Kiawah’s Barth receives Southern’s top award

Kiawah Island tennis director Roy Barth. (File/Staff)

Kiawah Island tennis director Roy Barth has received just about every award imaginable in state and Southern tennis circles. His latest award is the 2015 Jacobs Bowl, which is the highest award presented by USTA Southern.

The Jacobs Bowl, which was presented to Barth during Southern’s annual meeting in Atlanta, honors a volunteer who has exhibited outstanding service to USTA Southern.

Barth has been Kiawah’s only director of tennis, arriving in 1976. He now teaches at the Roy Barth Tennis Center.

A San Diego native, former top 50 touring pro and former All-American at UCLA, Barth has been named to the state and Southern tennis halls of fame. He has served as the chairman of the USTA’s Davis Cup committee.

Touring professional tennis players usually have only a few peak years. The likes of Roger Federer and the William sisters are among the exceptions. Life on the tour not only can be expensive financially, but also on the body.

Charleston’s Shelby Rogers is 23 years old these days and is ranked No. 154 in the world. She probably realizes she might never be a top echelon player, say top 20.

But Rogers wants to get back where her game took her in September 2014. No. 70 in the world isn’t a bad place to be. Direct entry into the Grand Slam events is a big deal to young tennis players.

Rogers sees a brighter 2016 as she appears to be recovered from injuries that handicapped her much of last summer and fall.

Her goal for the spring: “Get my ranking back up while staying healthy . . . To get into the slams this summer.”

Rogers skipped this month’s Australian Open qualifying in favor of playing a pair of $25,000 tournaments in Florida as the top seed. After a second-round finish at Daytona Beach, she was a semifinalist at Wesley Chapel.

Rogers will participate this coming week in the $100,000 U.S. Pro Circuit event in Midland, Mich., along with Lowcountry connections Samantha Crawford and Jessica Pegula. The 107th-ranked Crawford should be seeded. Pegula played in Saturday’s singles semifinals and doubles final in a $50,000 event in Hawaii.

Family Circle Tennis Center’s prestigious Dunlop Junior Championship is only a couple of weeks away, but two-time champion Ellie Halbauer still doesn’t know if she’ll return to compete for a record third title and the wild card into the Volvo Cars Open qualifying tournament that goes to the Junior Cup girls 18 champion.

“It’s not up to me. It’s up to my coach,” Halbauer responded Friday when asked if she would play in the Dunlop event, which will be held Feb. 12-14.

Still just 18 years old, Halbauer was in Sunrise, Fla., on Saturday where she was in the semifinals of a $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit event. Currently ranked No. 476 in the world, she could climb above her career-high 412 on Monday.

Andy Steingold has made the switch from one Summerville area private club to another as the director of tennis at Pine Forest Country Club. Steingold has spent the last nine years directing Legend Oaks’ highly successful tennis program.

Former longtime Pine Forest tennis director Larry Klingenberg, who once taught at Nick Bollettieri’s Academy, is now Pinewood Prep’s tennis director. Bryant McKee, who earlier coached at Summerville and Pinewood Prep, has moved in as Legend Oaks’ tennis director.

“I am excited and looking forward to being at the helm of one of the finest tennis facilities in the state,” said Steingold, who was named state player of the year in 2013.

Tyler Davis, who coached Wando’s girls to a Class AAAA state runner-up season in 2011 after serving as head coach at both Presbyterian College and Limestone College, has joined city head pro Davy Hairston’s teaching staff at Charleston Tennis Center. The Farmfield Avenue facility is making a huge move in live-ball drills and training sessions for adults, particularly on Saturday mornings and most weeknights. Davis also has served as a pro at Park West and Mount Pleasant Rec.

Lowcountry product Anderson Scarpa came up with a key win at No. 4 singles for Mercer in an opening-day 4-3 upset of No. 64 Clemson. It was Mercer’s first-ever win over an Atlantic Coast Conference team. Scarpa is a senior from Sullivan’s Island.

Former area pro Matt Hane, currently the head pro at the Country Club of Louisiana in Baton Rouge, will be inducted into the George Washington University tennis hall of fame in February.

The Lowcounty Youth Tennis Association has used a $1,200 grant from the USTA to install blended 10-and-under competition lines on courts on John’s Island at St. John’s High School and Haut Gap Middle School.

Reach James Beck at jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. See his latest columns on Grand Slam tennis at ubitennis.net