On January 30 at 4 p.m. David Siddons will begin his title defense in the 15th annual Professional Tennis Exhibition Series.
Siddons, the director of tennis at the Plantation Golf and Country Club in Venice, took first place in 2012, his first year competing at the Boca Grande Club. Under the format where four area teaching pros play three set of doubles, rotating partners after each set, Siddons’ experience as a Southern Conference standout at Appalachian State University served him well. Siddons had directed several clubs in North Carolina and coached at his alma mater before settling in at the Plantation a few years ago.
Sure to delight the tennis patrons at the Boca Grande Club is the return of H Wetzel, the director of tennis at the Boca Bay Pass Club. Wetzel won the series in 2003, competed in the finals in nearly every year since, but was on hiatus last year.
Bob Fletcher, Wetzel’s sports psychologist, promoter and confidante (not to mention, a Pass Club member), said, “H will be ready. We’ve been working hard and I think he’s there.”
Wetzel brings his energetic style back to the Boca Grande Club on February 6, the second quarterfinal match of the Series.
Joining Wetzel in week two is Jamie Thormann, the new assistant at the Gasparilla Inn and Club. Around the time Wetzel was establishing himself as a perennial contender for Series’ championships, Thormann came to Boca Grande as a 14-year-old. His family knew island residents Kim and Frank Newlin (of Newlin’s Mainely Gourmet) from Northeast Harbor, Maine.
Thormann loves his time working on the island.
“I’m playing a lot more tennis than I would in Maine, I love the weather and Jinx (Howe-Horan, the Inn ’s tennis director) and Mark (Horan, head pro) are great people,” Thormann said. Thormann is a 2012 graduate of Colby-Sawyer College in New London, N.H. He played number one as a senior.
On his first Pro Series, Thormann said, “I’ve heard all the pros are great guys, I’m looking forward to playing.”
Before the tennis begins, there is the Tennis Ball and Silent Auction to benefit the Suncoast Humane Society at the Boca Grande Club on January 23. A couple of golf packages, some photography and artwork, and a host of other great Silent Auction items — about 20 in all — are offered. A “primo vino” wine raffle is a new event at this year’s Tennis Ball and sure to be a hit. Drinks, music, dancing, Asian, French and Italian food are part of the $100 cost of admission.
The Suncoast Humane Society will receive $60 from each ticket sale.
Many of the competing pros will be guests of the Boca Grande Club for the Tennis Ball, which kicks off at 6 p.m.
Thormann said he is looking forward to the party.
“Free food, I’m coming!” he said.View More images >>
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