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Top 14 South Carolina Tennis Stories of 2014

December 19, 2014 02:14 PM

Tennis produced a profusion of stories in 2014, including Roger Federer’s ascension and Serena Williams' up and down year.

We South Carolinians also produced some noteworthy tales this year. We might have Beverly Hill and Rex Maynard instead of Serena Williams and Marin Cilic, but what’s that old adage again about storytelling? It’s the people in the year-end tennis stories that make the stories, not the names, er, something like that.

USTA South Carolina’s 14 top stories of 2014, in no particular order. Click here to let us know which stories we missed.

Lyn Hibino of Columbia loses 130 pounds and changes her life

In July 2013, Lyn Hibino weighed 272 pounds. Thirteen months later, she had lost 130 pounds through surgery and tennis.

Andrea Petkovic wins the 2014 Family Circle Cup

Petkovic surprised nearly everyone when she won the WTA tournament in Charleston. Petkovic, whose dad played tennis at USC, will be back for the 2015 Family Circle Cup.

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Family Circle Cup photo

Shelby Rogers' breakthrough 2014

Our favorite tennis player captured her first win over a top-10 player and a top-20 player. She also reached her first WTA final. And that was just before August.

Shelby also competed in the WTA Rising Stars Invitational in October.

Makenna Jones leads South Carolina juniors

Makenna Jones of Greenville also had a stellar 2014. Makenna, 16, is the No. 1-ranked girl in the USTA Southern and USTA South Carolina 16-and-under rankings. She also is the No. 2-ranked girl in the USTA South Carolina 18-and-under rankings.

Makenna also played on the USTA Pro Circuit this year, below, competing at the Rock Hill Rocks Open in October.

Congrats to Makenna! (Thanks to Tim Hartis for the photo.)


JTT National Championships in Lexington County for Third Consecutive Year

For the third consecutive year, the USTA Junior Team Tennis National Championships were held in Lexington County. The 14-and-under and 18-and-under championships made for a busy October for Jorge Andrew, the county's director of tennis operations.


New Areas Represented at USTA South Carolina JTT State Championships

For the first time, USTA JTT teams from Calhoun and Orangeburg Counties represented their areas at the USTA South Carolina Junior Team Tennis State Championships this year. We look forward to seeing them at the Dr. Eddie Floyd Florence Tennis Center, below, again in 2015!


South Carolina JTT Teams Play Well at Nationals

Two USTA South Carolina JTT teams enjoyed relatively easy drives to the national championships and played well while they were there. The Landsharks from Hilton Head Island and the Legends from Lexington both made us proud at the USTA JTT National Championships.

The Lexington Legends, from left to right: Abby Cooper, Savanna Fuller, Mark Carnes, Thomas Bryan, Logan Adkins, Amy Lance, Katie Thompson, Lauren Joch, Sam Calais, and coach Eric Jackson. Not pictured: Jerry Price.


The Hilton Head Island Landsharks, from left to right, Kaera Handy, Sarah Wood, Holly Kerr, Maddy Bauer, Katie Rankin, Kate Cram, Hunter Parrott, Matthew Feldman, Cameron Clark, Stevie De Vincentis, Ben Likings, Alex Likings, and coach Eric Wammock.

USTA Adult League Teams Competed at Nationals

USTA adult league teams also made it to USTA National Championships, including Raj Pandya's 4.5 men's team from Greenville, below. Pandya and his team finished as the finalist in the 18 and Over 4.5 Men's division. And, thanks to Elisabeth Pickelsimer for the reminder, let's not forget about the 55 and over women's team from Charleston, also below, that won nationals in April.

Congrats to all of our league teams that represented South Carolina at USTA National Championships in 2014!





Losing Helen Jeter

This year, we also lost a person who helped make tennis so enjoyable for thousands of league players across the state.

Longtime USTA volunteer Helen Jeter died October 16. She was 73. For all of Jeter's achievements and accolades with the USTA, she will be remembered first as a dear friend.

USTA South Carolina: Annual Award Renamed to Honor Longtime USTA Volunteer

USTA Southern Section: USTA Volunteer Helen Jeter, 73, Passes Away

Greenville News: Greer's Jeter honored by state tennis association


Those People Who Always Win Awards for Their Great Work Won More Awards for More Great Work

After years of winning awards, Rex Maynard of Belton must be comfortable behind a podium. This year, Maynard added one more honor to his collection: the 2014 Eve F. Kraft Community Service Award. If you watch one video on this page, make it the below clip..

Charleston's Brenda Carter also continued her usual act. Warning: Do not challenge her to a match.

Carter, far right.

CiCi Bellis Makes it a South Carolina Sweep

CiCi Bellis doesn't have the experience that Carter has, but she showed earlier this year that she has similar drive. Bellis swept the two $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournaments in South Carolina this year.

In August, Bellis, at 15, became the youngest player to win a US Open match since Anna Kournikova did in 1996.

Bellis at the Rock Hill Rocks Open in October. (Tim Hartis photo.)

Tennis can help your marriage?

We all know that the tennis court can be a great place to make friends, but a place to nurture a marriage?

Yes! Some longtime players in South Carolina feel that way.


Tennis Continued to be a Sport of a Lifetime

Throughout 2014, we also learned, again, that tennis remains a lifelong sport.

In January, we read about the class in which older players carry themselves on court.

In May, USTA South Carolina hosted the 75 and Over State League Championships on Hilton Head Island.

The 75 and Over Men 3.0 state league champions, from Beaufort County.


In Jne, we learned about a 77-year-old woman playing women 20 years her junior. And in November, Lorena Grant showed us all up by playing in the 70 and Over State League Championships. Grant, below, is 91.


Beverly Hill and Her Team Beat Cancer, Play at Nationals

On March 10, Beverly Hill learned she had breast cancer. On October 31, she was playing in a USTA National Championship. If we were ranking these stories, Hill's might be our favorite, if we were ranking them.

To the seven people who scrolled this far, thank you for reading as always, and happy New Year!




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