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Celebrating Pride Month: O’Neil McLeod

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In celebration of Pride Month, throughout June USTA Florida will recognize those in the LGBTQ+ community whose character and passion continue to embrace our message that tennis is for all – regardless of skill, age, race, or sexuality.  

This month, USTA Florida is featuring players of the LGTBQ+ community who describe their experience in the sport, why Pride Month is important, and what it means to be proud of who they are.  

For O’Neil McLeod, tennis is all about going out, having fun, and making new friends. While he believes the sport still has a long way to go when it comes to accepting the LGBTQ+ community, he is committed to being vocal and making an impact.  

When did you first start playing tennis? 

I started playing tennis during my freshman year of high school. I fell in love with the sport in my home country and when the opportunity came, I couldn’t turn it down. 

What do you love most about the sport? 

I like how tennis really is a lifelong sport and it’s about skill. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from; it’s about your passion for the sport.  

What impact has the LGBTQ+ community had on you? 

The Pride community has an effect on EVERYONE involved! It’s impacted me by giving clarity on discovering who I am and letting me know I am just PERFECT for this world.  

How did the sport welcome you when after coming out? 

The sport has a long way to go before we see full acceptance-in my opinion. I’m the kind of individual to own my space and let my skills do the talking. The community is pretty okay, but the stares still happen. I’m saddened to not see a big impact professionally with tennis.  

How does tennis help you connect with the LGBTQ+ community? 

I’m excited when I’m playing and I see a fellow Pride friend join in on the fun. It shows growth. However, I feel like it’s a slow process, due to the stigma surrounding LGBTQ and sports.  

What advice do you have for members of the LGBTQ+ community about getting involved in tennis? 

Don’t be afraid! Be yourself and enjoy the game! I’m happy to see USTA Florida put a good foot forward in making it easier for my community to be welcomed.  

What would you tell someone in the LGBTQ+ community who is hesitant to come out? 

Remember everyone has their season. Once you accept who you are, then the world will. It might sound cliché but it’s the best advice. Anyone will accept you if you can be your authentic self. Remember, you might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but as a wise man once said, “If they ain’t paying your bill, pay them no mind!” 

What does Pride mean to you? 

Pride means authenticity and community. Anywhere you go, you really have support and I’m glad our community stands by that. We have all been in the same position, been through the same struggles, so we are always there to lend a helping hand. 

 

The post Celebrating Pride Month: O’Neil McLeod appeared first on USTA Florida.



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Three Counties Punch Ticket to Nationals at Adult 18 & Over 3.0/4.5 Sectional Championships

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It was another weekend filled with tennis fun in the sun at the USTA National Campus. Multiple counties from across the state gathered to compete at the Adult 18 & Over 3.0/4.5 Sectional Championships.

Three counties took home the four titles that were up for grabs, with two of them winning their first-ever Sectional Championship. 

In the 3.0 division, the Women’s and Men’s draw was dominated by Miami-Dade County. The teams representing the South Florida area dominated edged out 3-2 victories in both draws. This was their first time winning in the Men’s Division and second for the ladies. 

Over in the 4.5 Women’s flight, South Florida foe, Broward County took down Orange in a convincing 4-1 win. This marked Broward’s fourth championship since 2012.

The 4.5 Men’s division was conquered by Palm Beach County in a tight 3-2 win over Escambia. This was Palm Beach’s first title in this draw. 

The competing teams represented various clubs, parks, recreational departments, and organizations, and finished at the top of their local leagues during the 2022 season to advance to the USTA Florida 18 & Over Sectional Championships.   

These champions have qualified for the 2022 USTA League National Championships and will compete in October.   

FINAL RESULTS:  

Adult 18 & Over 3.0 Women  

Final: Miami-Dade (Crandon Park Tennis Center) d. Orange County (Red Bug Lake Park) 3-2 

Championship Match Results:  

No. 1 Singles: Kristin Stroleny (Miami-Dade) d. Maria Boykin 6-1, 6-0 

No. 2 Singles: Kelly Baker (Orange) d. Aneta Kulesza Mestrinelli 6-2, 7-6 

No. 1 Doubles: Audrey Freedman/Sonya Mandel (Orange) d. Alexa Gillani Alimer Gonzalez 6-2, 6-3 

No. 2 Doubles: Yamila Porras/Isabella Ratti (Miami-Dade) d. Amber DAvis/Lauren Bridge 6-2, 7-6 

No. 3 Doubles: Stacie Gray/Jaishree Varadaraj (Miami-Dade) d. Nancy Borck/Jennifer Dunn 6-3, 6-4 

Miami-Dade County Season Roster: Yamila Porras (Captain), Aneta Kulesza Mestrinelli, Grace Mead, Alexa Gillani, Julieta Peralta, Maria Nunez, Kristin Stroleny, Jaishree Varadaraj, Carla Conde, Stacie Gray, Lucila Pena, Silvana Larrarte, Elimer Gonzalez, Isabella Ratti 

Adult 18 & Over 3.0 Men  

Final: Miami-Dade County (Tropical Park Tennis) d. Alachua County (Westside) 3-2 

Championship Match Results:  

No. 1 Singles: Cesar Orejarena (Miami-Dade) d. Camilo Fita 7-5, 6-4 

No. 2 Singles: Jose Rivas (Miami-Dade) d. David Fuller 7-5, 6-1 

No. 1 Doubles: Boris Kuchuk/Isaac Barron (Alachua) d. Vicente Ciliberti/Gonzalo Garcia 6-3, 6-2 

No. 2 Doubles: Kewei Xu/Jorge Torres-Vazquez (Alachua) d. Gilberto Giampaolo/Rafael Rodriguez 6-3, 6-2 

No. 3 Doubles: Cristian Pelaez/Lucas Martinez (Miami-Dade) d. Xi Jun/Stefan Gerber 6-7, 6-4 

Miami-Dade County Season Roster: Gilberto Giampaolo (Captain), Gonzalo Garcia (Captain), Hector J Cardona V, Lee Araujo, Sebastian Montero, Jesus Galarza, Lucas Martinez, Jose Araujo, Cristian Pelaez, Vicente Ciliberti, Francisco Dugarte, Jose Rivas, Cesar Orejarena, Rafael Rodriguez 

Adult 18 & Over 4.5 Women  

Final: Broward County (Lauderdale Tennis Club) d. Orange Couty (Winter Park-Parks & Rec/Azalea Center) 4-1 

Championship Match Results:  

No. 1 Singles: Rosamaria Rodriguez (Broward) d. Stacey Williams 6-2, 6-2 

No. 2 Singles: Victoria Baca (Broward) d. Catherine Taylor 6-0, 6-0 

No. 1 Doubles: Anne-Marie Miller/Sarah Harkins (Orange) d. Alaina Fotiu-Wojtowicz/Gabriela Castanon 6-3, 6-2 

No. 2 Doubles: Cheryl Hicks/Jill Rickey (Broward) d. Anna Svaetichin/Lisa Becket 6-4, 6-0 

No. 3 Doubles: Sally Guerra/Mariana Eberle-Baylock (Broward) d. Kim Frilot/Kristine Dionne 6-1, 6-4 

Broward County Season Roster: Alaina Fotiu-Wojtowicz (Captain), Victoria Baca, Gabriela Castanon, Janine Burke, Jill Rickey, Kumiko Currie, Veronica Wank, Cheryl Hicks, Brooke Oransky, Sally Guerra, Meg Jackson, Natalia Moll, Camila Giraldo, Rosamaria Rodriguez, Leyvis Concepcion, Mariana Eberle-Blaylock 

Adult 18 & Over 4.5 Men  

Final: Palm Beach County (Parkland Tennis Center) d. Escambia County 3-2 

Championship Match Results:  

No. 1 Singles: Valentim Goncalves (Escambia) d. Arturo Carrasco 6-2, 6-0 

No. 2 Singles: Zachary Lane (Palm Beach) d. Hayden Essary 6-1, 3-6, 1-0 

No. 1 Doubles: Alejandro Cadena/Jay Graff (Palm Beach) d. Chad Cage/Lumbomir Kaderjak 6-4, 3-6. 1-0 

No. 2 Doubles: Charlie Skelton/William McClelland (Escambia) d. Atif Raoof/Anthony Cottone 7-6, 6-7, 1-0 

No. 3 Doubles: Stephen Markward/Ronen Bickel (Palm Beach) d. Stevens King/ Daniel Herman 7-5, 6-2  

Palm Beach County Season Roster: Alejandro Cadena (Captain), Atif Raoof (Captain), Ronen Bickel, Stephen Markward, Jay Graff, Matthew Kramer, Juan Giangaspero, Arturo Carrasco, Antonio Marcelin, Gonzalo Olmedo, David Williams, Diego Velasquez, Giovanni Guido, Zachary Lane, Anthony Cottone, James Taylor 



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Japanese Tennis Star Naomi Osaka Hails Coco Gauff As a Star Both On and Off the Court

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Japanese Tennis Star Naomi Osaka Hails Coco Gauff As a Star Both On and Off the Court | TENNIS LIFE


























































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Tennis Titans Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic Withdraw from Canadian Open ahead of US Open.

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Tennis Titans Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic Withdraw from Canadian Open ahead of US Open. | TENNIS LIFE


























































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