• Sun’s 2011 Tennis Players of the Year


    By Cliff Olsen, Correspondent

    Published June 4th, 2011

    Zachary Goldberg and Jazz Whittaker




    The 5-foot-11 sophomore, who was part of Eastside’s team that reached state in 2010, was a major factor in Gainesville’s success this spring. Goldberg was 16-3 at No. 1 singles, which included a perfect record against area opponents, and won the District 4-3A title. He also grabbed the district crown at No. 1 doubles with Cole Fiegel and ended with a 17-3 mark. Goldberg’s exceptional season led the Hurricanes to their first district championship since 2007 and to their first trip to the FHSAA Class 3A state tournament since that year as well. At state, he lost his opening-round singles match, but was able to post a first-round victory with Fiegel in doubles action. Goldberg, who turned 17 on Saturday, is ranked 44th in the state in the boys under-18 rankings, according to the USTA’s June rankings.

    “In high school tennis, it is a team sport, it is not just the individual like I do outside of high school tennis,” said Goldberg, who was effective with his serve and his forehand this season. “The goal was not to get to state by myself, I would much rather go as a team.

    “I tried to lead the team as well as I could and be supportive and try and do my best to lead the team to victory in our matches. It was a great year.”

    Personal notes

    Goldberg has played the violin since he was four years old. He takes lessons every week and plays in the Gainesville Suzuki Players Hausmusik Orchestra.


    “I felt very excited that I had won the award. It was a goal of mine to win this award, because to win the award, I had to compete well, have a good record and beat the other players in the area. I am very satisfied and grateful that I have gotten this award. It was a goal of mine so I am satisfied that I got it.” – Zach Goldberg




    For the fourth straight year, a P.K. Yonge player takes home this award. The 5-foot-11 Whittaker follows former Blue Wave star Lindsey Cable, a three-time winner of the award, who is now at Stetson. Whittaker posted a 14-4 record at No. 1 singles, which included winning the District 4-1A title, advancing to state as an individual and winning her opening-round match. The sophomore, who relies on her forehand and said she is comfortable playing at the net, teamed with Kiah Turner and the duo won the FHSAA Class 1A state title on the individual side of the doubles bracket. A year ago, the duo won the Class 1A state crown at No. 2 doubles. Whittaker is ranked 57th in the state in the girls under-16 rankings, according to the USTA’s June rankings.

    “I thought I had a pretty good year, especially for doubles,” Whittaker said. “I was hoping to get a little further at state (in singles). My goal for state was to come home with some kind of medal and get to the finals in doubles or singles.”

    Personal notes

    Whittaker, whose older sister Zari is a second-team all-area choice, also played volleyball for the Blue Wave last fall. She said she doesn’t see herself playing again because she said volleyball takes up a lot of time and she wants to focus more on tennis, which she’d like to play in college. Whittaker also owns a 4.23 weighted GPA.


    “I was just really excited, winning this award was one of my goals and I was hoping that I would get it. I am just happy to represent my school and get my picture in the newspaper.” — Jazz Whittaker

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