The French Open starts this weekend. Every year, I see a huge spike in players on local courts right around this time. The combo of the tennis-friendly weather and the subliminal messages the brain sends while watching pros play tennis from Paris seems to act as a catalyst to get off the couch and personally hit some balls. This year, when your brain gets that urge, both you and your small fry might decide to improve your skills close to home. Holabird Sports Tennis Camp at UMBC powered by Babolat is a great option for adults and children in the Baltimore Area.
The adult camp is an evening program from June 24-27. The juniors camp has openings for the June 23-28, July 7-12, July 14-19 and July 21-26 programs.
The juniors camp has been in existence for years. Last year, Holabird Sports took on the naming rights and sponsorship with partner Babolat. For twenty years prior to that, Adidas sponsored the camp at UMBC.
Sol Schwartz of Holabird Schwartz is proud of the camp and Holabird’s sponsorship.
The secret weapon of the camp is certainly the coaching staff, led by former pro Rob Hubbard, who has spent over 30 years coaching after an ATP career and stellar college career at the University of Texas Pan-American . Hubbard is a Calvert Hall graduate and a Baltimore native. He serves as Head Coach of the Men’s and Women’s Tennis programs at UMBC.
Rob was one of my coaches growing up, recalls Schwartz. Rob was coached as a tour player by Lenny Scheurmann. When Lenny started a tennis camp, he brought Rob in. Rob is a gift to any kid who wants to play college tennis.
What makes Rob unique is the experiences that he’s had in the game from a playing standpoint, from a teaching standpoint and a coaching standpoint. He’s got every base covered that a parent who wants to put their kid in a program would want running it.
A kid that’s playing in college still has it in the back of their mind that one day they might go pro. Rob’s been there. From a mechanics standpoint, he can break down any stroke any time to any level and repair it.
Between Coach Hubbard, Oliver Steil, and Robin Hubbard, Rob’s spouse, the camp is loaded with top-notch instructors. Steil is the Assistant Coach at UMBC and a former Division I player at the University of Texas Pan American, while Robin Hubbard was a nationally-ranked player at North Texas University. On top of that, Schwartz himself will offer instruction at the adult camp.
Instructing kids and adults presents different challenges, and the coaches are prepared to give them what they want and what they need.
Schwartz mentioned that “the whole thing with teaching adults is they expect different things out of a lesson. Their primary goal may be to get a workout and the technical side second.”
The 5:1 Instructor to Student ratio also allows for numerous breakout 1-on-1 lessons for each player’s particular needs.
Last year, a wide range of players from their early twenties to their early sixties participated in the adult camp. As Schwartz notes, “age doesn’t dictate performance.”
The juniors camp now has full-day, half-day, extended-day and overnight programs, with the minimum participation age of 6 and 9 for extended day and sleepover options.
Kids can be hard to keep focused, so the day is broken up to maximize the fun and the concentration. The morning is virtually all drills and cardio, with a focus on match play in the afternoon. A 90-minute lunch break is offered each day as a way to cool down and make friends.
The range of experience of the youngsters varies widely and all are encouraged to play, and Schwartz notes that last year, “we had extreme beginners and juniors with a national ranking”.
The camp uses adult balls and nets, a personal sticking point of Schwartz’s. “Real-sized everything”. But he does defer to Coach Hubbard to use any equipment he see fit.
The max enrollment is 36 kids and 30 adults to maintain a 5:1 student/instructor ratio.
For more information, click on the logo at the top of this post.
Next week, I’ll tell you about the best tennis camp the D.C. area has to offer.
Junior Tennis Champions Center Hosts Free Tennis Festival
DC/Baltimore’s Premier Tennis Training Center Hosts Free Tennis Clinic for Local Children
The Junior Tennis Champions Center (JTCC), the world-class tennis training center in College Park, Md., will host its 14th annual Tennis Festival on Saturday, May 4 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. The complimentary tennis clinic for children of all skill levels, including those without any previous experience, will provide tennis techniques and tips. Kids ages 5 to 12 are invited to join JTCC’s esteemed coaching staff and junior tennis champions to practice game skills and participate in agility drills. Throughout the clinic, coaches will be noting the skill level of each participant and will invite 20 promising participants to enroll in the first three weeks of JTCC’s training summer camp free of charge.
This might be the best thing you do for your kid all year. There are two schools of thought when it comes to encouraging a sport and both of them come together on May 4. You want to expose your child to the sport you love. And at some point, you want to know how they compare against other youngsters in the game. Come out to College Park and do both. In addition to games and activities for the kids, they’ll also get some complimentary pointers from some of the world’s coaching on staff. So if your child looks like she has the incredible potential required of a junior champion, you might get an expert opinion right on the spot.
Due to the limited number of participant slots available for the JTCC Free Tennis Festival, parents are encouraged to register their children as soon as possible. To register, send child’s name and age as well as the family’s contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, May 4, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Junior Tennis Champions Center
5200 Paint Branch Parkway
College Park, MD 20740
RSVP: To reserve your child’s spot, send an email with child’s name and age along with family contact information to email@example.com.
About Junior Tennis Champions Center
The Junior Tennis Champions Center (JTCC) is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization and a world-class training program that provides highly motivated young people with the athletic and academic instruction they need to excel on the tennis court and in the classroom. Since its inception in 1999, JTCC has placed all 95 of its graduates at top universities, with graduates earning more than $1.6 million in athletic scholarships.
USTA MID-ATLANTIC HONORS NINETEEN AT ANNUAL MEETING
Montgomery County Tennis Association Wins Community Program of the Year
RESTON, Va., November 20, 2012– The United States Tennis Association Mid-Atlantic Section (USTA/MAS) celebrated the efforts of nineteen individual members and member organizations at the Sheraton Reston Hotel in Reston, Va., November 17, 2012.
The awards are given out annually to USTA members from Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C., for their dedication to the sport of tennis and their outstanding contributions in helping grow tennis at the local level.
“This is our favorite event of the year,” says USTA/MAS Executive Director, Rod Dulany.”It’s a time where we can recognize the phenomenal volunteers and leaders in our community who give so much to our sport.”
The Montgomery County Tennis Association (MCTA) was honored with the Community Program of the Year award. The MCTA is a non-profit organization founded in 1996 to promote tennis and to support tennis players in Montgomery County, Md., and the local area. It is committed to increasing the opportunities for juniors, adults and seniors to play recreational and organized competitive tennis. The foundation of the MCTA rests with more than 55 volunteers who organize and manage the various community based tennis teams, leagues, socials, tournaments, training programs and after school programming at various middle schools.
Below are the awards and honorees.
Community Program of the Year, Montgomery County Tennis Association, Md.
Presented to a USTA/Mid-Atlantic Section person, place or program that best demonstrates outstanding execution of a team event or programs.
Section Organization of the Year – Reston Tennis Association, Reston, Va.
Presented to a member organization for their outstanding service to the local community, to the organization members, and to the game of tennis.
Facility of the Year, Culpeper Sport & Racquet Club, Culpeper, Va.
Presented to the tennis facility that made the greatest impact in the community during the past year through programming, events and partnerships.
Lifetime Service Award, Garland Ott, Charles Town, W.Va.
Presented to an individual or group for their longstanding dedication and commitment to the game of tennis.
Parks and Recreation of the Year, Marion County Parks and Recreation Commission, W.Va.
Teaching Professional of the Year, Harvey Robinson, Newport News, Va.
Volunteer of the Year, Carolyn Ikeda, Alexandria, Va.
League Coordinator of the Year, Jon Smith, Carroll County, Md.
Jr. Team Tennis Coordinator of the Year, Shannon Scarvey, Midlothian, Va.
Family of the Year, The Cook Family, Ft. Washington, Md.
Military Tennis Award, Molly Prins, Springfield, Va.
Tournament of the Year, West Virginia State Championships, Ridgeview, W.Va.
Official of the Year, Bob Hyatt, Williamsburg, Va.
High School Coach of the Year, Lee Kelley, Richmond, Va.
Adult Sportsmanship Award, Aileen Chase, District of Columbia
Adult Sportsmanship Award, Marvin Martinez, Ft. Washington, Md.
Junior Sportsmanship Award, Olivia Davis, Indian Head, Md.
Junior Sportsmanship Award, Spencer Liang, Potomac, Md.
Outstanding Media Award, Doug Smith, District of Columbia
—C. Miller, USTA/MAS
CourtThink Brings Tennis to The Strip At The Cosmopolitan-Las Vegas
Party Rock Open Founder Tyler Weekes Named Official Tennis Partner at Cosmopolitan
Las Vegas (Oct. 20, 2012) – CourtThink, LLC, Founder and Party Rock Open co-tournament director Tyler Weekes has been named the official tennis partner at The Cosmopolitan-Las Vegas, and plans to bring his innovative and exciting teaching methods to reinvigorate tennis along one of the world’s most visited Boulevards, the Las Vegas Strip.
“There is a rich and storied history between tennis and Las Vegas,” Weekes said. “By bringing CourtThink to The Cosmopolitan-Las Vegas, we are primed to promote tennis to one of the wealthiest and most high-end clientele in the world, while also catering to the tourist who just can’t stay away from the game of tennis while visiting Las Vegas.”
He added: “The only other tennis courts that are available on the Strip are at older hotels and facilities. So we’re really the only game in town when it comes to tennis and the Strip.”
Weekes formerly ran his CourtThink tennis program out of the Red Rock Country Club in Summerlin, and more recently the Longevity Sports Center (formerly the International Tennis Centre). Both facilities were named USTA Nevada Facility of the Year during CourtThink’s tenure and Weekes’ leadership.
“The two courts at The Cosmopolitan are currently available for match play, ball machine rental, as well as racquet rental,” said Weekes, who added the courts sit on the rooftop of the 14th floor, next to the Sahra Spa and Fitness Center at The Cosmopolitan. To many guests delight, the courts are shaded from the summer heat of Las Vegas by surrounding buildings. “If you’re planning a trip to Las Vegas, check out tennis at The Cosmopolitan for a truly unforgettable experience.”
Weekes also founded what is currently Las Vegas’ only professional tennis tournament, a USTA $50,000 women’s event four years ago. Teaming with long time friend and WTA-certified sports agent Jordan Butler of Agent Atleta, Weekes has continued to innovate in the tennis industry with this professional event. Proof of his innovation was the huge success of last month’s Party Rock Open which was conceived after Weekes met LMFAO’s front man Redfoo during a lesson at the Cosmopolitan.
Weekes said one major component that will likely come out of the Party Rock Open will be the Party Rock Open Fantasy Tennis Experience where individuals will have the chance to stay at The Cosmopolitan, take a lesson with Weekes, meet and spend time with LMFAO’s Redfoo, and be given VIP access to Redfoo’s private table inside of one of the world’s top nightclubs, the Marquis at The Cosmopolitan.
Weekes is being assisted at The Cosmopolitan by his Company Director of Tennis David Bryner.
Weekes reported that The Cosmopolitan is now an official CourtThink Camp site, along with locations at the Green Valley Spa in St. George, Utah and the Westward Look Resort in Tucson, Ariz.
Weekes grew up in Coeur D’ Alene, Idaho, and was one of the youngest teaching professionals ever certified by the USPTA. In 2000, he began working at the World Famous Vic Braden Tennis College under the direction of his close friend and tennis mentor, Dave Nostrant. Weekes became the Head Teaching Professional by 2003 and has personally taught more than 1,500 different guests of The Vic Braden Tennis College and other facilities.
Weekes has been featured as a guest instructor/speaker for UNLV’s MBA Marketing Program and has also written instructional pieces for varied publishers including Inside Tennis magazine.
Weekes, the youngest of seven children, was recently married to Tiffany Gudino and the couple have two children, Roman and Rocco. They reside in Las Vegas.
To learn more about CourtThink and its instructional offering, call 1-800-655-6157. For specific information regarding CourtThink Tennis Camps, visit http://courthinktenniscamps.com.
PARTNERSHIP FOR A HEALTHIER AMERICA AND THE FIRST LADY’S LET’S MOVE! INITIATIVE JOIN U.S. DARA TORRES, FITNESS EXPERT BOB HARPER AND ACTRESS CHRISTINE TAYLOR HELP USTA KICK OFF NATIONAL CHILDHOOD OBESITY AWARENESS MONTH AT US OPEN
An expert and celebrity fitness panel which included The Biggest Loser’s Bob Harper, U.S. Olympian Dara Torres and actress Christine Taylor helped the United States Tennis Association (USTA) kick off National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month on Saturday at the US Open.
To highlight the importance of healthy, active lifestyles and unveil a set of essential elements for increasing the quality and quantity of youth physical activity programming in America, the USTA, in collaboration with the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), hosted the press event followed by a youth tennis exhibition at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
The USTA’s youth tennis initiative is the single largest and important initiative in the history of the organization. Beginning Sept. 1 through Oct. 6 families can log on to YouthTennis.com, which will list more than a thousand events around the country where families can experience tennis.
Here’s a sampling of what the panel had to say on Saturday:
Bob Harper – Fitness expert, star of The Biggest Loser & NY Times Best-Selling Author:
“I see what’s going on in the average American household and what I really found is a common denominator. It starts at home. It’s all about what your children see in the home. Teens are spending up to seven hours a day in front of some sort of computer device. What I really try to get the parents to do is become more active. It’s just not telling your children what you want them to do; you’ve got to become a part of that solution and actually do what you want them to do.
“The biggest thing about this is, it doesn’t have to be so difficult. That’s why I’m so excited to be here today working with the USTA and talk about the fact that we can get our children active and get our families out on the courts and parks. Just getting parents more and more involved and showing them it’s not as difficult as it seems. Right now we’re looking at the rise of childhood obesity; we’re looking at type 2 diabetes in children. What I really do believe, sitting here with all these role models is, there’s hope. I really do believe we can make a change by having these conversations and you guys listening to what we have to say. There’s change out there happening and we just have to continue to get involved and also have to get our communities involved. I’m excited the USTA has brought the free tennis Play Days to children around the country.”
Dara Torres – Five-time US Olympian & Gold Medalist:
“I am an athlete and a mom. To get kids initially engaged and to get them to stick to something, you have to make it fun. You need to find a program where the coach is going to make it fun. My daughter started tennis when she was two-and-a-half. And when I went to go to the program and watch, the coach was awesome. He had squishy balls that they played with so they can’t get hurt, and he was always playing games with them. She loved it and if I didn’t get on the tennis courts and start hitting balls with her, she would be so bored so I think it’s very important to engage kids and make sure they always have fun. Kids also want to be able to experience success while being engaged. That’s why the USTA’s Youth Tennis Initiative is great for kids. They can experience that engagement and success right away. There’s not a feeling of being overwhelmed by the sport or the experience. The experience is most important.
“When sports are too serious it’s not fun for the child. Kids need to have fun. I stayed in swimming so long because I had coaches that liked to play water polo and liked to do Marco Polo in practice; not all the time, I mean I didn’t get to the Olympics by doing these things, but on Fridays after we finished a workout. We’d have relays to duke it out, they always made it fun.
“There’s a big role for coaches and parents to play in the personal and athletic lives of their children. Kids need parents who are supportive of whatever they try. When you play with the whole family, success can be shared by everyone.”
Cullen Jones – Two-time US Olympian & Gold Medalist:
“Given the title of role model, that’s the biggest thing that I want kids to understand is be athletic, go out, have a good time. Do I like playing video games? Sure, but go outside, be social; this is one of the biggest problems. I work with the initiative called Make A Splash and I get kids water safe through drowning prevention.
“The biggest thing we really want to push is being active. I never had to choose at a young age which sport I would try because I just wanted to play them all. I wanted to play soccer, I wanted to play tennis, I wanted to swim, I wanted to play basketball. My parents never made me choose; I had to make that decision for myself.
It’s a huge problem in the U.S. and we really want to see more kids learning to be active. Be healthy, choose greens. That’s one of the biggest things with my mom, I swear. She used to put Italian dressing on broccoli because I wouldn’t eat it any other way. Finding ways for kids to be healthy is very, very important. Whether it’s putting Italian dressing on broccoli or if it’s just making the right decisions.
“That is the biggest message right now. We really just want to get kids healthy.”
Christine Taylor – Noted actress, avid tennis player and tennis mom:
“My kids were born into a funny family and none of this stuff really came natural to my husband or I; we’re not professionals. I grew up loving tennis – watching it, playing it –but I didn’t have that competitive drive. So to make it fun is what it’s all about for me in my household.
“The other really great thing that I’ve found is homemade obstacle courses, just with objects in your house. Really tricking them into the physical activity, because it doesn’t feel like it when it’s fun, it’s a game. For me to be a part of the USTA and the 10 and Under initiative is really just a gift because of my love for the game.”
Kurt Kamperman – USTA Chief Executive of Community Tennis:
“We have a serious problem. We’ve got this whole group of passive sedentary kids. There’s some kids in the middle, but then a professionalization of youth sports that is causing kids to burn out and look at activity and sports as a job.
“Fortunately, not everybody’s got it wrong. We have some great examples here today; people that have got it right. Many youth sports in this country have it wrong. They are encouraging kids to specialize sooner and sooner. And really, making it all about winning too early.
“The one common theme here is that it’s really going to take all of us to really address this issue of physical inactivity and also the issue of repairing youth sports.
“The USTA is taking this very seriously. We want tennis to be the model sport. And we are putting a lot of resources behind it to make it a model sport. We changed the rules of the game on Jan. 1. Until this year, a 9-year-old boy or girl had to play on the same size court as Andy Roddick and Serena Williams. Andy’s 6-foot-2 and an average boy is 4-foot-2. Doesn’t matter, you’re going to play on the same size court, same size racquet and with the same fast balls. We changed things because we weren’t getting enough younger kids playing tennis. We figured if we didn’t get them at a younger age we wouldn’t get them at an older age.”
Sam Kass – White House Asst. Chef Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives:
“Many youth sports in this country have it wrong. They are encouraging kids to specialize sooner and sooner, and really, making it all about winning and much too early.
“The partnership with the USTA for us has been groundbreaking and unprecedented. Right now we are raising the most sedentary generation in our history. On the average an American child is spending seven and a half hours in front of a screen everyday. Seven and a half hours. As long as that continues we will not have a generation that reaches their full potential and lives those vibrant lives that they deserve.”
Larry Soler – President and Chief Executive Officer, Partnership of Healthy America:
“One in three kids are over-weight or obese today. We know that every kid should be getting at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day. The reality is 32 percent of elementary school students and 29 percent of high school students are getting that. So we’re not doing a good enough job. We can do better and we must do better.
“The inactivity that we’re facing and the obesity means that kids are going to suffer more deadly diseases like diabetes. More than one in three kids born in the year 2000 are going to develop that within their lifetime. Kids don’t get the benefits from physical activity, the mental well-being, mental health, improved academics. If you think about it, what’s physical activity? It’s one of the few things we do that helps us stay healthy; it helps us feel better, happier, improve our overall outlook and performance. It’s free. But still, it’s a big challenge.
“PHA was created in 2010 to help bring an end to the childhood obesity crisis. We work with our honorary chair, First Lady Michelle Obama and the Let’s Move program to develop voluntary brands with companies in the private sector to help us solve this problem. We have over 30 organizations that have signed on to work with us.
Michael Bergeron – Ph.D.,Chair, National Youth Sports Health and Safety Institute:
“This is truly an inactivity epidemic. Your physical activity is the biggest determinant of your wellness and frankly your risk of dying as an adult. So it’s imperative that people are regularly active for so many reasons. If we’re going to have youth sports be part of this solution it has to be accessible and we have to break down the barriers and be more inclusive and not exclusive and come up with some creative opportunities to make sports available to all kids. The key thing to make that work then is to have that key entry point and be a workable entry point and especially at the early parts of developing an athlete. So that is the beauty of what the USTA is doing with 10 and Under Tennis. It’s changing the entry point. It’s changing how kids are introduced to the sport so that they are more likely to stay with it.”
Tim Morehouse: Three-time US Olympian in fencing:
“For me, I just got back from my third Olympic Games and my background is also education. I was a seventh-grade teacher for three years at Washington Heights Public School. I remember the kids would come in with Skittles and Diet Coke for breakfast and the lunch at our schools they were barely eating. They had gym twice a week and a lot of the girls were sitting on the sidelines. I think we have a lot of issues to tackle.
“I was someone that grew up playing baseball and luckily my school had fencing. I saw a sign that said, ‘Join the fencing team, get out of gym.’ (laughter) That’s how it started. I got a C+ in fencing my first semester as well. I somehow made the Olympic team after that.”
USTA SERVES AWARDS $27,500 TO
WASHINGTON D.C.-AREA TENNIS PROGRAMS
Recreation Wish List Committee Granted $12,500 and
Washington Tennis & Education Foundation Granted $15,000
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., July 6, 2012 - USTA Serves, the National Charitable Foundation of the United States Tennis Association, today announced it has awarded grants to two Washington D.C.-area programs, the Recreation Wish List Committee received $12,500 and the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation received $15,000. During its 2012 spring funding cycle, USTA Serves awarded 44 community tennis and education organizations more than $400,000 in grants.
The Recreation Wish List Committee (RWLC) started in 1995 and has worked to support and create a safe environment for the District of Columbia’s youth to grow and play. The Recreation Wish List Committee’s mission is to provide out-of-school education, enrichment, fitness and tennis programs at the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center. The center serves approximately 400 youths each year.
“We are thrilled to have been awarded this grant from USTA,” said Cora Masters Barry, President and CEO of the Recreation Wish List Committee. “We continue to see great growth and success in our Tennis Scholars and are honored to be recognized for our work.”
Funding will support the Summer SETUP program, a six-week academic and tennis program for second through fifth graders, and its after-school academic, cultural enrichment, fitness and tennis programs the remainder of the year.
The Washington Tennis & Education Foundation (WTEF) was founded in 1955 as an organization designed to help disadvantaged youth through tennis. Since then, it has evolved into an organization that provides academic help to at-risk children by helping them to apply the lessons learned on the tennis court and in the classroom.
Eleni Rossides, Executive Director, Washington Tennis & Education Foundation, said her organization was thrilled to receive a grant from USTA Serves. “For our children it means their dreams are possible,” said Rossides. “WTEF offers high-quality tennis and education programs that bring new hope for better futures. This stamp of approval from USTA is a critical part of our resume when we seek funding from other sources as well.”
The USTA Serves grant given to WTEF will impact three main programs including the Arthur Ashe Children’s Program (AACP), the Center for Excellence (CFE) and WTEF’s Tennis Center Programs. Together these programs serve nearly 1,500 children each year, ages 6-18, with a focus on tennis, academics and life skills instruction.
“USTA Serves is proud to continue to provide financial resources to organizations impacting the future of thousands of children throughout the nation, helping them to develop life skills through tennis and education,” says Deborah Slaner Larkin, Executive Director, USTA Serves. “It is our hope and belief that these young men and women will continue to positively impact their communities and beyond.”
The bi-annual grant process, a national initiative of USTA Serves, was developed to provide disadvantaged, at-risk children the opportunity to learn to play tennis and improve their academic skills in a structured format, and to help combat childhood obesity by promoting healthy lifestyles. Chosen by a Grant Proposal Review Committee comprised of Foundation board members and USTA national staff, with important input from USTA sections, the grants are awarded to programs that successfully combine tennis and education and help children pursue their goals and highest dreams by leading healthier lives, succeeding in school and becoming healthier citizens. To date, USTA Serves has disbursed $11 million to a variety of programs that support its mission.
The rain cleared just in time to hold the USTA Mid Atlantic’s “Battle Against Obesity” Family Tennis Day outdoors in Baltimore’s Patterson Park last Sunday. About a hundred local kids, including tennis clubs from city public schools, enjoyed the three-hour long festival.
The program featured instruction from some former USPTA professionals, and children of different age groups were sent to separate courts for the activities. The lessons for the very young involved children catching tennis balls in buckets and learning how to balance a ball on a racquet. Older children enjoyed target practice and advanced instruction.
The only long lines at the event were for the face-painting booth. Even USTA Maryland Executive Director Lynn Coddington got into the act–as Hello Kitty. In addition to the free healthy food options available that day, there were nutritional information advisors on hand to answer questions about food choices for children.
The highlight of the day was a visit from the Washington Kastles mascot. Slice posed for lots of photos with the kids, even allowing himself to occasionally be used as target practice for the eager fans.
The entire event was free and the USTA has staged these family days throughout the nation over the spring. On Sunday, most of the kids in attendance walked off with free tennis racquets and other sporting gear. Participants had to hit a prize with a tennis ball to win in the ‘Hit It and Get It Zone’. A sporting goods company even donated STX Lacrosse sticks. How very Maryland.
Tennis is a tough sell in Baltimore. But on this one Sunday in May, Patterson Park could have stood in for Atlanta or Charleston as kids got very, very excited. About tennis. Tennis East Coast also learned this weekend that kids tennis clinics will return to East Baltimore’s Patterson Park this summer for the first time in several years.
Linwood and Eastern Avenues, Baltimore, MD 21231
For more information, contact Lynn Gertzog (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Connor Hance, 13, Stuns Top Seed in Boys’ 16s
at USTA International Spring Championships
Local from Torrance Played Agassi and Graf’s Son Against
Taylor Dent in 2005 Genworth Financial Commercial
By Steve Pratt
CARSON, Calif., (Wednesday, April 4, 2012) – Ever wonder what happened to the cute little boy who played Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf’s son in that 2004 Genworth Financial commercial co-starring Taylor Dent?
Well Connor Hance, who turned 13 in November and lives just eight miles away, has put the acting and commercials on hiatus and has been making some noise on the junior tennis circuit of late, especially on Wednesday when he upset No. 1-seeded Ruadhan De Bruges of Australia, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, in the third round of the boys’ 16s at the eighth annual USTA International Spring Championships being played at the Home Depot Center.
“I started to play more aggressive and drive the ball more,” said Hance, of what he changed after dropping the first set. “And I started getting my first serve in. That was the difference.”
Both Hance’s parents are teaching professionals at the South Bay Tennis Center in Torrance. His father Ken and mother Courtney were both on hand to watch him record the shocking win. “I just kept saying to myself please keep the ball in play because I knew his opponent was tiring,” Courtney said. “And he did and it worked out for him. It’s pretty exciting.”
The qualifier Hance, who won the 2011 USTA Clay Court Nationals in the 12s, will next face No. 10 seed Logan Smith of Carlsbad, Calif., in the quarterfinals on Thursday. Connor’s sister Kenadi is a top-ranked 14s player who lost in the 16s on Tuesday. During his match, she said he gave up acting and really started focusing on his tennis several years ago when he lost out on the role of actor Steve Carell’s son in the 2007 feature film “Evan Almighty,” only because he didn’t look anything like Carell.
Another 13-year-old who was turning heads but in the girls’ 18s on Wednesday was Tornado Ali Black, who was given a wild card into the tournament and is currently ranked No. 141 in the ITF world rankings.
Black, who has a younger sister who is a top-ranked 12s player named Hurricane, is from Englewood, Colo., and won the Eddie Herr 16s back in December. She has already signed a pro contract with Octagon and is being coached by USTA coach Freddie Rodriguez who was on site Wednesday to watch her upset No. 13 seeded Kelsey Laurente of Miramar, Fla., 6-3, 6-1, in the second round.
Defending 18s champion Samantha Crawford, the No. 5 seed, was beaten in straight sets by Makenzie Craft of Frisco, Texas, 7-6 (4), 6-3. The unseeded Craft said she went two full months to start the year without hitting a ball as she was recovering from three torn ligaments in her left ankle.
“I beat Kyle McPhillips last year at Claremont, but I would say this is my biggest win,” Kraft said. “I was trying to stay focused. I really wasn’t thinking about what I was doing out there. Before the match I was just hoping to keep it close. Samantha obviously didn’t play her best. It might take three or four hours for it to set in.”
For complete draws log onto the website at www.usta.com/isc.
Boys’ 18 Singles (Second Round)
Ernesto Escobedo West Covina, CA def. Lucas Gomez San Ysidro, CA 6-3, 6-4
Noah Rubin (3) Rockville Centre, NY def. Tommy Mylnikov Bradenton, FL 7-6(6), 6-0
Martin Redlicki Boca Raton, FL def. Deiton Baughman Carson, CA 2-6, 6-1, 7-6(2)
Henrik Wiersholm Kirkland, WA def. Jordan Daigle Lafayette, LA 7-6(4), 6-1
Austin Siegel (6) Tarrytown, NY def. Mohd Merzuki Bradenton, FL 4-6, 6-2, 6-2
Ronnie Schneider Bloomington, IN def. Paul Oosterbaan Kalamazoo, MI 6-1, 6-2
Mackenzie McDonald (4) Piedmont, CA def. Gage Brymer Irvine, CA 3-6, 6-1, 6-4
Luca Corinteli Alexandria, VA def. Pak Long Yeung Hong Kong, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
Carter Lin Bradenton, FL def. Spencer Papa (2) Boca Raton, FL Wo (inj)
Stefan Kozlov Pembroke Pines, FL def. Thomas Pura Pacific Palisades, CA 6-0, 6-2
Henry Craig Murrieta, CA def. Grant Solomon Dallas, TX 6-0, 6-1
Trey Strobel Bradenton, FL def. Chun Hun Wong 6-1, 6-4
Nikko Madregallejo Monrovia, CA def. Thai Kwiatkowski (7) Charlotte, NC 2-6, 6-4, 6-2
Alexios Halebian (5) Glendale, CA def. Alan Nunez Aguilera 6-0, 6-3
Mitchell Krueger (1) Aledo, TX def. Jack Murray Beverly Hills, MI 6-3, 6-4
John Richmond Pawleys Island, SC def. Jared Donaldson Cumberland, RI 7-6(5), 6-1
Boys’ 18 Doubles (Second Round)
Milen Ianakiev / Santiago Munoz def. Jack Murray / Bayo Philips 6-4, 6-1
Brendan McClain / Thomas Pura def. Charles Boyce / Ronnie Schneider 1-6, 6-4, 10-3
Carter Lin / Mohd Merzuki (8) def. Robbie Bellamy / Gregory Garcia 7-5, 6-0
M. Mackenzie. McDonald / Trey Strobel (2) def. Maxx Lipman / John Richmond 6-4, 6-2
Alexios Halebian / Mitchell Krueger (1) def. Justin Butsch / Michael Mmoh 6-4, 6-2
Thomas Colautti / Josh Hagar def. Eduardo Bringold / Ivar Contreras 6-1, 6-3
Thai Kwiatkowski / Martin Redlicki (5) def. Jose Pablo Gil / Federico Ruiz Acevedo 6-3, 6-3
Lucas Gomez / Ricardo Medinilla (4) def. Ernesto Escobedo / Javier Restrepo 1-6, 7-6(2), 10-2
Boys’ 16 Singles (Round of 16)
Connor Hance Torrance, CA def. Ruadhan de Bruges (1) Cherrybrook, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3
Jake Devine Boca Raton, FL def. Yancy Dennis Reisterstown, MD 6-0, 6-2
Aidan Jiang Ojai, CA def. Christian Langmo (6) Boca Raton, FL 7-6(3), 6-4
Sameer Kumar Carmel, IN def. Jean Thirouin Houston, TX 6-3, 6-2
Robert Levine Bedford, NY def. Alexandru Gozun (4) Sarasota, FL 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-2
Roman Safiullin San Diego, CA def. William Blumberg Greenwich, CT 6-4, 6-1
Logan Smith Carlsbad, CA def. Tommy Paul Deerfield Beach, FL 6-3, 6-3
Francis Tiafoe College Park, MD def. German Aragon Chula Vista, CA 6-2, 4-6, 6-0
Boys’ 16 Doubles (Second Round)
Tommy Paul / Aron Pierce (3) def. German Aragon / Riley Smith 1-6, 6-0, 10-0
Artemie Amari / Alex Rybakov (1) def. Oscar Janglin / Stephen Madonia 6-1, 6-2
Carsten Fisher / Anudeep Kodali def. Aidan Jiang / Fabian Schaefer (6) 4-6, 6-3, 10-5
Jake Devine / Nathan Ponwith def. Steven Chen / Michael Nguyen (8) 7-5, 6-2
Yancy Dennis / Francis Tiafoe def. Kial Kaiser / Logan Smith (7) 7-5, 3-6, 10-7
Darius MacKenzie / Keivon Tabrizi def. Kevin Lam / Ruadhan de Bruges (2) 6-2, 6-4
Augustus Ge / Jean Thirouin def. Nikolas Ramadan / Nikola Samardzic (5) 6-1, 6-2
Sameer Kumar / Christian Langmo (4) def. Kimo Barrere / Garrett Mak 6-3, 6-2
Girls’ 18 Singles (Second Round)
Blair Shankle Comfort, TX def. Kendal Woodard Stockbridge, GA 6-2, 6-0
Christina Makarova (6) San Diego, CA def. Alexandra Morozova Plantation, FL 6-2, 6-1
Stephanie Nauta Bradenton, FL def. Desirae Krawczyk Rancho Mirage, CA 6-3, 6-2
Taylor Townsend (1) Stockbridge, GA def. Breaunna Addison Lake Worth, FL 6-3, 6-3
Mayo Hibi Irvine, CA def. Nadia Echeverria Alam Doral, FL 7-6(4), 2-0 Ret (inj)
Alexandra Kiick (7) Plantation, FL def. Jana McCord San Diego, CA 6-0, 6-1
Caroline Doyle San Francisco, CA def. Victoria Rodriguez Mercedes, TX 6-3, 6-4
June Lee West Windsor, NJ def. Catherine Harrison Germantown, TN 2-6, 7-5, 6-2
Chalena Scholl (3) Pompano Beach, FL def. Usue Arconada Rio Piedras, PR 6-1, 6-1
Mia King Cornelius, NC def. Rebecca Weissmann Loveland, CO 6-7(4), 6-1, 6-3
Alicia Blacker Englewood, CO def. Kelsey Laurente Miramar, FL 6-3, 6-1
Gabrielle Andrews (4) Pomona, CA def. Eden Silva Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 6-0, 6-0
Makenzie Craft Frisco, TX def. Samantha Crawford (5) Tamarac, FL 7-6(4), 6-3
Kyle McPhillips (2) Willoughby, OH def. Alyssa Smith Laguna Niguel, CA 2-6, 7-5, 6-0
Jennifer Brady (8) Boca Raton, FL def. Denise Starr Brooklyn, NY 7-5, 6-3
Belinda Bencic Bradenton, FL def. Brooke Austin Indianapolis, IN 6-4, 6-3
Girls’ 18 Doubles (Second Round)
Kristina Chasovskikh / Jacqueline Zuhse def. Caroline Doyle / Mia King 6-3, 2-6, 10-7
Stephanie Nauta / Chalena Scholl (2) def. Breaunna Addison / Catherine Harrison 6-2, 6-1
Kelsey Laurente / Alexandra Morozova (8) def. Mayci Jones / Cassidy Spearman 6-2, 7-5
Jennifer Brady / Kendal Woodard (6) def. Dasha Ivanova / Jamie Loeb 6-4, 6-2
Alexandra Kiick / Ayaka Okuno (3) def. Belinda Bencic / eden silva 6-2, 6-2
Louisa Chirico / Blair Shankle def. Alicia Blacker / Johnnise Renaud (7) 6-3, 2-6, 10-8
Gabrielle Andrews / Taylor Townsend (1) def. Christina Makarova / Kimberly Yee 6-1, 6-1
Samantha Crawford / Josie Kuhlman (4) def. Usue Arconada / Marie Norris 6-2, 6-3
Girls’ 16 Singles (Round of 16)
Jessica Ho Wexford, PA def. Terri Fleming Alpharetta, GA 6-0, 6-0
Emma Higuchi Los Angeles, CA def. Mary Haffey (8) Naples, FL 6-1, 6-1
Raquel Pedraza Claremont, CA def. Meredith Xepoleas Huntington Beach, CA 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-4
Kaitlyn McCarthy (5) Cary, NC def. Ellie Zogg Dallas, TX 6-3, 6-3
Dominique Schaefer Ventura, CA def. Emma Critser Mountain View, CA 6-4, 2-6, 6-4
Jada Hart Colton, CA def. Mira Ruder-Hook Denver, CO 6-4, 6-1
Nicole Frenkel (1) Winchester, MA def. Ndindi Ndunda Burke, VA 6-3, 7-6(9)
Andie Daniell Douglasville, GA def. Bianca Moldovan Livonia, MI 6-2, 7-6(3)
Girls’ 16 Doubles (Second Round)
Nicole Frenkel / Ndindi Ndunda (1) def. Adorabol Huckleby / Bianca Moldovan 6-4, 0-6, 10-6
Hadley Berg / Isabella Heidenreich def. Caroline Turner / Ellie Zogg (5) 2-6, 7-6(2), 10-6
Yuki Asami / Ilana Oleynik def. Terri Fleming / Olivia Myers (4) 6-3, 6-1
Madison Tedford / Camila Wesbrooks (8) def. Amber Park / Meredith Xepoleas 7-5, 4-6, 13-11
Kenadi Hance / Alexis Pereira def. Stephanie Hazell / Ally Miller-Krasilnikov (6) 6-4, 6-4
Andie Daniell / Karina Traxler (3) def. Caroline Dolehide / Samantha Martinelli 6-3, 6-1
Kareena Manji / Kaitlyn McCarthy (7) def. Christine Maddox / Annika Ringblom 6-2, 6-2
Natalie Da Silveira / Ena Shibahara def. Savannah Durkin / Mary Haffey (2) 6-0, 2-6, 10-6
In the middle of a Memphis Tennis couch potato weekend in February, I got pretty excited watching a Tennis Channel advert for the 1-2-3 Tennis Tee, so I had one delivered. I could improve my swing. I could finally get the backhand right!
The tee arrived in a 6-foot long box, and when I took it out to assemble it, I realized that it is a Do-It-Yourselfer’s dream. Almost every part of the device’s simple yet clever construction is composed of things you could buy in a hardware or fishing tackle store. For the price, about $100 shipped, you’d drive yourself crazy trying to build your own version.
Six PVC tubes and a swing-pivot arm is what you get. You also get 3 balls with velcro tabs already stuck on and about 30 velcro tabs that you can attach to (almost) any tennis ball. The whole apparatus seemed flimsy and shaky when I put it together. In fact, I thought the written assembly instructions were so minimal that I was worried that I would build it backwards. Yet, after about 60 seconds, it was built. The color-coded (by hand) pieces snap together so quickly and easily that you thank god that IKEA never got ahold of this project. I felt like I knew what I was doing. It’s good practice to assemble the tee, because if you plan to trot it out to a local court, it is awfully cumbersome. You will need to assemble/dissemble it each time you use it if you’re taking it with you. That might be the biggest downside of all for the tee. After testing it on the court, you learn how to field-strip it in less than 30 seconds. That still leaves the problem of carrying the dissembled tee to your car.
If you live in a dry climate where you can permanently leave it assembled outdoors, or if you have a big basement rec room, those would be ideal situations. If you live in a narrow, urban setting, it’s just too big for permanent interior setup, especially with the ‘swingspan’ of a child or adult.
On the court, it is not flimsy at all. It can take a hard ball hit without swaying. When I first took it to the court in the video, you might be able to notice that it is missing a piece which I left at home. I was so mad and I didn’t feel like loading my daughter, the tennis tee and our bag of balls and sticks back into the station wagon. So, I decided to just give it a try. As you can see in the video, the missing base support didn’t seem to make a bit of difference for Annabel.
While I didn’t fall in love with it for my game, this thing is a kid’s best friend. I tired of retrieving and setting balls to hit for myself, but I found that it was not a bother to continually set it up for my very eager three-year old daughter. The tee has three retractable fishing lines with velcro ends which attach to three velcro-enabled tennis balls. The retractable lines are weighted to a standard tennis ball. You pull the ball (with the line now attached by the velcro straps to the ball) down to your desired strike height, and then begin your battery of shots. As an adult, the ball will tear off the velcro and the line with even a weak shot. That is not the case for kids. You really have to work with this product to find the sweet spot of pulling the velcro partially off the ball for kids to be able to hit the ball cleanly off the line every time. Otherwise, a hanging ball will inevitably tangle with another ball on the line and hilarity ensues.
The caveat for kids use is that the lines are weighted to a standard tennis ball, as mentioned above. That means that the use of Quikstart balls on the tee require an abundance of trial and error with smaller bits of velcro attached to the upper level QS balls (Red/Yellow, Orange/Yellow) and no ability to use the QS foam balls for the youngest players. The foams balls are simply too lightweight to be able to be pulled down to the wheelhouse of the youngest players due to string tension.
As I already mentioned, as an adult, I didn’t like having to retrieve and line-set the balls for my own use after a few hits. I derive nearly the same pleasure hitting against a wall. But it was a completely different story for my daughter.
For once, she got to do tennis on her own terms. Being able to swat the ball in her 3-year-old wheel house when she was ready seemed to make tennis alot more fun for her. By the time she hit her tenth sortie of balls from the tee, her form looked much improved from ten minutes before. I’m referring to the last balls she hits in the above video.
The most impressive thing about the product is that my daughter asks to play more tennis now. She likens the entire game to hitting from the tee and likes helping me put the tee together, too (“The blue dot goes with the blue dot.”). Anything that keeps kids on the court longer is worth its weight in something immensely more expensive than PVC pipe. For kids alone, this product is gold.