Congratulations to Brandon Kiker for receiving the Tennis Professional of the Year Award for 2023!🏆🎾Learn more about Brandon below!👇 Kiker's experience began in high school and continued briefly into college. After that, he went 18 years without picking up a racket. In his early 30s, he found his way back to tennis and played on several USTA tennis teams in the Central Arkansas area. He met his wife, Melanie, while watching friends play at a state tourney at Burns Park, so to say that tennis hasn’t shaped a large part of his life, would be an understatement. He began teaching in Saline County part-time to help introduce both adults and juniors to the game. His work with Bryant and Benton Parks and Rec began to assist them with their junior programs. When he increased to teaching about 20 hrs a week he had the realization that this could become more than just a side job. he took his first full-time teaching job at Chenal Country Club and after three years, he wanted to get back to his roots and grow tennis in Saline County. Kiker has been running programs with the cities of Benton and Bryant for three years now. In that time, he started working with Special Olympics Arkansas to create programs and events for their amazing athletes. They are in their 5th year with Special Olympics and have gone from an exhibition sport to sending their first athletes to the USA games and winning 5 gold medals.
23 days ago, Amy Walker
brandon kiker
ATTN High School Tennis Coaches! It's time to ACE your coaching game with on-court activities at the annual High School Coaches Workshop. The clinic is scheduled for Tuesday, April 16. For more information and to register, click on the link below! https://form.jotform.com/240294621555961
23 days ago, Jared Compton
high school clinic flyer
Congratulations to Katherine Friend for receiving the Barbara Brewer Community Service Award for 2023!🏆🎾Learn more about Katherine below!👇 A Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), Kathy has five decades of fundraising and development administration experience in private higher education and the non-profit healthcare sector. Since retiring in June 2021, she has been doing independent non-profit consulting, grant writing, foundation administration, and strategic planning with a variety of clients. Her professional strategic planning and fundraising work with Arkansas tennis organizations includes: AR USTA Southern Region All In Tennis WATA In addition to being an avid tennis player, she also enjoys playing golf, reading, and any time on a beach.
23 days ago, Amy Walker
katherine friend
Junior Circuit tournament happening in Mountain Home this weekend! Registrations close tomorrow at 4:59 PM. https://playtennis.usta.com/competitions/twinlakestennisclub/Tournaments/overview/09F3436D-0463-46B1-A537-6C7BA9C8AA8B
23 days ago, Jared Compton
upcoming tournament
Congratulations to Farrell Graves for receiving the Henry Doyle Outstanding Senior Award for 2023!🏆🎾Learn more about Farrell below!👇 Farrell’s tennis teaching career spans 50 years and at least three generations of players in the Fort Smith area. He started playing at 27 and was ranked No. 1 in doubles in 35-plus and 45-plus divisions. He began teaching tennis at Creekmore Park in the early 1970s and was a co-owner for many years of the Fort Smith Athletic Club. He was instrumental in bringing low-cost tennis classes to Fort Smith public parks and providing tennis instruction to a local college. He has provided opportunities for free instruction to juniors at all levels, and to beginning adults and families – with the goal of encouraging lifelong participation in our sport. He has worked closely with the Arkansas Tennis Association, serving on the state board and working as one of the first verifiers of players’ ratings. In 2003 he was inducted to the Arkansas Tennis Hall of Fame. At 90, Farrell is actively teaching tennis and encourages everyone of all ages to play the game.
24 days ago, Amy Walker
farrell graves
Congratulations to the Aceing For Autism Tournament for receiving the Adult Tournament of the Year Award for 2023!🏆🎾Learn more about them below!👇 ACEing for Autism came to light in 2022 when Megan Ragsdale, a 4.0 player in Jonesboro, had the idea to run a tournament raising money to benefit local families and children who are touched by Autism like her own, and bring another tennis tournament to the Northeast Arkansas Community Tennis Association. Megan proposed the idea to Pat Malone & Morgan Daniel, they took the idea and hit the ground running. In 2023, ACEing for Autism had 106 participating athletes from all over Arkansas, raising over $13,000 benefiting Ag for Autism and the Love All Serve All NJTL. Megan & Morgan hope to continue this tournament every year on the last weekend of April, raising money to help many more families and student athletes.
24 days ago, Amy Walker
aceing for autism
Congratulations to theFort Kids Tournament for receiving the Junior Tournament of the Year Award for 2023!🏆🎾Learn more about them below!👇 An emphasis on good sportsmanship was the theme of this tournament, as the largest trophies were awarded for good sportsmanship. The amenities included a quality baseball style t-shirt with a goody bag, player lunch on Saturday and Sunday, and snacks and drinks throughout the weekend. In addition, there was a players’ tent with ping-pong, a charging station and chairs to give the players a hangout between matches.
25 days ago, Amy Walker
fort kids
Congratulations to the Lance Shepard Family for receiving the Family of the Year Award for 2023!🏆🎾Learn more about them below!👇 The journey into tennis for The Shepard family began in 2016. Emma was 7 years old, the oldest of Lance and Ashley’s 3 kids. Addy 5, and Cole was almost 3 at the time. A friend had invited Emma to a local high school tennis camp. Emma had a great time, and after the weeklong camp asked if she could continue to play tennis. To Lance and Ashley tennis was a foreign language! What are these random #’s of 15, 30, & 40? And what’s love got to do with it?! So, at this point, the search was on for somewhere for Emma to play. At dinner one evening a family friend overheard Ashley talking about Emma’s interest in tennis. She told her that her daughter played tennis at Three Oaks Tennis Club and Alex Rivas was her daughter’s coach. Soon after, Ashley called Alex and that’s where the journey began. Soon all 3 Shepard kids were playing tennis. Fast forward 7 years and they have traveled a multitude of states and have also had the opportunity to train abroad at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca Spain. Their experience there was nothing short of amazing! The only event for The Shepard Family that could top that is The Southern Section’s “Ozaki Cup!” An annual event where each Southern state sends 3 boys and 3 girls, 12 to 18’s, to play as a team for their state. For them, it’s the best event of the year! = Besides all the kids accolades, Ashley and Lance play on USTA league teams. Ashley also volunteers on the USTA Arkansas jr comp committee and is the parent organizer for the Arkansas Ozaki Cup team. The family feels that the joy the tennis world has brought to their lives has been a true blessing. The relationships and friendships made along the way is the icing on the cake, and that’s what life is all about!
25 days ago, Amy Walker
lance shepard
Congratulations to Devin Praphan for receiving the Rising Star Award for 2023!🏆🎾Learn more about Devin below!👇 Devin just turned 9 years old. He enjoys playing tennis, soccer, basketball, playing video games, and being around friends and family! Devin started playing tennis when he was 6. His brother and dad taught him how to play and he improved quickly. Tennis has become his passion. He loves being on the competitive side of tennis! Devin began the year playing 10 & under orange ball in tournaments and progressed to yellow ball by the end of the year. He was the champion in 4 junior circuit tournaments. Devin plans to continue playing and hopes to have a wonderful future tennis career. Devin's parent's names are Don and April Praphan.
26 days ago, Amy Walker
devin praphan
Congratulations to Luci Minnick for receiving the Dr. Ted Bailey Sportsmanship Award for 2023!🏆🎾Learn more about Luci below!👇 Luci first played tennis at the age of seven, beginning by taking lessons from Fort Smith pro, Braden Eads, and participating in orange ball junior clinics with Braden and fellow pro, Greg Gilliam. Luci’s dedication to sportsmanship is nothing short of exemplary. On the tennis court, she consistently exhibits grace, integrity and respect for her opponents, regardless of the match’s outcome. Over the last seven years, Luci has been involved with community tennis through tennis clinics and camps, leagues, junior team tennis and tournaments. She just completed her freshman season as part of the Fort Smith Southside High School tennis team. In addition to tennis, Luci is a 4.0 student, a participant in the Fort Smith Regional Chamber’s Junior Leadership and Career Academy and a member of both Student Council and Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America.
26 days ago, Amy Walker
Luci Minnick
Congratulations to Ethan Richardson for receiving the Herschel Friday Outstanding Junior Award for 2023!🏆🎾Learn more about Ethan below!👇 Ethan is currently a Senior at the Academies of Jonesboro High School. After being stuck on the sidelines watching his older siblings enjoy the game of tennis for a couple of years, he began playing tennis at the age of four. His first coach told him that “the secret of the pros” was that they don’t miss. Ethan took that lesson to heart and has made consistency one of the main weapons of his game. In addition to tennis, Ethan enjoys golfing, fishing, and almost anything that is outside and involves a ball. Ethan’s siblings are Ellie, a Junior at the University of Arkansas and Eric, a Senior at Dartmouth. His parents are Kris and Melissa Richardson. Ethan plans to continue his tennis career at Coastal Carolina University.
27 days ago, Amy Walker
Ethan Richardson
Congratulations to Stella de Vera for receiving the Herschel Friday Outstanding Junior Award for 2023!🏆🎾Learn more about Stella below!👇 Stella is a fourth generation tennis player on her dad's side. Her dad and two aunts all played D1 College Tennis and her grandmother has played in National Senior tournaments. Stella started playing tennis when she was 4 years old and started playing local tournaments at the age of eight. Stella says that playing tennis and travelling to tournaments across the country has helped her grow by allowing her to experience situations where she had to use leadership skills and stand her ground. This helped her gain confidence in her abilities in all situations. She has been able to exhibit leadership abilities by being an involved team captain that helped coach and run drills. Being recognized for this award is as meaningful to her as winning the Triple Crown (Conference, and Overalls) as well as representing Arkansas at the Southern Ozaki Cup. Stella’s parents are Clayton and Meredith de Vera.
27 days ago, Amy Walker
stella de vera
Congratulations to Silas Pillar for receiving the Jay Freeman Most Improved Award for 2023!🏆🎾Learn more about Silas below!👇 Silas is a fantastic kid with a big heart, great sense of humor, and absolutely loves the game of tennis. In the beginning of spring 2023 he created his own tennis goals and worked with his coaches and father to create a plan to actively work towards them. He spent many hours hitting in junior development programs each week and also put the time and effort training in the gym and match play. He went from playing & winning local tournaments to traveling to several states and qualifying for level 4 & 5s regularly. His combined ranking in boys 14 jumped from 41st in the state and 753 in the south to now a year ending 12th in Arkansas and 214 in the South. Silas’s coaches have remarked on his strong work ethic this year and can’t wait to see what he does next. Silas’s parents are Brian and Alexandria Pillar.
28 days ago, Amy Walker
silas pillar
Congratulations to Caroline Jones for receiving the Jay Freeman Most Improved Award for 2023!🏆🎾Learn more about Caroline below!👇 In one year, Caroline has gone from being ranked 17 in Arkansas, to being the number one ranked 16 year old in Arkansas. She also went from being ranked 350 in Southern to number 39. She has won 5 Level 5 tournaments in the last year and represented Arkansas as the number one player for Girls 16’s on the Ozaki Cup team. She was a finalist in the state 6A and Overall High School singles tournament. Caroline spent 3 weeks in Europe last summer learning how to play on red clay. She also enjoys volunteering at the LR Open and any kind of Trivia games. She is the daughter of Will and Paula Jones.
28 days ago, Amy Walker
Caroline Jones
Spring Junior Team Tennis is right around the corner! Parents, if you have a player looking for fun, competitive match play, then this is the perfect opportunity for them. Contact a local league coordinator today to get in the action! https://www.arktennis.com/page/coordinators
29 days ago, Jared Compton
spring jtt
JUNIORS! Our first of many tournaments of the year! Check them out! Level 7: Hot Springs Country Club Smash Showdown Registrations close Jan. 23 at 4:59 PM https://playtennis.usta.com/competitions/hot-springs-country-club/Tournaments/overview/6ADFD783-3BDE-498F-8E9D-55984FD7AD13 Matrix Junior Circuit - 10U Orange/12U Green/12U Yellow Registrations close Jan. 24 at 4:59 PM https://playtennis.usta.com/competitions/matrixracquetclub/Tournaments/overview/C73A47C2-75B5-4A2D-BC25-E8437D17D73F #LETSTENNIS
about 1 month ago, Jared Compton
upcoming tournaments
Captains! It's not too late to start your Spring League team! Team registration for 18s and 40s closes TOMORROW! So grab your racquet, gather your team, and get ready for a springtime filled with love for the game!
about 1 month ago, Jared Compton
spring league team reg
THIS MONDAY!! ATTN 18s and 40s Captains! Get your team registered for Spring League! You won't want to miss a season of thrilling matches, friendly competition, and a whole lot of fun on the court!
about 1 month ago, Jared Compton
team reg closes monday
🗣 Shoutout to our male Adult League Captain of the month for January, Lee Mesaris (Little Rock)! Team captains are a key component of our adult league program. They devote their free time to organize and manage teams. Our leagues would not be as successful if it were not for people like Lee. We appreciate him and all of our league captains! 🙌
about 1 month ago, Jared Compton
lee mesaris
🗣 Shoutout to our female Adult League Captain of the month for January, Wendy Zapp (Northwest Arkansas)! Team captains are a key component of our adult league program. They devote their free time to organize and manage teams. Our leagues would not be as successful if it were not for people like Wendy. We appreciate her and all of our league captains! 🙌
about 1 month ago, Jared Compton
wendy zapp