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At 50, he's still reaching new heights with tennis

Kevin Manning, 50, director of tennis at Shipwatch Tennis Center in Largo, is in the top five nationally for players 50 and older.


Kevin Manning, 50, director of tennis at Shipwatch Tennis Center in Largo, is in the top five nationally for players 50 and older.

Kevin Manning is at home on a tennis court.

Manning, 50, has played the game since childhood, spending time briefly on the ATP tour, and has been a teaching pro in Florida the past 14 years.

After stints at East Lake Woodlands, McMullen Tennis Center and Seminole Lake Country Club, Manning landed at Shipwatch Tennis Center in Largo six years ago. He took over for Drew Wager as director of tennis in December and has been busy since.

Aside from lessons and arranging tournaments, Manning is still active on the senior professional circuit. He is in the top five nationally for players 50 and older. He recently won the Southern Seniors 50-over tournament in Jackson, Miss. And in September, he won the USPTA International Champions Tournament for teaching pros at Saddlebrook in Wesley Chapel.

"Foremost, I'm a teaching pro," Manning said. "But I still get out and play in the tournaments. It's a great education to bring back to the club and to keep up on current trends."

Manning has his sights set on the Fred Perry Cup, an international tournament for players 50 and older in October in Turkey. To make the team, Manning must be ranked in the top four. He is fifth but could get an invite should a player ahead of him not be able to attend or is injured. Manning said he should know sometime this month whether he makes the team.

"I'm right on the cusp," Manning said. "If somebody gets hurt or can't make it, then I'm ready to go.

"Tennis has gotten so competitive. My generation, it's amazing the high level of tennis. People are playing the game for a long time at a high level."

Manning said he is still healthy. He plans to teach for the next month but said he will play in the USTA Hardcourt National Championships in July in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Until then, he will focus on making Shipwatch members better players while keeping his game sharp.

"The foremost thing to me is to help people who come for lessons," he said. "Then, on the flip side, I still try to play better tennis myself. So if I'm giving a lesson, I'm trying to make someone better. If I'm in a tournament, I'm trying to play better."

More tennis

St. Petersburg's Nik Sukhasam won the men's 4.0 singles championship at the Hunter's Green NTRP Adult Classic in Tampa with a 6-3, 6-1 win over top seed Enrique Vela.

• The St. Petersburg Tennis Center will host the Local Junior Open on Saturday through June 9. The tournament is open to USTA members ages 10-18. The registration deadline is Wednesday, and the cost is $38.13 per player.


The Bayou Club in Largo held a state amateur qualifying tournament Wednesday. Brian Edwards of Tampa won the tournament with 67 and advanced to the state amateur tournament June 19-22 at the Jupiter Hills Club in Tequesta.

A total of 12 golfers from the Bayou Club tournament advanced to the state tournament. Pinellas County golfers included Alec Konstantin of Tarpon Springs (69), Zachary Zehnder of Indian Rocks Beach (72), Steve Burkett of Pinellas Park (73), Tyler Wilkins of Clearwater (73), Carson Crooms of St. Petersburg (74) and Stanley Kinnett of Clearwater (74).

• The fifth annual West Coast Women's Golf Association vs. the Brassies Challenge was held May 19 at Sugar Mill Woods in Homosassa. The West Coast WGA won the event for the fifth year with a score of 236-214. The challenge is a team match play event: six holes, scramble; six holes, alternate shot; six holes, best ball. Teams consist of two women per team, and 25 teams compete for one point per hole.


Team Roto Rooter, a 45-and-older team made up of some area players, recently won the 45-over division of the Masters Basketball National Championships in Coral Springs. The team qualified to represent the United States in the Federation of International Masters Basketball Association tournament in 2009 in Prague, Czech Republic.

Local residents on Team Roto Rooter include Roy Sachse (Clearwater), John Johnson (Palm Harbor), Jim Sweeney (Clearwater) and David Bastian (Tampa). Former USF player Jim Grandholm is on the team.

• The 10-and-under Beachside Bosshogs finished second at the Fire Shootout during Memorial Day weekend in Lakeland. Chi Scholl and Blake Dyson made the all-tournament team. Nate Mcguigan won the Mr. Hustle award. The team, made up of fourth-graders and based in Madeira Beach, plays in the state tournament June 13-15 in Melbourne.


Largo's Steven Petrilyak has advanced to the sectional competition of the Aquafina Pitch, Hit and Run competition. The sectionals will be at Tropicana Field at a time to be determined.

Petrilyak won the local competition in the 13-14 age group at Highland Rec Center then won the sectional competition at Englebert Complex in Dunedin. Petrilyak is one of eight sectional qualifiers who will compete in the MLB team championship.

Winners of the team championship advance to Yankee Stadium to compete in the national championship during All-Star weekend.


St. Petersburg Aquatics Summer Swim League program is $123 per swimmer. Another amount was listed in Wednesday's Times.

Rodney Page can be reached

at or (727)


At 50, he's still reaching new heights with tennis 05/30/08 [Last modified: Friday, May 30, 2008 4:30am]
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