Greater Pensacola Tennis Association (GPTA) in Pensacola, Fl.
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Pace Area Tennis Association

Greater Pensacola Tennis Association (GPTA)

Greater Pensacola Tennis Association (GPTA) Pensacola, FLThe GPTA is made up of tennis players and fans who desire to contribute to a progressive and enjoyable tennis atmosphere in our area. In addition to our tournaments and parties, the GPTA makes significant contributions of both money and people in support of charitable events, University of West Florida Tennis, Junior Tennis, and Professional and amateur events.

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NTRP Ratings

For more info, contact Terry Thrash or 850~281~6193

History of the GPTA

The Greater Pensacola Tennis Association evolved from the Pensacola Tennis Club which began operation in 1960. At that time, only city residents were eligible to join, and matches were played on the beautiful red clay courts at Bayview. The GPTA formed officially in 1963, and membership was made available to everyone. Roger Scott Tennis Center was built in 1964, and the GPTA began using it as "home".

During the 1970's, professional tennis was alive and well in Northwest Florida. The GPTA brought the First Annual International Men's Tennis Tournament to Pensacola. From 1974 through 1977, the GPTA sponsored the Avon Futures Women's Professional Circuit. In '77, the winner was the controversial Rene Richards. Proceeds from this event provided the funding for the GPTA Futures Trust Fund. In 1978, the GPTA.and the Pensacola Sports Association brought the Almaden Grand 35's to the indoor courts at the University of West Florida. Alex Olmedo and ITF Hall-of-Fa!Tler Fred Stolle were among the competitors, and the overall winner was Cliff Drysdale. In the late 70's, the GPTA reinstituted the Gordon Smith Trophy matches. This historic competition between Mobile and Pensacola dates back to 1930. A long hiatus ensued from 1941 and through the WWll era until 1978.

The Claypit Juniors Tournament was established in 1974. It was unsanctioned and cost $2 to enter which inCluded lunch, courtesy of local merchants. Today, it is a USTA sanctioned Super Series event, and is one of the outstanding junior tournaments in Florida. In 1997, the GPTA renamed the Claypit after its founder, Richard P. Sloan.

When the Roger Scott Tennis Center clubhouse burned in 1979, the GPTA contributed a stringing machine, roll driers and a trophy case to the rehab.

In 1982, the GPTA began its support of the fledgling UWF tennis program and today is a current member of the Foundation's President's Club. The two organizations have grown and thrived together and maintain a strong partnership in tennis.

The men's "Over 50 but Under the Hill" league began in 1988 under the leadership of two GPTA members, Bill Kellenberger and Jim Smith. This highly successful doubles program utilizes a "draft" system in forming teams which keeps play competitive and action-packed no matter what the skill level of the player is. Monday evenings in the spring and fall have fondly become known as "Under the Hill" nights at nearly every club in town. Kellenberger and Smith wrote the charter to require membership in the GPTA.

In the late '80's, with the growth of the tennis clubs, the GPTA began to hold tournaments, parties, and mixers at nearly every club in town, thus helping link clubs and community.

During the '80's the GPTA expanded its sponsorship of junior tennis in cooperation with the City of Pensacola including help with funding the formation of the Pensacola JuniorTennis Association in 1989.

In 1991, the GPTA took over responsibility for coordinating the USTA's USA League programs. Thanks to a group of dedicated GPTA volunteers, the program has grown from 60 adult players to over 400 Mixed, Senior, and Super Senior players. The relationship with the USTA strengthened over the years, and today the GPTA plans, administers, and hosts several USTA league post-season events. Pensacola is the only Florida city to host the USTA Mixed Doubles Intersectional tournament which features teams from the Southern, Caribbean and the Florida Sections. Beginning in 1995 and every odd year since, this event held in the fall at Roger Scott and UWF, has provided a boost to not only the tennis community, but the entire economy of the City of Pensacola.

In 1999, Pensacola provided a first for the USTA. Local Women's 4.0 and Men's 4.0 adult teams both won the USTA League National Championships. This was an amazing accomplishment considering the season begins with over 6,000 4.0 teams nationwide.

The game of tennis, our neighborhoods, and our City have changed since the GPTA's inception and wil continue to change. The GPTA will also grow and change, but will maintain its commitment to be a 100% volunteer driven, membership supported, non-profit Florida corporation. As the oldest community tennis association in Florida, the mission of the Greater Pensacola Tennis Association remains:

to promote and develop the growth
of tennis in Northwest Florida.

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