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Awards & Achievements, September 2018

June 7, 2018 11:52 AM

Southern players and organizations are constantly making their mark in the world of tennis. Here's a list of recent awards, achievements and news in September 2018.

Donna Bailey, left, and Woodie Walker.

Donna Bailey Receives Debut Woodie Walker C.A.R.E. Award

Four US Open umpires were recognized for their excellence and dedication to the game of tennis at the 2018 US Open Umpire Awards.

Former USTA Chairman of Officials and long-time USTA Southern volunteer Donna Bailey, of Macon, Ga., was award the first Woodie Walker C.A.R.E. Award. This is the 2nd national recognition for Bailey in the past four years; she is a former recipient of the Nicholas E. Powel Award for her lifelong dedication to grassroots officiating in the United States.

All 350 US Open umpires gathered prior to the start of play on Day 8 for the awards ceremony, which was held on-court at the new Louis Armstrong Stadium. Executives from the US Open and USTA, including US Open Tournament Director David Brewer, US Open Referee Brian Earley, Chief Umpire Soeren Friemel and Deputy Referee Mark Darby, were on hand to recognize the hard work of the umpires.

Read more on USOpen.org.

In addition to the four honorees, two long-time US Open officials were recognized.

The first was US Open Tournament Referee Brian Earley. After working at the US Open for 39 years, Earley will be retiring at the conclusion of the 2018 US Open.

“I couldn’t have done any of this without all of you,” said Earley. “Thank you to my referee staff. I look forward to helping the next person who’s fortunate enough to be in the position.”

And Woodie Walker, a stalwart in the officiating community, celebrated her 50th anniversary with the US Open.

“The one thing that has brought me back so much, I want to see the transformation, yes, but I wanted to see all the same, familiar faces,” said Walker. "You are my family, and the US Open is home for me."

Other recipients of the 2018 US Open Umpire Awards:

• Nicholas E. Powel Award: Bonnie Hartshorn
• Jack Stahr Award: Andrew Kim
• John T. McGovern Award: Ken Austin

Abilities Tennis Association Awarded USTA Community Service Award

The USTA has announced that Abilities Tennis Association of North Carolina in Raleigh, N.C., was awarded the 2018 USTA National Adaptive Tennis Community Service Award.  The organization was honored at the USTA Semi-Annual Meeting, in New York City. The USTA annually bestows this recognition upon a program or program leader that has demonstrated continued excellence, dedication and service in tennis for an adaptive tennis community

Abilities Tennis Association of North Carolina (ATANC) began in 2007 when a small group of parents and a coach united to provide tennis opportunities for athletes with intellectual disabilities. It has three mission goals: increase the availability of tennis clinics and tournaments in communities throughout N.C.; provide curriculum, resources and consultation to local Community Tennis Associations and provide specialized trainings to coaches, volunteers and PE teachers and student leaders interested in bringing tennis to special education classes in their schools; and provide opportunities for athletes to play unified doubles, which promotes inclusion.

ATANC helps change lives by giving those with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to learn a sport, hone a skill, improve physical fitness, socialize and build confidence. It creates the opportunity for inclusion, bringing those from all walks of life together to create an improved disposition for those with intellectual disabilities. All programs are free of charge for the athlete, and the ATANC hosts six tournaments a year throughout North Carolina. These tournaments allow athletes to come together and show off the skills that they have been developing at the clinics.

“Abilities Tennis Association of North Carolina continues to strengthen the building blocks for the future of their athletes,” said Craig Morris, Chief Executive, USTA. “Abilities Tennis provides over 1,000 participants with the opportunity to learn not only the game of tennis, but to also learn about themselves, be part of a team and grow and succeed on and off the court.”

The USTA Adaptive Tennis National Community Service Award was established in 2003.  To qualify for a program award, the program must have been in existence for a minimum of three consecutive years and be either a registered USTA Adaptive Tennis program or have a USTA Adaptive Tennis affiliation.  To qualify for an individual award, the recipient must have worked with an Adaptive Tennis program for a minimum of three consecutive years.

Pratt Recognized as USTA National Junior Scholar Athlete

The USTA announced that Wisconsin-bound Jared Pratt of Charleston, S.C., and University of Southern California recruit Danielle Wilson of Newport Beach, Calif., were named the recipients of the 2018 USTA National Junior Scholar Athlete Award, honoring high school tennis players who best demonstrate that tennis is the sport of opportunity for education, advancement and character development. The two were honored at the USTA Semi-Annual meeting in New York City.

Pratt, a recent graduate of Bishop England High School with an unweighted 3.96 GPA and 1500 SAT score, ended 2017 as No.1 in the USTA Boys’ 18 National Rankings and started this year in the ATP Rankings. He was named the 2016 USTA South Carolina Player of the Year and represented the Southern Section at the USTA Intersectional Team Championships and USTA National Team Championships. He also saw success in singles and doubles in USTA National Championships, such as Kalamazoo. Pratt was a National Merit Scholar finalist and took five AP courses. He volunteered at USTA tournaments, food banks, walks for causes and Special Olympics Tennis Instructor.

Pratt is no stranger to noteriety. He was named to the USTA Junior Leadership Tearm earlier this year. He was featured in an extensive USTA Southern article that described is recovery from back surgery.

“Jared’s and Danielle’s achievements on the court, in the classroom and in the community truly make them exemplary leaders among their peers,” said Craig Morris, Chief Executive, USTA. “They are both very deserving of this honor and have bright futures ahead of them at Ivy League schools.”

This is the seventh year the USTA has awarded its National Junior Scholar Athlete award. To qualify, students must have an unweighted GPA of 3.75 on a 4.0 scale and be ranked in the Top 100 of the USTA Boys’ or Girls’ 18s national standings. A written essay, as well as leadership and sportsmanship, were also considered. Excerpts from each player’s essay can be found in the link below.

MACH Academy Garners Second National Award

The USTA has announced today that National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) chapter MACH Academy, Inc., of Augusta, Ga., has been honored with its NJTL Chapter of the Year Award. MACH Academy were honored at the USTA Semi-annual Meeting in New York City.

MACH Academy began in 1992, providing recreational and education programs year-round for children ages 3-18. The center continues to serve inner city and disadvantaged youth in Augusta and also Aiken, S.C. The communities are benefited by the tennis development and life-skill opportunities. Programs continue to produce junior players who become ranked at the district, section and national level. MACH was one of the first chapters trained in delivering ACE, and the organization received awards in the past years including the 2009 National NJTL Chapter of the Year and the 2008 and 2012 Southern NJTL Chapter of the Year Awards.

The Augusta Chronicle wrote a story about the award.

“We are proud to honor the work being done MACH Academy,” said Craig Morris, Chief Executive, USTA. “MACH is an outstanding example of how NJTL continues to impact today’s youth by delivering programs that emphasize not only tennis, but also character and education.”

The USTA bestows the National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) Chapter of the Year Award to chapters that positively impact youth through the powerful combination of tennis and education. Founded in 1969 by Arthur Ashe, along with Charlie Pasarell and Sheridan Snyder, the NJTL network is a nationwide group of more than 350 nonprofit youth development organizations. Supported by the USTA Foundation through financial grants, scholarship opportunities, curricula, technical assistance and training, the NJTL network provides free or low-cost tennis and education programming to more than 225,000 under-resourced youth nationwide.

Santorum Honored with National Public Parks Award

Professional Tennis Registry (PTR) is pleased to announce that its CEO, Dan Santorum, received the National Public Parks Tennis Association (NPPTA) Jean and Hollis Smith Lifetime Achievement Award.  The award, presented annually, recognizes an individual who has been an outstanding advocate, and who has promoted the NPPTA across the country.  

Santorum is a USTA Southern Presidential Appointee.

The Lifetime Achievement award was presented at the USTA’s Public Parks Committee meeting in New York City by NPPTA President, Scott Hanover.  In his presentation, Hanover said, “Dan Santorum has been a huge proponent of educating and certifying tennis coaches in the public parks.  The PTR ACE Program, which he started, has played a huge role in providing quality tennis coach education in the parks, as well as increasing the number of coaches of color. We cannot think of a more deserving candidate for 2018."

PTR President, Rodney Harmon commented, “As a former spokesperson for the PTR ACE Program, I applaud the selection of Dan for this award.  He has worked passionately to promote tennis education and certification in the public parks.”

Gauff Leads American Team to Victory

Longtime Atlanta resident Cori "Coco" Gauff and Alexa Noel clinched victory for the U.S. Junior Fed Cup Team. The duo defeated Ukraine in the final in Budapest, Hungary. It was the country's second consecutive Junior Fed Cup title.

Gauff (14, presently of Delray Beach, Fla.) forced the deciding rubber by defeating Dasha Lopatetskaya 6-1, 4-6, 6-0. 

Downing, Wilson Win A Doubles in Hilton Head Island

Avery Downing, of Alabama, and Michelle Wilson, of Tennessee, won the women's A doubles at the PTR Wheelchair Championships on Hilton Head Island, S.C. The event is part of the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour, and ITF?Series II?Event / Grade A Junior Tournament and USTA?Fall Southern Championship. Wilson was the finalists in the A singles competition.

Other top players were: Robert Popelka, of Georgia, who won the B men's singles; Taylor Windgate, of South Carolina, who was the A singles men's finalist; Wingate also won the A doubles with Jody Lawhead, defeating Harlon Matthews, of Georgia, and John Becker. In B doubles, Mark La Rotondaof Georgia, and Popelka downed Eddie Hawkins, of North Carolina, and Jeff Townsend, of South Carolina, in the B doubles.Emmy Kaiser, of Kentucky, was an Open finalist in women's doubles.

Little Rock Junior Noted for Sportsmanship at USTA Tournament

Wesley Barnett, of Little Rock, Ark., won the Zimmerman/Johnson USTA National Tournament Sportsmanship Award for boys' 18s. The tournament was played at Stanford, Calif.