USTA Florida Announces 2023 Winter/Spring Local Award Winners

Jaret Kappelman | June 09, 2023

USTA Florida is proud to reveal the 2023 winners of the Winter/Spring Local Awards. The USTA Florida Awards Committee and Staff recognized five individuals within the Florida tennis community for showcasing what the sport is all about.


Champion of Tennis Award

This award recognizes an individual(s), a community or program partner(s), who may or may not be a volunteer(s) for USTA Florida. Their contributions result in the promotion and/or development of tennis in their community and/or throughout Florida. These contributions may be defined in time, accomplishments, skills, resources and/or efforts.

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Central Winner – George Henry, Palm Coast Tennis Center


George Henry has been making a huge difference in the tennis community for years, especially in the junior space. He has created an environment at the Palm Coast Tennis Center that allows youth players of all skill levels to learn and grow in the sport of tennis.  


“His enthusiasm for the sport is contagious,” one of his colleagues said. “George has an unfailing commitment to advancing tennis.” Henry does a great job being a mentor and coach to junior players in his community.


As a result of his dedication to the game, his clinics are constantly filled, and his private lessons are highly sought out.  

Southeast Winner – Kara Borromeo, Coral Reef Park

When it comes to tennis in Miami-Dade County, Kara Borromeo has been one of the best in organizing, leading, and teaching tennis to junior players. She has been a mentor for over 10 years, leading numerous Junior Team Tennis squads, and helping many players expand their skillset in tennis.


“She inspires people daily,” a student’s parent said. “Kara is not only a coach, but a mentor and friend to many, in what she considers her ‘Chihuahuaz Family’.”

Kara is extremely active in her community and loves to spend her free time volunteering at local tennis events. Her impact on her players also has driven many to get involved with the sport beyond playing, such as volunteering with various organizations.  

North Winner – Brock Sakey, Roger Scott Tennis Center


Five years ago, Brock Sakey partnered with Pat Bateman to take over the Roger Scott Tennis Center and that has brought new life to tennis in the Pensacola community. Sakey has taken many different play opportunities like Special Olympics, Love Serving Autism, USTA Tournaments, and more, and introduced those to the Roger Scott Tennis Center.


He goes above and beyond for all the players that step foot onto the Escambia County facility. Sakey recently secured funding from the city of Pensacola to rebuild 12 of the 18 hard courts at the tennis center.  


“Brock leads by example and people love to work with and for him,” a peer said. “He has become a true pillar of society, he advocates for all players and makes sure everyone has a place in the tennis community.”

Southwest Winner – Alex Bogdanovic, Westchase Swim & Tennis Center

Living out a mission to fulfill the needs of the community is no easy task, but Coach Alex Bogdanovic makes sure that everyone has a chance to experience the joy of tennis. In the last two years, he has seen his programs triple in size.


On top of that, he started the “Courts for a Cause” Charity, which is helping give back to families in the community who have children that are seriously ill. Coach Alex recently hosted a tennis and pickleball tournament, where all proceeds went toward the charity.  


“Coach Alex has a great passion for coaching and is thankful for the ability to give back to the sport of tennis that he loves,” said former USTA Florida Foundation Board Director, Sara Hewitt.

Jimmy Gantt Memorial Award

This award recognizes a tennis player who has overcome a physical impairment or injury. Tournament players, league players, recreational players, adaptive players, and wheelchair players (junior and adult) are included. The player competes to the best of his/her ability and exhibits strong character and sportsmanship.

North Winner – John Ambersley, Roger Scott Tennis Center

Tennis is a lifelong sport and for John Ambersley, who has been playing for over a decade, he didn’t want to give up the game where things took an unfortunate turn in 2022. John broke his kneecap in August of that year and had to undergo two surgeries to repair it. This left him in a cast for six weeks, followed by a full leg brace.


The road to recovery wasn’t going to be easy, but without batting an eye, John got to work. He worked his tail off at physical therapy, where he had to learn how to walk again. “John truly enjoys life and has persevered where many would have given up,” USTA Florida Board member, Rita Dotson.  


John is also a competitor in the Special Olympics, placing on the podium in the Skills Competition for 2022 and 2023. He is a true warrior and inspires everyone around him to push themselves to their limits.


If you missed out on this award cycle, don’t worry. The Summer/Fall Award period opens on July 1 and you can nominate someone. Check at ustaflorida.com/awards when the nomination period opens for more details.



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