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Talking Tennis Southern Style podcast

Ron Cioffi | May 20, 2021

Roll Tide & Roll Wheelchair

We are rolling this episode and talking about Wheelchair Tennis. First up is USTA and USTA Southern Wheelchair Tennis Committee Chair Jennifer Edmonson. Jennifer serves as Cajun Classic USTA Southern Wheelchair Championships Tournament Director and accepted the USTA Southern 2011 Wheelchair Tournament of the Year Award. Evan Enquist is the first full-time head Wheelchair Tennis coach for University of Alabama and has been a part of the coaching staff for six USTA Collegiate National Championships, including 2021. A member of the USTA Southern Wheelchair Tennis Committee since 2017 and vice chair in the last two terms, Evan was a leader of Alabama’s club team that received the section’s 2018 Tennis On Campus Club of the Year. Our junior spotlight player is Drew Hedgecoe, of Fayetteville, NC, and Lizl Kotz, of Mount Pleasant, SC, is cited for being named 2020 Slew Hester Female Player of the Year.

Coaching College Tennis with John Shackelford & Amy Bryant - May 27, 2021

With the NCAA tennis championships in full swing, we interview two highly successful NCAA DIII tennis coaches. First up is John Shackelford, Director of Tennis at Sewanee. The Tigers men have won 22 conference championships and the women have captured 13. Shackelford’s women’s team, led by women’s head coach Conchie Shackelford (his wife), will play in the championship quarterfinals next Monday. Amy Bryant, Emory women’s coach, leads a team that has won seven NCAA team titles, six NCAA singles crowns and four doubles crowns. She chats about the pressure of being one of the two leading DIII women’s programs ever. The Emory women are also in the quarters next Monday. Anna Monhartova, of New Orleans, won the 2020 USTA Southern Educational Merit Award for heading up the acclaimed As & Aces.


#NationalTennisMonth / #PowerOfTennis; French Open preview with Martin Blackman - May 13, 2021

May is #NationalTennisMonth and USTA Southern is promoting the #PowerOfTennis this month. In a remarkable surge, four million Americans took up tennis last year. Two of our nine states are represented in detailing outreach to keep those players on court. USTA South Carolina President James McKissick and USTA North Carolina Executive Director Kelly Gaines talk about how new players are being converted through connections to communities and governments. Additionally, we continue in our coverage of Roland Garros from last week as USTA’s Martin Blackman returns as our Grand Slam Correspondent


French Open preview with Kathy Rinaldi - May 6, 2021

Kathy Rinaldi has been in the tennis spotlight since she won her first Wimbledon match at only 14 years of age. Four years later, she beat Steffi Graf to win the WTA title at Mahwah and also reached No. 7 in the world. Now, she watches American players to see how far they can go and talks about the upcoming French Open/Roland Garros. She heads up women’s tennis for the USTA with the high-profile role as captain of the USA’s Billie Jean King Cup (formerly Fed Cup) team and the Olympics women’s coach. Also interviewed is Dan WolkenSEC writer for USA Today. Dan is a dedicated rec tennis player who was on the court more than he expected last year. We highlighted junior player Micah Pierce of New Orleans, LA, and Tennis On Campus Leader of the Year Brendan Healey of Clemson.


April is Autism Awareness Month - April 22, 2021

We focus on our special players and the outstanding Southerners who support our autistic community. We start with Debi and John Sweatt, parents of Rachel Sweatt, of Hot Springs, AR. Under the tutelage of her tennis-playing father, Rachel has risen though tournament play. This month she finished fifth in the 4.0 level of the USTA NTRP National Singles Championships. She also plays in special events and has been accepted as a rising star for the Special Olympics. College tennis players and coaches are also supporting autistic players. North Carolina State women’s tennis coach Simon Earnshaw talks about how the women’s and men’s tennis teams host with the Abilities Tennis Winter Chill. The event, now running for 12 years, won the USTA Southern 2020 Special Tennis Event of the Year. Another award winner is profiled: Southern Tennis Professional of the Year Lane Hinson, of Columbia, SC. Props also go out to our junior spotlight player, Goshen, KY’s Willow Renton.


Talking Baseball & Tennis with Chipper Jones - April 8, 2021

Sports experts agree that playing more than one sport improves an athlete’s performance. We’ve got two baseball standouts talking about their love of tennis. Not many Atlanta Braves players are better known than Hall of Famer Chipper Jones, who is now playing mixed doubles with his wife, Taylor Higgins Jones. He says his court time is keeping him in shape as he works on speeding up his serve. Also, chatting about two sports is Tres GonzalezGeorgia Tech’s left fielder. Gonzalez, son of Truist Atlanta Open Tournament Director Eddie Gonzalez, had the talent to play tennis on the college level. Pro tennis comes to Charleston and we interview Volvo Car Open Tournament Director Bob Moran. We highlight USTA Southern’s Mac MacDougal Official of the Year Karen Badger-Mabry, of Grayson, GA.

USTA Southern Award Winners - March 25, 2021

USTA Southern celebrates the winners of our 2020 awards. Louisiana’s Bossier City and Shreveport won four awards. Rhonda Rubben is the president of the Northwest Louisiana Community Tennis Association that won the CTA award and chats about its successful programs and the other award winners. Heading up the NJTL Chapter of the Year winner – the Rising Stars of Kentucky in Louisville – are Charles Crawford (also 2020 Diversity & Inclusion Champion) and Bruce Stone. Rising Stars focuses on education, a top goal for all successful NJTLs. Our health benefit of tennis explains how the sport works as a stress reliever. Another award winner is Amy Brandon, of Mooresville, NC, who received the Marilyn Sherman Spirit Award. Our highlighted junior is Peter Smith III, of Dorchester, SC.


Women's History Month: Three USTA Southern Presidents - March 11, 2021
Women’s History Month is celebrated by chatting with three ground-breaking women. Former USTA Southern Presidents & CEOs Bonnie Vandegrift & Paula Hale talk together about their paths to leading the USTA’s largest section and their roots working with USTA North Carolina. In another interview Lucy Garvin, who also served as USTA Chairman of the Board, goes into detail about heading American tennis on the national and international stages. We highlight 9-year-old Addy Shepard, Jonesboro, AR, who has had to face her older sister, Emma, in a junior tournament. 2020 USTA Southern No-Cut Starfish Award winner is Memphis, TN’s Tony Cherone is profiled.

Black History Month - Feb. 25, 2021
Our two interviews feature Black History Month. Dr. Harriet Kimbro-Hamilton is currently an Associate Professor at Tennessee State University. At Fisk University, she spent 13 years as Head Coach, Associate Athletic Director and Athletic Director. She has received three national awards from the Women’s Sports Foundation, the National Association of Girls and Women in Sport when given the Dr. Nell C. Jackson Award, and inducted into the Temple University League for Entrepreneurial Women Hall of Fame. She wrote Daddy's Scrapbook, Henry Kimbro of the Negro Baseball League, A Daughter's Perspective, about her father’s life as a Negro League baseball player and a successful African-American businessman. Alan Green is the most successful coach in the nearly 100-year history of Xavier University of Louisiana. He is a three-time Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Coach of the Year, winning the men's award in 2017 and 2016 and the women's award in 2013. Highlighted are Cole Camp of the University of Alabama who won the 2020 USTA Southern Wheelchair Excellence Award and junior Davis Taylor of Brookhaven, GA.


Australian Open Analysis by Martin Blackman - Feb. 11, 2021
USTA, Director, Player Development Martin Blackman
 gives us insight into the 2021 Australian Open field, focusing on American players. Blackman, who reached a career-high ATP ranking of No. 158, joined us last year to preview the US Open. One of the top USTA Southern volunteers - who served as Secretary and USTA Georgia President - is Marcy Hirshberg, of Johns Creek, GA. She was honored with the Racquet Sports Industry magazine’s 2020 Adaptive Tennis Champion of the Year. Hirshberg serves as Vice Chair of the USTA Adaptive Tennis Committee. We are highlighting junior McLean Murray, of Lookout Mountain, TN, and USTA Southern Director of Diversity, NJTL & Grants Cee Jai Jones, the welcoming voice that starts our podcast.


From the Top: USTA Southern President Randy Jackson - Jan. 28, 2021
We go to the top with an in-depth interview from recently elected USTA Southern President & CEO Randy Jackson, of Fort Smith, AR. Randy describes his goals for 2021, including focusing on growing tennis in public parks. He also talks about supporting the section’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee as we move into Black History Month. In our second segment, Alexandria Agee of Bigger Picture Sports serves the Black community in Atlanta with personalized activism messaging on tennis racquets. Highlighted are junior Ansley Carpenter, of Newnan, GA, and USTA Kentucky Senior Manager of USTA Adult Leagues Kathy Klein.


Martin Luker King Day Commemorated - Jan. 14, 2021
Coach Kenny Thorne, men’s tennis coach of Georgia Tech in Atlanta, talks about the influence of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the creation of the MLK Invitational Tournament. Thorne, the winningest tennis coach in Georgia Tech history and former No. 121 player in the world, also spoke about his players having Election Day off to vote and other socially conscious initiatives. Torrey Hawkins of the Atlanta Youth Tennis and Education Foundation and Atlanta Police Officer Clayton Sanders join the MLK Holiday edition of Talking Tennis Southern Style




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