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This is the second year Mike Manzella has been the director of tennis and head professional at South Towns Tennis Club. At age 17 he knew he wanted to be a full-time teaching tennis professional. “I started to give tennis lessons on our tennis court in the backyard when I was a junior at Orchard Park High School,” Manzella said. “Almost immediately I felt a passion f…

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For the first time in recent memory three local youngsters are ranked in the top 11 in singles in the Eastern Section 12 & Under division. They are: Yashna Yellayi, 12, of Williamsville, seventh in the Girls Division; Tommy Navarro, 11, of Williamsville, fifth in the Boys Division; and Jesse Hollins, 12, of Orchard Park, eleventh in the Girls Division.All three are outstan…

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The Gow School South Wales was founded by Peter Gow, a Yale graduate who became a teacher at Nichols. Although he worked with many bright children at Nichols, he noticed that some had great difficulty with reading. He started a summer camp for students with dyslexia (an impairment in the ability to read) which related to language-based learning disabilities in the early 19…

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When the average racquet sport enthusiast is asked what the most popular racquet sport played in the world is, the quick response is usually, “tennis, of course.” Nothing could be further from the truth.The correct answer is “badminton.” The number one sport that is played the most throughout the world is soccer. The number two sport is badminton. Most people think…

Racket Sports

Sally Russell, Dave Koehler and Richard Lynn have done an exemplary job of putting together a history of squash in Buffalo.Their many hours of work on this project included the Buffalo Squash Racquets Association, Through the Decades, the association Hall of Fame, compilation of squash happenings through the decades, interesting facts about the game, Buffalo representation…

Racket Sports

Dan DiPirro and Cheryl O’Connell are the dynamic duo of Western New York mixed doubles tennis teams.Watching them play together reminds me of the 1961 hit song “Poetry in Motion” by Johnny Tillotson. They never seem to be out of position and have a great court presence. They first met five years ago at the Village Glen and have won 95 percent of their 8.0 USTA matche…

Racket Sports

Those who have played racquetball against Ben Constantino or have watched him play are amazed by his speed afoot, his eye hand coordination, his court coverage and his devastating forehand sidewall shot.There are probably other local racquetball players who may have some of Constantino’s skills. However, Constantino has one distinction that most other racquetball players…

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Lance Vodicka is the new tennis pro at Miller Tennis Center. He is originally from St. Louis and his dream as a youngster was to be a full-time playing tennis pro.He did extremely well in his playing career, winning three Futures Doubles tournaments, one with local Rochester star Marcus Fugate. He also reached the quarters and semis, respectively, in two Futures tournament…

Racket Sports

By Charlie GarfinkelSPECIAL TO THE NEWSMarsha Huard was honored by the USTA’s Eastern Section with its Diversity and Inclusion Award for her outstanding work in promoting tennis in the Western New York area, with heavy emphasis in the Riverside section of Buffalo.The award was based on her participation in youth and adult tennis programs. The program has included Burmese…

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Sam LaDuca was honored in White Plains two weeks ago at The U.S. Eastern Region’s yearly dinner as the Eastern Tennis Clinician of the year.LaDuca is beloved by all of his students; both young and old. John Brunner is the Director of Tennis at the Village Glen Tennis Club. About 13 years ago he said, “I knew that Sam was to be a student of the game of tennis and would …

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Winston Lin, a Columbia University junior, is the first local collegiate tennis player to be ranked in the nation’s top 10 male players in NCAA Division I.The 20-year-old East Amherst resident is the No. 8 player in Division I and the number one ranked player in the Northeast including teams such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth, and Cornell.Lin’s ascent to this …

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Leana Marcezin had never played tennis until 3½ years ago. On Jan. 25 she will receive the 2013 United States Tennis Eastern Woman of the Year Award at the annual Eastern Conference in White Plains.The USTA, acting as a not-for profit community organization, has a mission to promote and develop the growth of tennis. The Eastern Section is composed of all of New York State…

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Rachel DelPriore is the unanimous choice as WNY’s No. 1 women’s tennis player. When the Miller Tennis Center teaching pro walked on the court for the finals of Miller’s $22,000 tennis tournament in July she had one thought in mind. She wanted to badly win the finals against Lisa Fernandez, who had defeated her 6-4, 6-2 in the women’s pro stop in June.DelPriore didn…

By Charlie GarfinkelSPECIAL TO THE NEWSThe holiday season is an excellent time to purchase a racket-related sports item for a family member, relative, or friend. You may even want to purchase a racket sports item for yourself. Or, in a subtle way, you could drop a hint to a family member or friend about a particular racket item you may like for Christmas or Hanukkah. The f…

During the past few years I have been on the tennis courts at least five times a week - either playing or teaching tennis. During this time I have been questioned about various unusual situations that occurred and how I would have handled them.Situation Number One: A 3.5 player told me that there was one player in a doubles group who was at least 15 years older than anyone…