Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hometown Hernando

Tennis camp gets players closer to competition

John and Louise Downey spent the summer shrinking the tennis court. That way, they can teach the younger kids, the ones that can't quite see over the net yet.

"These camps were used to reinforce the Quick Start method of teaching," Louise said. "The younger kids shouldn't be playing on a regular size court with a regular size racket and regular size net. The equipment is better for the little-sized bodies."

The Downeys run Ace Performance Tennis and also are the sanctioned tennis pros at Brooksville Golf and Country Club, where the camps were run. Pretty much any youth tennis in Hernando County is run by the Downeys, even pairing with i9 Sports to offer more tennis.

The Downeys, with camps for kids ages 5-15, lower the nets for the younger ones. The kids get foam, pressureless balls that don't bounce as high. John, however, takes on the older campers and readies them for tryouts for their middle or high school teams.

"It actually lets them play (tennis)," Louise said. "By the end of camp, they will play competitive tennis, they'll play like a better player and do everything from an overhand serve and rally."

The Downeys take the beginners and intermediate players and help them refine their skills to be more consistent. It's a way to sharpen their skills as the season gets closer.

"January (tryouts) can come fast at schools," Louise said.

September will be here even quicker, and that's when the Downeys will host the USTA Junior Team tennis programs starting Sept. 1 at Nature Coast from 6 to 8 p.m. There, kids play in tournaments and other local event.

"We want to improve all levels to they can play a better game," Louise said. "More than likely they're going to play somewhere else, too. We want them just to play well wherever that is."

For more information on local tennis, contact the Downeys at (352) 666-0658.

What's going on in your neighborhood?

Let us know and we may come document it. Tell us about a game, a practice, an outing, a tournament — just about anything! There's a lot going on in the community and we want to know about it. Contact community sports editor Mike Camunas and tell him what's happening. Call (352) 544-1771 or e-mail We live in this community, so let's talk to each other.

Tennis camp gets players closer to competition 08/12/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 12, 2009 9:54am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Remember him? Numbers prove Ben Zobrist is one of greatest Rays of all time

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The first foray back to the Trop by the best manager the Rays have had obscured the second return visit by arguably the second-best player in franchise history.


    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) takes the field to start the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.
  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Cubs game

    The Heater

    One success story of this lost season is the emergence of LHP Blake Snell as the frontline starter the Rays projected. After a rough start and two demotions, he has been rolling, Wednesday's solid seven innings making him 4-0, 2.57 in his past eight starts.

  3. Rays at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. Thursday, Camden Yards, Baltimore

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Orioles

    7:05, Camden Yards, Baltimore

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM; 680-AM (Spanish)

    Probable pitchers

    This is a 2017 photo of Matt Andriese of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team. This image reflects the 2017 active roster as of Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 when this image was taken. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  4. Bucs journal: Bucs still high on Vikings RB Dalvin Cook


    TAMPA — Coach Dirk Koetter spent a lot of time before this year's draft evaluating RB Dalvin Cook. At one time, the Florida State star and former teammate of QB Jameis Winston was considered the player the Bucs most likely would draft 19th overall.

    Vikings rookie running back Dalvin Cook (33), a standout at Florida State, is third in the league in rushing after two games and fourth in average yards per game.
  5. Mikhail Sergachev begins real Lightning audition vs. Carolina Hurricanes

    Lightning Strikes

    RALEIGH, N.C. — The spotlight will remain on Mikhail Sergachev throughout the Lightning preseason.

    Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev (98) on the ice during hockey training camp in preparation for the 2017-2018 season in Brandon Friday morning (09/15/17). DIRK SHADD   |   Times