Junior tennis players from all over the world flock to Florida for its courts, competition and professional teaching.
In the bay area alone, there are three of the most prestigious academies in the world: Nick Bollittieri's in Bradenton, Harry Hopman at Saddlebrook Resort and Palmer in Tampa.
With competition from those three, why would anyone want to take a chance and open his own academy?
Well, Marcel Vos did and his Vos International is one of the hottest camps in the bay area.
Vos, 29, is a native of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, but came over to the United States to attend Texas A&M. After graduating from A&M, he played professionally in some satellite tournaments for eight months.
Vos then served his mandatory time in the Holland military before coming back to the States to work under bay area pro Butch Heffernan.
He taught under Heffernan for seven months, then decided to take another shot at the pro tour, this time as the coach of then No. 13-ranked Helen Kelesi of Canada. Vos traveled with Kelesi for a year, but always returned to Tampa on his breaks.
That is when he decided to open his own club.
Vos International has been in existence only six months, but already is tutoring some of the best juniors on the circuit.
"I started with four courts," Vos said. "The plan was to take as many courts as possible and start with the top national juniors and running it from there."
Vos achieved both goals. He took over Judy Alvarez's club on Hubert Avenue off Waters, and his students now include Stephanie Nickitas, who is fresh off winning the Italian Open junior doubles title with Christina Moros of Sarasota; Laura Berendt, ranked No. 2 in FTA 18s, and Holly Parkinson, ranked No. 1 in New Jersey 14s.
Even with the nationally ranked players, Vos International maintains a low profile.
"This is not a country club," said Derek Damico, manager of Vos International. "This is stripped down and strictly for working on your tennis game. It is a good atmosphere in that it is not too formal, but the tennis training is definitely intense."
Damico and Vos also are trying to incorporate beginner, intermediate and adult programs into their repertoire.
"Our goal is to develop some of the area talent," Damico said. "We get kids from all over the country, but we'd like to get the Tampa area talent involved. We know that we put on a good product and know that we can get the job done."
For the beginner, coaches will stress eye-hand coordination, racquet preparation, speed, conditioning and the mental side of the game.
For more information, call 889-7000.
USF tournament: Summer tournaments for juniors are beginning to take shape. The first was played June 5-6 at the University of South Florida. Winners were:
Boys 18s _ Eric Turnquist def. Brett Hall 7-5, 6-4; boys 16s _ Craig Ardnt def. Kunio Koga 6-3, 7-6; boys 14s _ Evan Pinther def. George Tsai 6-0, 6-0; boys 12s _ Alex Goldstein def. Eric Nunez 6-1, 6-1; girls 18s _ Sarah Lodewick def. Rurika Maruse 6-0, 7-5; girls 16s _ Rita Baile def. Paige Reisha 6-1, 1-6, 6-3; girls 14s _ Rebecca Harvey def. Kim Lorenz 6-0, 6-1; girls 12s _ Leslie Harvey def. Sarus Araso 6-4, 6-2.
Unranked junior tournament: The Tampa Tennis Association held its 1993 Unranked Junior Grand Prix Masters Championship at Northdale June 5-6. Winners were:
Boys 16s _ Chris Gill def. Jeffrey Morgan 6-0, 6-0; boys 14s _ Katon Patel def. Pate Young 6-2, 6-1; boys 12s _ Andy Tsai def. Stuart Weissman 6-0, 6-2; boys 10s _ Sebring Sierra def. Ricky Corbett 6-0, 6-2; girls 14s _ Courtney Yancick def. Brooke Richardson 7-6, 6-1; girls 12s _ Danielle Elliott def. Christina Drenberg 6-1, 6-1; girls 10s _ Yaitza Dominguez def. Christina Lucin 8-3.
Doubles Grand Prix: The Tampa Bay Doubles Grand Prix held its second of eight tournaments at Hidden Palms June 5-6. Winners were:
Men's open _ Jordan Arnada-Mark Paine def. Paul Austin-David McKeithan by default; men's A _ Richard Parrish-Randy Holloway def. Gene Pike-Frank Hornbrook 2-6, 7-5, 6-4; men's B _ Bob Remington-Bill Remington def. Larry Richards-Sully Economou 6-4, 6-2; men's C _ Tom Warner-Bill Remington def. Randy Morningstar-Colin Hines 6-4, 6-3; women's B _ Pam Costa-Brenda Roberts def. Peggy Griffith-Carol Hatfield 6-1, 6-4; women's C _ Lorraine Hinkle-Sandy McVicker def. Safiye Salah-Stephanie Zeller 6-4, 6-2; Mixed A _ Gary Frey-Wendy Osbourne def. Ivan Hernandez-Angela Ellis 5-7, 6-3, 6-4; mixed B _ James Blocke-Brenda Roberts def. Cindy Bessette-Mark Bessette 6-3, 6-1; mixed C _ Birgit Becker-Bill Barker def. Linda Munn-Curtis Munn 6-1, 4-6, 6-1.