Tennis at the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa is getting its version of an "extreme makeover."
The face-lift began this month with the hiring of Carl Gavine as tennis director. As the administrator of the program of the 60-plus year old resort, Gavine's goals include building up a struggling tennis program.
"I presented a business proposal to the spa's general manager, Zachary Frangos, and he accepted," Gavine said. "I'll be putting in a program of tennis for guests and members that I hope will be popular. I've hired Eric A. Westman, who has worked with me the last two years, to implement those programs. I'll also do lessons by appointment and direct USTA tournaments."
Gavine has been in the area since 1991 and tennis director at the Sheraton Sand Key Resort 15 years on Saturday. The Englishman plans to continue in that role, along with his added duties at the spa.
Among Gavine's successes in the tennis community are training at least 11 high school players to defend their school's No. 1 team spot, and training juniors like Amanda Becker, who achieved a full scholarship to the University of South Carolina, and Philip Barlow from England, who is now competing at the professional level.
Gavine plans to continue his successes at the spa, utilizing the talent of Westman.
"We're very happy Carl and Eric are here, and in just a week we're hearing positive feedback, which is refreshing," Frangos said. "In revitalizing the spa, we see tennis and fitness as the last piece of the puzzle."
Plans to install new nets and windscreens, maintain the courts and refurbish the clubhouse are among the most immediate. According to Frangos, they are in the final stages of a contractual agreement to create a Class A pro shop.
Westman, 24, is excited about the resort's willingness to put the effort into tennis.
"What we offer here at the spa will evolve from what members want," Westman said. "I'm looking forward to meeting the players and conducting clinics and lessons. Although I haven't taught tennis long, I've been a teacher of the academics and always practiced patience and positive feedback in my teaching. That's how I teach tennis."
To learn more about tennis at the Safety Harbor Spa, contact Gavine or Westman at 724-7729.
NET SHOTS: Unseeded Danielle Collins, 14, won six straight-set matches to claim the USTA National Open singles title in the girls 18-and-under division held in Tampa. In the final, Collins upset the No. 1 seed 6-2, 6-2.
Girls 14 second seed Julia Jones played past the competition in singles, clinching the national open title with a 6-4, 6-1 win over the No. 3 seed in the final. Jones then teamed with Caroline Dailey of Sarasota to win the doubles.
• Among the winners in this month's Winter Super Series staged at Harbour Island Athletic Club were singles players Emily Dvorak in the girls 16-and-under and Jasen Norris boys 10. Claiming wins in doubles were Robert Dvorak and Stephen Goldman boys 14, Adam Ambrozy and Gabriel Pilones 12 and Norris and Noah Makarome 10.
Singles finalists in the super series contest were No. 2 Ambrozy boys 12, No. 7 Dan Stefan 14 and No. 3 Paul Polarczyk 18.
• Nearly 160 players participated in this month's Mike Alstott Family Foundation Charity Tennis Tournament staged at the Treasure Island Tennis and Yacht Club.
Winners in the women's doubles competition included Allegra Campos and Sue Gutierrez in open, Diana Gabay and Tess Ross 4.5, Sue Hobbs and Ann Worthington 4.0 and Carol Blair and Jennifer Ramella 3.5. Jeff Chambers and Ed Jagger won the men's open, as did Tony Ruggiero and Tom Grayson 4.5, Dan Beck and Peter Viggiano 4.0 and Don Selenis and Mony Rodon 3.5.
In mixed doubles competition, Carol Cotney and Albert Alhadeff won 4.5, Kim Cherry and Todd Whittington 4.0 and Allison and John Gelestor 3.5.
• Among the singles winners in last weekend's West Coast Super Senior Grand Prix were No. 3 seed Tony Ruggiero in the men's 60-and-over and top seed Ralph Howe in the 65. Don Mathias reached the 70 final round before losing to the top seed.
In doubles, Oscar Steckman teamed with Fred Sarkis to win the 80 round robin, Peter Crewe and George McCabe won the 75 in straight sets and Ed Hamilton and John Rensch upset the No. 1 in the 65.
COMING UP: The Largo Mayor's Tennis Tournament is this weekend featuring men's, women's and mixed doubles. Call the Southwest Complex, 518-3125, or Linda Kettell, 403-8588.