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Tennis tournament to benefit Ronald McDonald House

October 12, 2016
By MEGHAN McCOY ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

"Playing to Keep Families Close," a round robin tennis tournament, will be held at Beachview Tennis Club to benefit the Ronald McDonald House next month.

The tournament, scheduled Saturday, Nov. 12, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., is being held through a partnership between Lily & Co. Jewelers and International Tennis Hall of Fame Coach Nick Bollettieri.

Bollettieri founded the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy, the first full-time tennis boarding school, in 1978. Now the academy sits on 450 acres in Bradenton employing 500 individuals. The Hall of Fame coach has worked with such athletes as Andre Agassi, Serena and Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, Boris Becker and Monica Seles.

Article Photos

International Tennis Hall of Fame Coach Nick Bollettieri provided some helpful tips during last year’s “Swing for Hope” tournament.


Entry fee is $100 for players and $50 for guests. The tournament is open for 48 players and 40 guests.

"Myself and my members are excited to have Nick come back," Toni Halski, of Beachview Tennis Club, said. "We are delighted to be able to see him again."

He said due to Beachview Tennis Club members, Jim and Jonatha Castle, the Ronald McDonald House became the beneficiary of the tournament. The couple does exclusive work with the Ronald McDonald House by raising money through Granpy's Charities. The charity holds an annual Robbie's Run, this year Jan. 17, at the Dunes Golf and Tennis Club, to support the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile Program. Last year the run raised more than $55,000.

The mobile program is a pediatric office that provides dental care and medical screenings while traveling to schools and community centers. The program will be introduced this fall for Lee, Charlotte, Glades and Hendry counties.

"Playing to Keep Families Close" will include tennis clinics with Bollietteri and IMG Academy pros, doubles round robin tournament, continental breakfast and grilled brunch court side, youth clinics and a book signing and photo opportunities with Bollietteri. An elegant champagne brunch will be served by Sanibel Catering, as well.

"We are excited to be a part of a lovely event put on by Lily's," Callie Johnson, of Baileys, said. "We are looking forward to watching the event and seeing who comes out on top."

Awards, created by Lucas Century, will be presented to finalists.

Lily & Company Jewelers co-owner Dan Schuyler said the event will include a youth clinic from 11 a.m. to noon with Bollietteri. He said any player who signs up that has children can participate in the clinic.

Raffle prizes donated by such businesses as Lily & Co., Wriggley Tennis, Sanibel Catering, Beachview Tennis and IMG Academy will also be part of the festivities.

Schuyler said he first met Bollettieri after he attended the IMG Academy and asked about private lessons.

While negotiating the price of the private lesson, Bollettieri discovered that Schuyler owned a jewelry store on Sanibel, which ended in a piece of jewelry being sent to Bradenton for Mother's Day. The idea of doing a tennis tournament on Sanibel came to fruition three years ago with Bollettieri and all the proceeds were donated to F.I.S.H.

"Tennis changed my life," Schuyler said of losing a great deal of weight, resulting in no longer taking diabetic medication. "Four or five years ago I put my dad in a nursing home. He worked his whole life. He didn't take care of himself as far as his health. My mom pulled me aside and said to take care of yourself."

Schuyler said people like Christie Bradley, tennis and fitness director at The Sanctuary, and Halski, helped him get into a physical program. He said he learned that it was easy to play tennis a couple hours before work.

"It became a lifestyle. It's more than playing tennis," he said because his wife has joined him on the court. "Now we play as husband and wife. We play tennis five days a week. It has become a part of my life and I am forever grateful."

To register for the tournament contact Schuyler at (239) 472-2888, or Halski at (239) 472-9099.

This year's corporate sponsors include Lamar Outdoor Advertising, Dr. Marius Espeleta, Wriggley Tennis, Arch Capital Advisory Group, Sanibel Catering, Edward Jones Investments and Morgan Stanley.



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