Local Tennis Notebook, March 19: IJTA likes its new home in Bluffton

mmccombs@islandpacket.comMarch 19, 2014 

Cincinnati Tennis

Grigor Dimitrov, of Bulgaria, returns a volley to Nicolas Almagro, of Spain, during a match at the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament on Monday, Aug. 12, 2013, in Mason, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)

TOM UHLMAN — File -- The Associated Press

When the Ivan Lendl International Junior Tennis Academy held its open house on Saturday morning for potential students and their parents, CEO Peter Orrell and company were not only showing off their namesake, as well as their coaching methods and physical and mental training, but they were also showing off their new digs at the TennisClub of the Low Country.

The IJTA left Port Royal Racquet Club, its home for the first two years of its existence, for the TCL in January.

Orrell said Saturday that the academy still has a great relationship with Port Royal but thought the move was best because it allowed the academy to move the instruction portion of its training closer to where the students are housed in Bluffton.

The only part of the academy that remains on Hilton Head Island is the Heritage Academy, which, like the IJTA, is owned by Junior Sports Corporation. Orrell said the Heritage Academy will remain on the island.

Another benefit for the IJTA is that the TCL is already equipped with the smaller courts for the Quick Start program.

"We want to equip our kids with a competitive advantage," Orell said. "Life is a competition."

One more thing the IJTA kids will be equipped with will be several hard courts to go with the five clay courts already in existence at the TCL. The IJTA and the TCL are partners in the construction of the courts.

"We're building a partnership with those guys," Orrell said of TCL owners Butch Staples, Gavin Cox and Mike O'Regan. "And so far it's an excellent partnership. We chose the right guys. It's just like a marriage. We intend on this being a long-term relationship."


Three Hilton Head Island-based teams finished second in the USTA's Combo Doubles Southern Sectional Championships earlier this month.

In the 18 & Over championships held Feb. 28 through March 2 in Mobile, Ala., the Women's 9.5 squad, captained by Julie Child, was second to a team from Charlotte, N.C.

In the 55 & Over championships held March 7-9 in Dothan, Ala., the Men's 7.5 team captained by Mark Anders and David Dockum finished second to a team from Valdosta, Ga., while the Men's 8.5 team, captained by Dockum, was second to a team from Dalton, Ga.

The Men's 7.5 team consists of Dockum, Anders, Curtis Battistelli, Frank J. Bellafato, David Blair, George Cooper, Walton Cutshall, William Richard Glover, Robert D. Lindsey, Sean O'Sullivan, Joseph V. Rubinos and Harold A. Stephens.

The Men's 8.5 team conists of Dockum, Anders, Lee Bracken, Wes Breinich, Rubinos, Guenter E. Bergmann, Dwight R. Trew, Jeffrey Hoffman, William G. Sturm, John N. Chryst, Robert W. Tillison, Patrick S. Child, Cooper and Jim Zack.


The Professional Tennis Registry has announced the promotion of Steve Keller from director of development, a post he held since 2008, to director of education.

Keller, a member of PTR since 1986, is now responsible for the educational direction and content of the organization's pathways to certification, as well as all aspects of the Master of Tennis programs. He will oversee PTR clinician training to ensure continuity of content delivery, and design and develop professional development courses to create opportunities for certified members to fulfill PTR's continuing education requirements.

Keller will report to PTR CEO Dan Santorum and serve as the staff liaison to the USTA coaching education department.

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