The Tournament

Tennis icons emerge from the FineMark women’s tournament in Bonita Springs

Rising tennis stars from around the nation come to Bonita Bay Club to compete in the only $100,000 Women’s USTA tournament in Florida.

BY May 1, 2023
FineMark Women’s Pro Tennis Championshi
This month, Bonita Bay Club is home to one of the foremost tournaments for female tennis players to break out. The only $100,000 Women’s USTA tournament in Florida frequently features the top-ranked 125 female players. (Photo by Nick Shirghio)

Blistering serves, long baseline rallies and sudden drop-shot winners—some of the next big names in women’s tennis take the court at Bonita Bay Club for the FineMark Women’s Pro Tennis Championship from May 1 to 7. One of only five annual Women’s U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) Pro Circuit tournaments held nationwide that draws players who vie for $100,000 in total prize money, the event gives athletes a chance to earn points to improve their Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour rankings and get into the larger tournaments. “This event is where the rising stars come out,” says Paula Scheb, Bonita Bay Club’s director of sports and a U.S. Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) Master Professional.

American tennis star Coco Gauff, now ranked sixth in the world, played the inaugural event as a 15-year-old in 2019. Later that summer, she reached the Round of Sixteen at Wimbledon, and last year, she was the runner-up at the French Open. Lauren Davis, who won the FineMark tournament in 2019, reached a career-high ranking in the top 30. And 2021 champion Katie Volynets made it to the third round of the Australian Open in January.

The draw is particularly rich in American talent, with half of last year’s singles field hailing from the United States. (Several wild card entries are usually bestowed upon members of the Florida Gulf Coast University tennis team.) Tennis fans may also recognize some established names, like former top-10 player CoCo Vandeweghe, who played last year’s event as part of her return to the sport after an injury.

In addition to brushing up on young talent, you can pick up some tips for your own game. “[You] learn by watching the footwork, what they do with their eyes and their focus between points and games,” Paula says. “The sheer athleticism is amazing.” 

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