May 4, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After spending all week practicing and gearing up for the NCAAs, the Florida State men’s tennis team enjoyed their Friday night by assisting with the USTA 10 and Under end of the year party.
“We love to help kids,” said freshman João Gauer. “I think about when I was a small kid and about how bad I wanted the attention of the older players. That’s why I feel happy about being able to do this tonight.”
The entire Seminole squad helped coach and keep score of the different age groups and ended the night by playing a tiebreaker for the kids and parents in attendance. About 60 kids showed up and played tennis with the team and coaches at the Indoor Tennis Facility.
“This is a celebration, a play and party day, for our league,” said USTA Local Lead Coordinator Sandy Layne. “This is league tennis, it’s part of our junior team tennis where the goal is to have the kids playing matches. We wanted to have one big party and have the kids play each other. We filled up these six courts pretty effectively.”
Tonight was a great time for the younger kids to meet the college players. Not only did the younger kids have fun but the Florida State athletes had fun as well.
“It means a lot to us,” said freshman Dominic Cotrone. “The community gives so much support to us at our matches and we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them. I think it’s awesome for the kids to see that we’re no different from them and they can easily get to where we are in their careers.”
“I think it’s always important to do these kinds of events,” said head coach Dwayne Hultquist. “It’s important for the guys to see how fortunate they are to play tennis and to enjoy their sport and bring joy and happiness to these kids who are just getting started playing tennis.”
After the kids were done playing matches and learning at different skill spots, the night ended with an intense tiebreaker match between freshmen Cristian Gonzalez Mendez (Santiago de Compostela, Spain) and João Gauer (Parana, Brazil). The kids picked countries and cheered them on from the sidelines.
“One of the things we like about playing college tennis is that you can have fun and cheer,” continued Hultquist. “We let João and Cristian play one tiebreaker. It was great to see the kids and parents cheer them on. It just creates an atmosphere where the kids had a good time.”
Although Gonzalez Mendez won the tiebreaker 12-10, everyone there knew the real winners of the night.