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MIKE AGASSI "NO QUIT" NATIONAL TOURNAMENT
MIKE AGASSI "NO QUIT" NATIONAL TOURNAMENT
VegasTennis.com's Marty Hennessy Jr. Tennis Foundation Tribute to Mr.
Agassi and all he has done for tennis.
Las Vegas, NV September 7, 2006: The Mike Agassi "NO QUIT"
Championships is a USTA national junior tournament presented by VegasTennis.com's
Marty Hennessy Jr. Tennis Foundation and NJTL, including some of the
best players in the country from over 25 states and 15 USTA sections. 30
players from Las Vegas tennis community qualified to play this
prestigious event, including 15 kids that receive help from the Foundation. The
tournament was created by Marty Hennessy and Ryan Wolfington as a
tribute to Mr. Agassi and all he has done for the game. It will also serve
to bring national recognition to the Foundation programs which strive to
"Change kids lives through Tennis, education and mentoring." Matches
will be played September 22 and 23 at 5 locations; Spanish Trail Country
Club, Darling Tennis Center, Meadows School, Palo Verde, Lorenzi Park.
Finals will be Sunday the 24th starting at 9:30am at Spanish Trail
Country Club, with a special breakfast with Mike Agassi hosted by Marquis &
Arbauch, Jim & Heather Murren on behalf of the Nevada Cancer Institute,
Merrin PR, Naked Juice, Granello Bakery and The Pinnacle High Rise
This is a rare public appearance for Mr. Agassi, who for the most part
stays away from the lime light, always happy to see his son get all the
"It is his time, not mine, I did my job," explained Mike as he picks up
balls on the tennis court be built himself behind his house.
And what a job he did. By the age of 14 Mike trained his son to "Hit
the ball on the rise," which at the time was unheard of, having him stand
a foot inside the baseline instead of the traditional outside the
baseline, hitting thousands of balls a day . To drill him he invented a
special ball machine that stood high and pounded serves downward until
Andre became a pro at return of serve.
And that is nothing compared to his storied past. Mike Agassi, a former
Olympic Boxer who defected from Iran, has carved out a life for himself
and his family. Growing up in impoverished Iran, he had no toilet or
floor in his home. His skills as a street fighter elevated him to compete
nationally for his country and when given the chance, he defected to
America with nine dollars in his pocket. Living in Chicago, he and his
friends shoveled snow off a tennis court to play in the dead of winter.
He moved to Las Vegas so he could play year round. He taught himself the
game and became an open player. As an elevator operator, he then became
a showroom captain and convinced the Tropicana Hotel to let him use the
tennis courts to teach his children and some lessons on his off hours.
Like many parents today, Mike woke early, worked day and night. His day
included; 8am taught tennis lessons all day, including his 4 children,
had dinner, worked the showroom till 2 am, came home, then did it over
again. Taking Andre to tournaments, like the national in his name, was
almost out of the question, but he saved his money and found the time.
All his energy went into his children and tennis.
Out of 4 children, 3 played at the professional level. Rita and Phillip
both top 200 level and of course Andre has made history. The 4th child,
Tami, had a full scholarship to play tennis at Texas A&M.
As you get to know Mike you will find no one is more passionate about
tennis then he is. He studies it daily, watching match after match,
tracking the scores online, breaks down the strokes, the running patterns,
he immerses himself in the game he loves.
"At 76 years old he plays 1-2 hours a day on the ball machines he
invented, on the court he made with his own hands, in the back yard that he
tends himself, including the palm tree that I found him cutting 50 feet
in the air last year (at 75 years old,)" said Wolfington.
"When you see the intensity, passion and most of all "NO QUIT" attitude
in him, you see clearly how Andre made it through 5 sets last year and
defeated James Blake in the legendary match."
"This tournament is not only to make players happy," explained
Wolfington, "It is a tribute to Mike Agassi, for all he has done for his family
and the game of tennis. It is a tribute to all tennis parents and
coaches who have showed equal dedication and desire to give their children
the best possible opportunity in life. This tournament is for them and
we hope we live up to the expectation."
Wolfington and Hennessy said they want the Mike Agassi "NO QUIT"
Tournament to be the premiere National event, among the best in the world. To
do this they had fund raisers and sought out sponsors to allow them to
do special things for the players. This includes "Treating the kids
like pro's," as Wolfington explained it. "If we want the children to go
out there and give it their best, we should do the same in putting
together a tournament that will inspire them."
To this end the players in the "Mike Agassi" will get as an entry gift
a "NO QUIT" sweat shirt, T-shirt and wrist band. Players will enjoy
free food and drinks, Crystal Vases and engraved picture frames as
trophies, along with ball kids in the finals with chair umpires.
The Foundation, Las Vegas Hilton and Tennisrecruiting.net will sponsor
a College Recruiting seminar at The Las Vegas Hilton Tennis courts,
free for all parents and kids whether they are in the tournament or not,
with expert Dede Allen. Mr. Agassi will be on hand to take photos with
all the player as they arrive.
An "Evening with Mike Agassi" Pasta Dinner and pool party is being
sponsored by The Pasta Shop Restaurante (Zaggot Poll #1 Italian Restaurant
in Las Vegas), The Las Vegas Hilton and Laurel Springs School Friday
night at the players party. This will include a talk by Mr. Agassi and a
question and answer session.
And to top it off, Mr. Agassi is inviting the winners of the tournament
to come and train at his house, see Andre's trophies and experience the
wisdom that has helped forge a world renowned champion.
The tournament had almost 700 people apply to get in, with only 256
spots available. Some of the best up and coming talent in the country will
be there, including our own Asia Muhammad, who was developed through
Andre Agassi's Boys and Girls Club, a result of the great things his son,
Andre, is doing for the community.
Other local talent that will be seeded include, Cristala Andrews, whose
dad owns the Bagel Cafe, and who just won a national tournament, and
Jeff Vongman, who was ranked as high as 5 in the nation last year, or the
Foundations own Julia Baltas who was ranked top 30 in 14's and is now
140 in 16's and climbing.
Most interesting will be the presence of Frideric Prandecki, who is
coming back from NC State where he is playing his freshman year of college
tennis, just to play the tournament for the man who helped make his
college career possible.
Frideric was the first recipient of the Mike Agassi "NO QUIT"
Scholarship and Award, through VegasTennis.com's Marty Hennessy Jr. Tennis
Foundation. Getting him out of the "teen scene" The Foundation helped pay
for Prandecki's travel and training which gave him the opportunity to
play national tournaments and get recognized. This past January he beat
the #8 player in the country at the Copperbowl and as a result had many
scholarship offers. Frideric is just one of many kids that now benefit
from VegasTennis.com's Marty Hennessy Jr. Tennis Foundation, which
strives to "Change kids lives through tennis."
The Foundation created this tournament and the "Mike Agassi
Scholarship" to help kids in similar situations Andre was in as a kid.
"Children are talented but if they don't have the money to travel they
can't get the ranking needed to get a college scholarship," explained
Wolfington. "Our traveling team helps the kids get there, and on the way
we mentor them about life, which to me is most important,"
The Foundation also introduces tennis to at risk children, like those
at Boys and Girls town. It has a mentoring program which helps the
players think on a higher level, and an educational component which just did
an East Coast Education, Tennis and Leadership Tour. Right now the
Foundations traveling team has a 3.7 grade point average, which falls in
line with their emphasis on education.
"In addition to their in school reading we have our own reading
requirement, which asks them to read one book they love, coupled with field
trips, discussions and inspirational speakers to help them see the
limitless possibilities of their lives," said Wollfington who runs the
"The most important thing we do is help them learn to succeed in life,
and tennis is just a part of that."
"If it were not for the Foundation I would not being going to college,"
said Frideric Prandecki the night of their annual fundraiser this past
March at The Stirling Club, which included Tony Bennett, Jay Leno, Rita
Rudner, the real "RUDY" from the famous movie, Phyllis McGuire, local
dignitaries City Councilman Larry Brown, Lt. Governor Loraine Hunt and
NCAA Champion Tim Blenkiron. The fundraiser in it's last two years has
raised over $500,000.00 for the Foundation and is creating an endowment
in hopes of keeping the scholarship alive forever.
"The Foundation would like to thank those sponsors who have stepped up
to support the families, because without them this tournament and the
Mike Agassi Scholarship would not be possible. They are changing kids
lives, sending them to college and letting them know anything is
possible," said Wolfington.
Sponsors include Tony Bennett, Rita Rudner, "Rudy" Ruettiger, Phil and
Lee Aurbach with Marquis&Aurbach, Mike & Brittany Bellon with The
Pinnacle High Rise, Jim & Heather Murren on behalf of the Nevada Cancer
Institute, Merrin PR, Laurel Springs Home school, Las Vegas Hilton Resort,
The Pasta Shop Restaurante, Claire and Neil Roth, The Stirling Club,
Mike Agassi, Winnie and Bob Schulman, Jeff & Rashe Taylor, Ravi Tumber,
Jason Spacek, Scott Frazer, The Meadows School, Alexander Dawson
School, Palo Verde High School, Laurie Steed at Granello Bakery, Jaldeep
Daulat & Las Vegas Skin & Cancer Clinics, Bruce Eichner, Kurt Swauger, Marc
Kreisberger with Well Fargo Private Client Services, Barry Levinson,
Bernie Shiappa at Fletcher Jones Imports, Lily Chu, An Family's
Crustacean, Evan Glusman at Piero's Trattoria, NAKED JUICE COMPANY, Mobile
Mediical Services Dollie & Jim Kurtz, Kathie Brinkmeyer, John and Dana
Goyak, Peggy Donohue, Julian Serrano of Picaso, Scott Karosa, Lee & Jim
Medick, Sandra White, Sean and Ana Wolfington, Carol and Harry Wolfington,
Harry and Tonja Wolfington, Stephany and John Zigler, Sharon
Wolfington, Lisa and Joe Corcoran, and Brian O'Neill.
The tournament boasts "One of the best tournament staff's in the
country," with seasoned veterans Robert Sasseville, Julie Wrege and Doug
Wrege flying in from out of state with other national referee's just for
this event. For the most part Wolfington credits the great response to
the legacy and contribution Mike Agassi has given to the game.
The tournament advisory committee lists the who's who in Nevada Tennis:
Including Marty Hennessy, Ryan Wolfington, ITA Treasuer Shari Spencer,
NTA Board members Claire Roth, Theresa Lovett, Dawn Farber, Bob
Thompson, Tim Blenkiron, Ben Coates, Russell Garrett, NTA Junior Coordinator
Rob Merriman, Spanish Trails Hans Reihmann, Club Sports Alan Brown,
Foundation volunteers Bruce Merrin, Jan Trump, Karey Novak, Lezsek Banas,
Mary Clifford, Harrison Field, Trenton Alenik, Penny Tavares, and Rich
Bartone as Deputy Referee.
Tournament Volunteers make this possible. Christy Legget, Mary Stine,
Janice Leysath, Lori, Carla Wagner , Christian Capanollo, Shondra
Summers-Armstrong, Debbie Burgos, Fatima Badredine, Connie Skaza, Judith
Scotland, Kent Dance, Maya Bryan,
Janelle Boelter, Nedra Paschal, Lori Capps, and Mila Ortiz.
Below is a list of 35 Nevada players who have earned a national ranking
high enough to qualify for the National tournament. 15 of these players
have received support from the Foundation programs.
To see the finals or ask about a special "Breakfast with Mike Agassi"
Sunday at the finals in Spanish Trail country club, call Ryan Wolfington
at 822-1081. Or e-mail him at Vegastenniscom@aol.com.
Anyone can come out and see the high level play at Spanish Trail
Country Club, Darling Tennis Center, The Meadows School, Palo Verde High
school and Lorenzi Park. Play begins Friday 8am and finishes at Spanish
Trail Country Club Sunday.
NO QUIT = An unbridled willingness to never quit.
The event and Foundation always welcomes volunteers and possible
For interviews and photos please call Ryan Wolfington at 702-822-1081
or VegasTenniscom@aol.com .
Nevada Players that qualified to play this national tournament.
Aguilar, Brendan - Las Vegas, NV - B12s
Alenik, Trenton - Las Vegas, NV - B18s
Andrews, Cristala - Las Vegas, NV - G18s
Arriola, Marina - Henderson, NV - G12s
Baltas, Julia - Las Vegas, NV - G16s
Bessen, Sarah - Henderson, NV - G12s
Bon, Sheryl - Las Vegas, NV - G18s
Boney, Candynce - North Las Vegas, NV - G18s
Brazell, Amanda - Las Vegas, NV - G12s
Brazell, Taler - Las Vegas, NV - G12s
Breland, Stan - N Las Vegas, NV - B16s
Foley, Brian Patrick - Las Vegas, NV - B12s
Garrett, Alexis - Las Vegas, NV - G14s
Gutierrez, Diego - Las Vegas, NV - B14s
Lee, Anita - Las Vegas, NV - G14s
Mahlangu, Nicholas - Henderson, NV - B12s
Mahlangu, Yannik - Henderson, NV - B12s
McMillan, Austin - Las Vegas, NV - G14s
Minnick, Jordan - Las Vegas, NV - G12s
Morgan, Shauna - Las Vegas, NV - G18s
Muhammad, Asia - Henderson, NV - G18s
Ribaste, Jonathan - Las Vegas, NV - B18s
Smith, Gabrielle - Henderson, NV - G12s
Smith, Mitchell - Henderson, NV - B12s
Song, Evan - Henderson, NV - B14s
Tavares, Tiffany - Las Vegas, NV - G14s
Toti, Sarah - Las Vegas, NV - G14s
Uriarte, Chrissy - Las Vegas, NV - G14s
Yee, Kimberly - Las Vegas, NV - G12s
Yee, Kristofer - Las Vegas, NV - B14s
VEGASTENNIS.COM'S MARTY HENNESSY JR. TENNIS FOUNDATION
ABOUT THE FOUNDATION
VegasTennis.com's Marty Hennessy jr. Tennis Foundation is a 501(c)(3)
non-profit organization that gives mentoring, tutoring and tennis to
kids with talent but not the resources to make their dreams a reality. The
mission of the organization is to "Change kids lives through tennis and
education," giving kids the opportunity to get scholarships to college
while discovering the lessons of life on the court. We have taken kids
from partying and bad lifestyles to training 5 hours a day and getting
a full scholarship to college. We have helped families that work hard,
but at the end of the day do not have enough left to send their kid to
the national tournament they qualified for, or to get tennis shoes.
Last year's fundraiser provided the following for area youth:
Provided help to Frideric Prandecki, who made the Jr. Davis Cup team,
beat the #20 player in the nation and won numerous tournaments. Because
of his success, he will go to college on a scholarship.
Frideric, Julia Baltas, Kaja Banas, Farwa Husain, Maja Banas, and
Patrick Kawka qualified for Supernationals.
15 kids went to the Bollettieri camp
40 kids went to summer camp with 5 days of free training
The traveling junior team went to 14+ tournaments/events
50 kids went to pro tournaments and met their heroes.
Over 60 kids got entry fee scholarships
11 Kids got a 13 day all expense East Coast Tennis, Education and
Leadership Tour, summer 2006
Orphaned kids at Girls and Boys Town received free tennis lessons
Hundreds of kids participated in "Treat the Kids like Pros" tournaments
and "How to get a college scholarship" seminars
We had free match play for all kids once a week
Kids discovered the value of a work ethic through our work program
Kids learned by helping put together this event
Got kids names and pictures in the paper for their accomplishments
Council ed kids to better appreciate their parents and not be
Tutored and mentored kids in our foundation to have an average 3.8 GPA
Mentoring helped kids see a bigger dream, a bigger vision
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Please make a donation of an item or service, large or small, to be
auctioned off this year or next.
You can write a check to VTMARTY HENNESSY Jr Tennis Foundation.
Donate an item on our Wish List
* Laptops for kids to do homework when at tournaments.
* Van to take kids to tournaments
* PA system
* Stereo system and speakers
* Airline miles and tickets for kids to travel
* Items for live and silent auction 2007
* Mentor the kids by taking them to lunch
Checks should be made out to:
VegasTennis.com's Marty Hennessy Junior Tennis Foundation
4316 Fortune Ave
Las Vegas, Nevada 89107
VegasTennis.com's Marty Hennessy Junior Tennis Foundation is a 501-3c
non-profit organization (ein# 20-1638145)
4316 Fortune Ave
Las Vegas, Nevada 89107
Marty Hennessy Jr. Tennis Foundation
"Changing kids lives through tennis"
A non-profit 501(c)(3) Charitable organization
EIN # 20-1638145