hermeto.
Among those expected to participate are Miromar’s Mike Barnes and Steve Alonzi, Gateway’s Van Middlesworth, Carolyn Lawver of Heritage Palms and Kelly Greens’ John Ramsey.
Like the Pro League, the events are free and the public is welcome.
Pelican Preserve will host a stop on March 28.
“When the Pro League is on an off week, fans can still come see some great tennis,” said Hermeto.
• And speaking of the Pro League, the playoffs are set for March 21 at Colonial.
• Save the date — the sixth annual Madisen’s Match is coming to The Landings on March 28-29. Events include dinner and auction, clinic, lunch with the legends, pro-am and exhibition. Log on to madisensmatch.com for more information.
• The Estero Country Club is putting together a bus trip to the Sony Open in Key Biscayne on March 24. The cost is $70 for transportation and a day ticket. Call 267-7001 for details.
• The Tennis for a Better Life Tournament will be held April 4-6 at Park Meadow. Divisions include men’s and women’s 6.0, 7.0, 8.0 and 9.0 doubles. Exhibitions begin at 4 p.m. on April 4, while the tournament runs April 5-6. The cost is $45 per person and registration closes March 22. Go to tennisforabetterlife.org for details.
• Feeling artistic? Well, you may want to design the official 2014 Wimbledon poster. For the first time, U.S. fans are welcome to submit entries. You better hurry though – the deadline is Sunday. Go to Wimbledon.com for more information. If you don’t enter, you can still contribute. During the Sony Open, fans can go to ESPN.com to vote and determine the five finalists. Voting for that closes on April 6. The winner, who will receive an all-expenses paid trip to Wimbledon with Centre Court seats, will be announced later that month. Go to Wimbldeon.com/poster to find out more.