Aussie Open champs give back to Tennis Patrons

Bob and Mike Bryan were focused on defending their Australian Open title in Melbourne last Thursday, but the world’s top doubles team had a presence at the annual meeting for the Santa Barbara Tennis Patrons on Jan. 21.

2009 Summer Mentorship players

President Elizabeth Winterhalter had good news for the 40-45 people gathered at Harry’s Plaza Cafe, which included current and past board members, club managers, local pros and coaches. They were delighted to hear that the Bryan brothers had donated $5,000 through their foundation to help pay for a youth tennis scholarship.

Amber Bottleson added to the goodwill by immediately donating a junior tennis membership from the Tennis Club of Santa Barbara.

“Everybody was so fired up,” said  Tennis Patrons President Elizabeth Winterhalter, who complimented a slideshow put together by Executive Director CathyAnn Simon for being another highlight of the night.

The Bryan brother’s have since successfully defended their Australian Open title, defeating No. 2 seed Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 in the final.

The doubles stars, themselves products of the Tennis Patrons, requested that the money, which will help pay for lessons and access to local tennis clubs, be earmarked for deserving young men or women.

Amy Kinsella spent much of her summer being a good mentor.

The Bryan brother’s weren’t the only ones receiving applause for giving as San Marcos senior Amy Kinsella was awarded  for her generosity with her time. The SBTP’s board voted to give Kinsella special recognition for her committment to community service and the organization’s summer mentorship program.

The Board also announced the re-election of Winterhalter as President, with Diane Young retaining Vice President duties, John Long as Treasurer and  Rich Powell as Secretary.

Simon’s slideshow covered the 29 years since the Tennis Patrons was created, with throwback shots of Jim Basham, Megan Cotich and Heath Montgomery as juniors, photos from last year’s clinic with the Bryans, and everything in between.

“I don’t know what it was, but it was really a magical night,” said Winterhalter, beginning another term under good auspices.

The Tennis Patrons hosts an adult tournament on Feb. 27-28 to help raise money for its youth programs.  The annual Leslie Allen Tournament is held at the Santa Barbara Municipal Courts and is co-sponsored by the city’s Parks & Rec Department.