By Randy Walker
We have a trivia question for tennis buffs.
Who was the SECOND-to-last player who Andre Agassi beat in his storied tennis career?
Don’t go to ATPWorldTour.com and cheat.
It was Andrei Pavel of Romania, who played a very much overlooked and overshadowed first round match against Agassi at the 2006 U.S. Open, Agassi final pro event. Pavel was nearly the player who put Agassi into retirement, but fell in a nail-biting four-set night match 6-7(4), 7-6(8), 7-6(6), 6-2.
The match was overshadowed by Agassi’s second round match, ultimately his final pro career win, a 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 5-7, 7-5 decision against Marcos Baghdatis in a riveting classic US Open late-night five-setter, that precluded his career swan song, a loss to Benjamin Becker in the third round.
Some of you may wonder what ever happened to Pavel, who reached a career high of No. 13 and was a quarterfinalist at Roland Garros in 2002? You can now find him at the Pavel & Blackwood Tennis Academy at the South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island in Southwest, Florida, just off the coast from Fort Myers.
Pavel and Nick Blackwood, a successful junior development coach, started their academy on Captiva in November of 2010 and have established it as a world class tennis destination – designed for groups or just tennis enthusiasts looking for a world class tennis get away with various daily tennis programming available.
The Academy provides junior and professional players premier opportunities as well as programming for adults of all abilities, including beginners. With a combination of physical training, mental development and an emphasis on education for junior players, the Academy creates an environment where each hard-working player is a winner.
Pavel, who spends part of his year at South Seas Island Resort, works with corporate groups, fantasy camps and private lessons as well as playing in exhibitions The resort also hosts an annual USTA $50,000 Women’s Pro Circuit event in November.
South Seas’ tennis facilities include 11 recently resurfaced hard courts, including four lighted courts for nighttime play – making it the finest tennis facilities on Sanibel and Captiva. Tennis court usage is one of many amenities guests of the resort village can enjoy free of charge. Resort guests can bring their equipment and play at anytime during their stay. or the Academy has equipment for rent and conducts clinics, private lessons and provides matchmaking for guests on-property looking to play others.
Recently recognized by TripAdvisor as one of the industry’s most outstanding resorts, South Seas Island Resort is seemingly set adrift off the Florida Gulf Coast and is an unspoiled haven, encompassing a wildlife preserve and two-and-half miles of shell-strewn beaches, lapped by turquoise tides. Recently recognized by MSNBC as a “Top 10 Best Place in the World to Experience Local Wildlife,” South Seas Island Resort is set on 330 unspoiled acres with a rich variety of wildlife and boundless opportunity for adventure and relaxation. The resort boasts a “Family, Nature, Comfort.” approach to hospitality, which is why generations of families have made the resort village the destination of choice for sharing treasured moments and making lasting memories. The resort offers a variety of accommodations including villas, condominiums, cottages and homes. Guests enjoy world-class shelling along the beach golf on a 9-hole executive course, the H2Whoa! Water Park, an engaging ScoutAbout exploration program for families and a list of family-oriented water sports, activities and interactive educational programs through the Sanibel Sea School. Ideal for events, this resort features a variety of venues and over 31,000 square feet of flexible function space.
For more information about the Pavel-Blackwood Tennis Academy, visit www.pavelblackwoodtennisacademy.com. For more information on the USTA Pro Circuit, visit www.usta.com/Pro-Tennis/Pro-Circuit/USTAProCircuit. To make a reservation at South Seas Island Resort, call 800-533-5553 or visit www.southseas.com.