TENNIS PROVED A PLATFORM FOR PROMOTING EQUALITY FOR BILLIE JEAN KING

Billie Jean King made a sentimental journey to Hilton Head Island recently for recognition from PTR, the Professional Tennis Registry.

The international organization of tennis coaches and pros founded by Hilton Head's Dennis Van der Meer honored her with induction into its Hall of Fame at its banquet Feb. 17 at the Sonesta Resort.

Dan SantorumAt a recent speaking engagement in Canada, Dan Santorum passed along a bit of advice that might come as a surprise given his lengthy list of accolades.

“Never apply for an award,” Santorum told the crowd, “because you’ll never be disappointed, and if you do get an award it will be a pleasant surprise.”

“Three all,” booms the man’s voice, still as loud and clear as it was years ago when he presided over the biggest tennis matches of the day.

Norm Chryst is not chairing this contest, however; he is serving in the match tiebreaker.

Wearing his hat backwards, a black polo and Rogers Cup shorts, Chryst tosses the ball, rocks back and leaps forward to strike a flat first serve.

Pat Van Der Meer grateful her husband Dennis is still alive following a massive stroke three years ago

The name Van Der Meer in the tennis world is as familiar as Billie Jean King’s. But the life story of Dennis and Pat Van Der Meer is much more than one of global recognition and respect; it’s really a love story on many levels.

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Tennis brought them together for the first time in 1980 on Hilton Head Island, and they have been together ever since. They have been husband and wife, best friends, business partners, world travelers, coaches, authors and innovators.

tennis03Van Der Meer Tennis has been instructing new players since 1979, raising their level of play in significant amounts. For juniors, a multitude of clinics, camps and lessons are provided; Van Der Meer will even host the South Carolina State Junior Championships in November. There are opportunities for adults as well, for they have access to similar clinics and programs.

Ranked among the top 50 tennis resorts in the entire United States by Tennis Magazine, Van Der Meer Shipyard possesses 20 courts, seven hard courts and 13 Har-Tru (green clay) cours. Despite the quality of this center, it has not hosted a professional competition since the Tennis Grand Prix in 1983. Yet, due to a cancelation, Van Deer Meer Shipyard has been granted an opportunity to host such an event once more.

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Ivan Lendl, world-famous tennis pro and eight-time Grand Slam winner, is now giving back with his International Junior Tennis Academy through a program “offering a select number of scholarships to exceptional juniors with passion, a strong work ethic and the attitude to make them successful in competition and in life,” according to the IJTA.

Lendl recently invited semi-finalists for the scholarships to an open house at Port Royal Racquet Club for a personal evaluation.

Above, IJTA staff including Director of Instruction David Lewis (far left with clipboard), Lendl (center) and Junior Sports Corporation CEO Peter Orrell (right) , evaluate a student’s overhead shot. The prospective students each undertook evaluations of their physical condition, tennis ability and even their mental approach to the game.

Learn more about the academy at www.lendltennis.com.

beesBy Dennis Malick

Hilton Head Island pros last summer shared with us what they do to stay hydrated, especially during warmer months. (We never have hot months.)

tennisProfessional Tennis Registry (PTR) $25,000 Championships were held in conjunction with the PTR International Tennis Symposium, Feb. 14-20 at PTR Headquarters on Hilton Head Island. 

New regs aimed at reducing ratings appeals.

Team captains, hold your collective breaths. It’s year-end ratings time, and this year they mean business on a new level. “Benchmark” players who are bumped up a rating won’t be allowed to appeal for one year - a “benchmark” being anyone on a team advancing to 2008 State Championships. Also new: the ‘08 year-end ratings will reflect, among other things, fall ’08 Super Senior results.

The new regs apply across the board - Adult and Senior in the spring, Mixed Doubles and Combo in summer and Super Seniors in the fall. The likelihood is a radically reduced number of rating appeals throughout the state and nation. (Medical appeals will not be affected.)