USPTA Awards Honor Standouts in Tennis Profession

September 20, 2007

September 20, 2007 — The United States Professional Tennis Association recognized outstanding tennis coaches, players, managers and volunteers during its annual awards breakfast at the USPTA World Conference on Tennis on September 20. The USPTA, the world’s oldest and largest association of tennis-teaching professionals, is hosting its annual World Conference, which is the premier educational event of the tennis industry, Sept. 17-22 at the Saddlebrook Resort in Wesley Chapel, Fla.

The year’s award ceremony was noteworthy since it included the induction of two very special members, Bill Tym and Alex Gordon, into the USPTA Hall of Fame. Tym, a USPTA Master Professional and past USPTA national president, has been involved in tennis as a coach, player and administrator for half a century. Gordon, who was inducted posthumously, made lasting contributions to the game of tennis as a coach, player and USPTA member. In fact, his legacy is so great that the USPTA Alex Gordon Professional of the Year award was named in his honor. Both join the ranks of only seven other grand inductees into the USPTA Hall of Fame.

John Joyce from Boca Raton, Fla., was honored with the Alex Gordon Professional of the Year Award, as the top member in the association. Joyce, who has been a USPTA Professional 1 since 1985, is the director of tennis at Boca West Country Club, the largest equity club in the nation.

The USPTA Star Award recognizes a person who leaves a lasting impression in the community by using tennis as a vehicle to reach out to the community. Jane Hines of Omaha, Neb., has made tremendous contributions to the growth of tennis and to bringing the game of tennis to communities in Nebraska. She has done this through her involvement with several causes including the Tennis Everyone program, Special Olympics and wheelchair tennis, and as an active fundraiser for various tennis projects within the Nebraska District.

The recipient of the USTA/USPTA Community Service Award is Craig S. Jones of Martinez, Ga. He is the owner and director of tennis at the Petersburg Racquet Club, where he also created the Futures Program for players ages 4 to 18.

Sue Burke of Boulder, Colo., received the USPTA Industry Excellence Award, which honors those who have outstanding business insight and a charitable attitude. Burke has used various avenues to serve as an ambassador and promote the game of tennis. She has worked with several community groups including Boys and Girls Clubs and the I Have a Dream Foundation. The award is sponsored by the Tennis Industry Association and supported by Tennis Tutor ball machines.

John Joyce, a USPTA Professional 1 since 1985, is currently the director of tennis at Boca West Country Club, the largest equity club in the nation. He has overseen operations at this 39-court facility, which includes 8,500 total members, for the past 13 years. His involvement with the USPTA is extensive, including currently serving on the Florida Division Board as the Florida regional vice president. He is a member of the USPTA National Executive Committee and serves on the USPTA national future trends committee. As Florida Division president, Joyce initiated the Florida Division Hall of Fame in 2006. He and his board helped initiate and organize the USPTA tournament in conjunction with the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships in February 2006. His accolades include Florida Division Professional of the Year in 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2007, as well as Florida Division Facility Manager of the Year in 2000.

Kari Yerg is a teaching pro at the Patch Reef Park Tennis Center in Boca Raton, Fla., and has been deeply involved in wheelchair tennis coaching for many years. She is a seven-time coach of U.S. teams in World Team Cup, which is the wheelchair tennis equivalent of Davis Cup and Fed Cup. For the past three years she coached the U.S. juniors at Cruyff Junior Masters in Tarbes, France. Her world-ranked junior players include Noah Yalong, Dylan Levine, Matt Farmen, and Emmy Kaiser. She is the coach of 10 USTA nationally ranked wheelchair tennis players including three ITF world-ranked players, Karin Korb, ranked No. 34, Jan Proctor, ranked No. 23, David Harrison, ranked No. 19 in quads and John Becker, ranked No. 63. Other players she has coached include Randy Snow, David Johnson of Australia and the 2000 silver medalist in the Sydney Paralympic Games and Kevin Whalen, a competitor in the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games. She is the director of a free weekly wheelchair tennis clinic conducted at Patch Reef Park.

Tommy Wade, Tuscaloosa, Ala. – Tester of the Year

Tommy Wade, a USPTA Professional 1, is the director of tennis for the city of Decatur in Alabama. He took over a facility with six unused courts and has expanded the program to 16 hard and soft courts, two courts in a bubble, and a new pro-shop and tennis building. Tommy is a two-time USPTA National Tester of the Year, state and division Pro of the Year, and Pride of the South award winner. He currently serves as the head tester for the Southern Division, and has held the office of president for both the state and the division. Tommy won 21 Kentucky State championships, played No. 1 on the team for four years at the University of Kentucky, made the SEC all conference team three of those years, and later coached both the University of Kentucky and the University of Alabama tennis teams. He has spoken at various USTA and USPTA workshops and conventions across the country.

Paulo Barros, Orlando, Fla. – Men’s Open Player of the Year

Sue Bramlette has finished strong in several USTA tournaments. She was a finalist in women’s 55 doubles at the USTA Clay Court Nationals, a team finalist in 55 singles and doubles at the USTA National Intersectionals, the 55 singles champion at the 2006 Tennis Express, a 55 singles finalist at the USTA Hard Court National Championships, and a 55 doubles champion at the Les Grande Dumes Checket Cup. Bramlette is the president of the National Senior Women’s Tennis Association.