OrlandoTennisNews.com reaches over 40,000 people monthly through our site, social media, and e-blasts. Here are the results of the poll taken from Dec 2015-Jan 15, 2016.
The 2015 Best of Orlando Tennis
Man of the Year : Tom Sweitzer, Downtown Orlando
Player of the Year (Men ): Jhonnatan Medina, Metrowest Orlando.
Player of the Year (Women): Fanny Stollar (Bradenton FL) & Ingrid Neel (Bradenton FL)
Favorite Event: African American Tennis Tourny, Downtown Orlando.
Favorite Place to Play: UCF courts. University of Central Florida
Favorite Coach: Tom Sweitzer
Favorite Business: Tennis Plaza Orlando. International Drive
Break Through Player (Men's): Santiago Suarez, Tampa FL
Break Through Player (Women's): Claire Liu, Thousand Oaks-California
Best Junior (Boys): Andy Mackler . Windemere -Orlando
Best Junior (Girls): Nikki Redelijk , Lake Mary-Orlando
Fan Favorite: Giancarlo Escotto, Orlando FL
Keep your eyes on...: Kyle Frankel, Monteverde Academy -Orlando.
Rafael Bejar -Tampa FL.
2015 MAN OF THE YEAR
Tom Sweitzer, Managing Director of the City of Orlando Tennis Center
Sweitzer honored in the USTA Tennis Hall of Fame along with some of the notable stars such as Billie Jean King
Arguably no one person has had more impact on the Orlando tennis scene in the past 3 years than Tom Sweitzer. The Hershee PA native, who is already an inductee into 3 Tennis Hall of Fames, was imported to Orlando to revive the historic downtown OTC. On top of renovating the OTC, he has brought the only pro tennis event to Central Florida in the $10,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit going into it's 4th straight year. Sweitzer has also been an intrical force of bringing key industry people together into growing tennis for the greater good. He has also supported and hosted a multitude of special events for the community including the Typhoon Haiyan Tennis Charity Tournament, the annual African American Tennis Tournament, and the ground breaking Florida Tennis Tour. With still the youthful energy of a teenager, Sweitzer lives and breathes tennis 24/7. Just ask his dog Andy Roddick.
Congratulate Tom at: firstname.lastname@example.org
MEN'S PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Jhonnatan Medina, Metrowest Tennis Center - Orlando
A former ATP professional and Davis Cup player for Venezuela, Medina not only is one of the most elite tennis players in Central Florida, but has had a profound impact on the Orlando Latino community as a coach. In 2015 no open level player in Central Florida had more success than him in tournament play. He is currently ranked #2 in the USA in the USTA 30+Up Open Rankings.
His 2015 Titles include:
2015 Men's 30 Clay Courts Nationals
2015 Citrus Classic Open
2015 Dr. Alan Saffran Memorial Tournament Open Division
6 NTRP Open and Men's 30 Champions
2015 Thanksgiving Open at Start Island - Men's Open
Congratulate Medina at : email@example.com
WOMEN'S PLAYER OF THE YEAR (TIE)
Fanny Stollar & Ingrid Neel
Neel & Stollar
The lovely Hungarian shined bright in 2015 winning the Doubles at the Orlando Women's Pro Circuit with her dynamite partner Ingrid Neel of Minnesota. To top that off, they both won the doubles pro event a week earlier in Ocala. Fanny also nearly had a double whammy with a singles win at the same Orlando event but lost to Liu in the finals. The story didn't end there though. Stollar went off to win the Wimbledon Doubles Juniors title while Neel made good use of her wild card into the Miami Open when she knocked out 7th seeded and WTA #85 in the world Donna Vekic of Croatia!
Both rising stars train at IMG in Bradenton where they live full-time.
Favorite Event: Tennis Plaza African American Tennis Tourny, Downtown Orlando.
For the second year in a row, the AATT brought together a variety of players from all over the country without having to qualify or be a member of any organization. Just pay, play, and win money. The event honored past minority champions as well as spotlighted rising stars. It also provided free lessons and a tournament and prizes to beginner kids from the inner city supported by Orlando Commissioner Regina I. Hill and Tennis Plaza Orlando. One of the friendliest, most unrestrictive events in the country that gave back to the players, community, and produced champions from Asia, Latin America, and the USA.
Part of the Florida Tennis Tour.
Break through Player (Men)
Santiago "Iceman" Suarez
(L to R) Promoter Charlie Williams, Coach Jerry Fekete, runner-up Kyle Frankel, Santiago Suarez, 3rd place Rafael Bejar, and Tom Sweitzer.
Mexico's Iceman Suarez entered Orlando an unknown and left a superstar. In a dynamically tough field of top open level players, the 16 year old Suarez completely dominated the field going undefeated without dropping a set, or even going to a tiebreak in any match to win the 2nd Annual Tennis Plaza African American Tennis Tournament. With patience and discipline beyong his teenage years, he played near flawless in his matches. He currently sits at #1 in the Florida Tennis Tour rankings.
Break through Player (Women)
The 15 year old Californian traveled to Orlando never before tasting victory on the pro circuit. But 2015 was her year and she went undefeated at the USTA Pro Circuit at the OTC defeating the very strong Fanny Stollar of Hungary in the finals,who in turn upended powerhouse defending champion Kat Stewart.
Favorite Coach: Tom Sweitzer
Tom presents a first time tennis learner his first new racket. Free of charge.
Our first double Best of Orlando Tennis winner! When our newly crowned Man of the Year is not promoting tennis events and organizing functions, he uses his expertise as a Master Pro Instructor by dedicating an incredible amount of hours to teaching kids how to play tennis. How many kids? Over 3000 Orlando juniors!!! These lucky ducks were exposed to tennis through his Summer and Winter programs throughout 14 city run community centers. Sweitzer spent 9 weeks just in the Summer alone 5 days a week giving kids an amazing opportunity to swing a tennis racket the right way on court. His fee to the City of Orlando? Zero dollars. So what does a certified Master Pro that's inducted in 3 Tennis Hall of Fames charge the kids and parents? All FREE.
Needless to say, Sweitzer gets Coach of the Year by a landslide.
The Regina I. Hill District 5 Tennis Lesson & Tournament ran by Tom Sweitzer.
Favorite Tennis Business: TENNIS PLAZA ORLANDO
Always super courteous, professional, and friendly, Tennis Plaza Orlando offers 2 locations in Orlando. Besides carrying every brand and tennis item available, Tennis Plaza has the fastest stringing service in Orlando with an average of 20 minutes in and out the door same day.
Visit their 2 stores at 5540 International Dr, Orlando, FL 32819 & 13401 Blue Heron Beach Dr, Orlando, FL 32821
Giancarlo "Dominican Express" Escotto- West Orlando
People like seeing power and hard hitting in all walks of life. So it's easy to like to watch the Dominican Express. The former Davis Cup player from D.R. is currently ranked #3 in the Florida Tennis Tour.
Escotto also coaches and can be reached at 321-900-7283. Send him a congratulatory text!