It was a perfect day in College Park for the Junior Tennis Champions Center’s 11th annual Free Tennis Day. As a connoisseur of Kids Days, if there is such a thing, I particularly enjoyed this one. This was a Kids Day with a twist. There was no moon bounce and no face painting going on here. This was the real deal.
You’re not just having fun, kids.
You’re being watched. And timed. And measured.
If you’re a tennis parent who even once fantasized about your 4 year old playing college tennis someday, this was your kind of Kids and Parents Day. Mine slept on the ride from Baltimore to the JTCC and woke up on the wrong side of the car seat. She was #48 and she defaulted when she demanded to be carried in from the car. Annabel settled on hitting solo against the wall.
There were over 350 people on hand for the event and at least 125 kids participating. Over the next two weeks, the JTCC’s coaching staff will deliberate over the participant’s performances. 20 of the entrants will receive offers for summer camp scholarships and one will receive a scholarship into the Junior Tennis Champions Center. Remember, this is the same event where today’s Tallahassee Champion Denis Kudla was ‘discovered’ 10 years ago ‘on this very night’, and you begin to understand the allure of this free-for-all event. It’s democracy in action in tennis.
The most unusual part of the day occurred when Slice, the Ms. Pac-Man of the Washington Kastles, was spontaneously attacked by children in an impromptu and slightly-frightening display. By the time the cameras (camera) got there, the little ones had switched to fists from racquets. Slice took it in all stride and has a bright future in elected office. Anyone who can take that kind of feedback at a Town Hall meeting and shake it all off is a lock for Congress.
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
Washington Kastles to be Honored by D.C. Mayor and City – Monday, October 22
Proclamation proclaims defending champions “the best of the city”
World TeamTennis (WTT) champions Washington Kastles will be honored by the District of Columbia on Monday, October 22 in recognition of their historic, second consecutive championship season. Mayor Vincent Gray will present a proclamation to the undefeated team at 12:30 p.m. on the steps of the Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Fans are invited to join the festivities as the Kastles provide complimentary championship gear, entertainment and fare.
The Kastles won their third WTT title in four years in September, posting a perfect 16-0 season for a second straight year. It is the only time a professional sports team has had back-to-back undefeated seasons, and the Kastles two perfect seasons are the only ones in the 37 years history of World TeamTennis. The Kastles’ current 32-match winning streak puts the team one win away from tying the all-time unbeaten professional sports streak of 33 wins set by the NBA’s 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers. This is the fourth time the Kastles have been recognized by the District of Columbia.
WASHINGTON, D.C. WOMEN’S TENNIS TEAM CROWNED NATIONAL
CHAMPIONS AT USTA LEAGUE 5.0 ADULT NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
With the Nationals going to the Major League Baseball playoffs, the WTT’s Kastles approaching legendary LA Lakers-like greatness, the Redskins addition of Robert Griffin III at quarterback and the NHL’s Capitals perennial playoff runs, should it come as any surprise that D.C. has done it again? –Ed.
INDIAN WELLS, CALIF., SEPT. 30, 2012 – The women’s tennis team from Washington, D.C., representing the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section, captured the national title at the USTA League 5.0 Adult National Championships held at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, Calif.
The Washington, D.C. team defeated a team from Sacramento, Calif., 2-1 in the Championship match. On Saturday afternoon, the Washington, D.C. team defeated a team from Greenwood Village, Colo., 2-1 in the semifinals. They advanced this far by winning their round-robin flight contested Friday and Saturday.
The team is captained by Tanja Magoc and features Zsofia Jakab, Lyndall Jordan, Marianne Baker, Alicia Wise and plays at the Hains Point Tennis Club.
The top four teams in order of finish are: Mid-Atlantic, Northern California, Southern California and Intermountain.
This year’s USTA League 5.0 Adult National Championship has drawn the top 27 teams (15 men’s and 12 women’s) from throughout the nation.
This year marks the 32nd anniversary of USTA League. Since its inception in 1980, it has grown from 13,000 participants in its first year, to over 835,000 players across the nation today, making it the world’s largest recreational tennis league.
USTA League was established to provide adult recreational tennis players throughout the country with the opportunity to compete against players of similar ability levels. Players participate on teams in a league format, which is administered by the USTA through its 17 Sections. The league groups players by using six National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP) levels, ranging from 2.5 (entry) to 5.0 (advanced). USTA League is open to any USTA member 18 years of age or older. It features Adult and Mixed Doubles divisions, as well as a Senior Division (age 50 or older) and a Super Senior Division (age 60 or older).
For the 2013 National Championship season, USTA League is changing its structure and format. The change will allow USTA League participants among three age categories (Adult 18 & Over, Adult 40 & Over and Adult 55 & Over and Mixed 18 & Over) to better align participants with players their own age. The restructuring guarantees more frequency of play opportunities at more appropriate age divisions.
Head Penn Racquet Sports is in its 25th year as official ball of USTA League.
Washington Kastles Win Eastern Conference Championship And Push Streak To 31 Matches Defending champions outlast New York Sportimes for fourth time this year, head to finals
CHARLESTON, S.C. – September 15, 2012 – Defending World Team Tennis champions Washington Kastles defeated their arch-rival, the New York Sportimes, 19-15 in the WTT Eastern Conference final, propelling the team into Sunday’s championship match for the second consecutive year and extending the team’s historic win streak to 31 matches.
With the match tied and one set remaining, four-time Olympic gold medalist Venus Williams blasted her way past Ashley Harkleroad 5-1 in women’s singles to clinch a spot for the Kastles in the WTT Finals for the third time in four years.
“We’ve been in this situation before and we knew how to win. There was a lot of pressure on us, but we just knew we had to put the ball in play and go for the shot,” said Venus Williams. “It shows why we are a great team.”
The arch-rival Sportimes had been the Kastles’ toughest opponent during the regular season, including a thrilling 21-20 Washington win on July 21, when Venus Williams rallied from six games down in the final set to complete the franchise’s largest comeback ever.
Next up is the Western Conference champion Sacramento Capitals. They defeated the Orange County Breakers 25-15 on Friday to advance to the WTT championship match. The Kastles defeated Sacramento 21-19 on July 18.
In posting 31 straight victories, the Kastles have the second-longest winning streak in major U.S. professional sports history and are within range of the 33-game streak by the NBA’s 1971-1972 Los Angeles Lakers. They have already passed the respective records of 17 straight wins set by the NHL Pittsburgh Penguins in 1992-1993, 21 straight wins by the NFL’s New England Patriots in 2003 and 2004, and 26 wins by the 1916 MLB New York Giants.
This year’s 14-0 regular season by the Kastles marked the first time in major U.S. professional sports history in which a team has had consecutive unbeaten regular seasons. Last season, in addition to winning a second WTT title in three years, the Kastles posted a perfect 16-0 record – a first in WTT history.
Kastles’ closer Bobby Reynolds was named the 2012 WTT Male Most Valuable Player. Kastles’ Coach Murphy Jensen was selected as 2012 Coach of the Year, the second straight season he has won that honor.
The 37th WTT regular season ran July 9-28. The championship is being played this year in September to accommodate players who participated in the Olympics and US Open.
Vania King is always volunteering to do things for people. She eagerly gives autographs, sings the national anthem at the US Open and Dodgers games and hangs draw picks with an enthusiasm not witnessed by many. So it was that I watched her play the straight with Mark Knowles as the foil at CitiOpen’s Pro-Am two weeks ago. MC Wayne Bryan got Mark Knowles and Vania King to engage in a DC Idol contest.
Knowlzee is Bahamian. Even if you add two points to his score for the non-citizen handicap, that leaves him with a 3.
He can play some mean drums, though.
Count me as a new fan of Vania King’s youtube channel. She’s apparently taking requests now, and I thought she nailed “Beauty and the Beast” to the point that Walt Disney and Angela Lansbury would be proud. For the next remake of the classic, Vania should be a shoo-in for Belle and Knowles might end up making a fine Beast.
Orange Crush: Simone Kalhorn and Alessondra Parra CitiOpen Interview
Steve Fogleman, TennisEastCoast.com
I seem to have good luck with losing players agreeing to give me an interview. Under the rules of the tour, only a defeated player may decline to speak with a reporter after a match. Maybe that makes me a “Lucky Loser”. It was a pleasant surprise that Syracuse University products Simone Kalhorn and Alessondra Parra agreed to talk after losing in singles and doubles matches at CitiOpen in Washington on Monday. Parra’s a DC-area native, while Kalhorn is Coloradan.
How do you keep the focus?
SK: It’s always about having a positive attitude because that’s always going to pull you through. It’s about being mentally tough. It’s obviously tough to lose, but I’ll get better.
What did you get out of your Syracuse tennis education to take on the WTA tour?
AP: I think attitude, like Simone said, was number one. Coach Jensen has one of the most amazing attitudes in tennis you can find. But it’s also about bringing out the pleasure of playing every single time you’re out there. Win or lose, it’s about the challenge of competing and finding so much joy in competing. That’s what I got out of my experience there.
How long have you been a doubles team?
AP: Four years. We played on and off in college. Every single time that we’ve played (doubles) after college, we’ve played together.
Simone, you didn’t look as happy on the courts in Charleston as you have here. Does having your doubles partner and friend around make it better?
SK: I mean, she is a pleasure to be around…
You were a little outgunned in the first set, but pulled it together in the second set today against (semi-finalists) Kai-Chen Chang and Shuko Aoyoma?
AP: I think we made a little too many errors todays, especially serve and return errors, basic stuff. I think we did a good job closing at the net. I didn’t necessarily think we were outgunned. They got the ball back more than we did. They were a more consistent team than we were, and they won.
What’s next after Dallas doubles and singles?
AP: We’re probably not going to be able to do US Open qualies, because our ranking’s not high enough. If the opportunity arises, we’ll be there in a second.
Any chance to catch the Olympics?
AP: I just scroll through my twitter feed and feel like I’ve watched the whole thing. Someone’s like “Liezel Huber is yelling GO USA really obnoxiously”. It’s hillarious. Twitter is really keeping me updated, so I don’t need to watch it. But going to the Olympics would be a dream come true.
SK: I’ve been living it vicariously through Alessondra.
Don’t forget to follow @SimoneOrange and @AlessondraParra on Twitter.
2012 CitiOpen Exclusive Interview: Melanie Oudin on US Open Mixed Doubles Co-Champion Jack Sock, Her Fans
2012 CitiOpen Exclusive Interview: Melanie Oudin on US Open Mixed Doubles Co-Champion Jack Sock, Her Fans
Steve Fogleman, TennisEastCoast.com
Despite losing to Aravane Rezai in three sets in first round singles and losing in doubles in a third set super break, Melanie Oudin was still in good spirits as she prepared to depart from the CitiOpen in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday night. After I saw Jack Sock get strong support from the Atlanta crowd at the Australian Open Wild Card Playoffs last December, I wondered if she had anything to do with that.
What is it like to have made Jack Sock an Atlanta celebrity?
He loves the attention. He’s like the new kid on the block. Last year, he finished high school, went on to win Kalamazoo, then got a main draw wild card in the US Open, won a round and got to play Andy Roddick. I mean, he was on Cloud 9. I think he made a great first impression on the crowd, especially at the US Open. I think when you make a great first impression, you gain fans automatically. Especially if you play on Arthur Ashe. Also, he and I were playing together. I know there were a lot of people from Atlanta who went to the Open and saw us play in the mixed doubles. I think he definitely gained some of my fans, also.
How do you cope with all the attention you get at these US tournaments?
It’s really funny. I was just in Europe for a while. Some people know me, but it’s not like the States. It hasn’t been like this for a while. But being here in DC, I don’t know if they advertised me coming here a lot, but whenever I’m walking or even going to watch a match, everyone is coming over. “Oh, There’s Melanie! There’s Melanie! Can we get a picture? Can we get an autograph?”. I’m like “Sure, it’s no problem!”. It’s funny to me. I’ve started to do better again and it really means a lot that the fans I had in 2009 have really stuck with me the last couple of years and are still supporting me.
2012 CitiOpen Interview: Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova
Steve Fogleman, TennisEastCoast.com
Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova, a doubles specialist with 17 doubles titles, is a lion on the court. She’ll also try to defend her only singles title at Quebec City after the US Open. After watching her argue calls with the Chair while banging her racquet against the metal net post in a first round singles loss to Edina Gallovits-Hall at CitiOpen on Monday, I wasn’t even sure I’d get an interview with her. Not only did I get an interview, I got the serene, happy off-court version of the woman tennis fanatics call BZS.
You had 76% of your first serves as winners in the second set. What happened in the third?
Really? It didn’t feel like it! I wasn’t playing so good the whole match. I was really tight. I was not playing my best. The third set was so fast to Love-2. I played pretty good, but she passed me at the net. I didn’t really believe that I can pull it through.
On opponent Edina Gallovits-Hall:
She’s a tricky player. She puts every ball in the court and you have to be really focused and you have to play really aggressive. That’s what I was trying to do, but if you don’t believe that you can do it, it’s tough to win the matches.
Your doubles partner, Iveta Benesova, is also in singles in DC. Why aren’t you two playing in doubles?
We’re not playing because we’re playing in Montreal next week in qualies. We don’t want to miss the qualies. We were thinking if we play doubles (here), maybe we could go through! That’s why we aren’t playing here.
What do you think of Washington, despite losing your match to a member of the Washington Kastles?
I was thinking about it. It doesn’t feel like I’m in the States. It’s feels so clean. It reminds me of Europe a lot. It’s nice! I didn’t see much, but I went to the White House. The White House looks so small. On pictures, it looks really big, but if you go there and you see it, it’s small.
I interviewed Andrea Hlavackova recently and she talked about your shared home town of Plzen. What are your thoughts on Plzen?
Well, we grew up together. Her father is the one who is tasting the beer and sending it into the world. I love my hometown. It’s a small city and everybody knows each other. I grew up there and I think I’m going to stay there for the rest of my life.
How neat is it to be able to see Pilsner Urquell, your hometown’s famous beer, where ever you are in the world?
It’s great and if I order it, it reminds me of Plzen. It reminds me of home. The beer is unbelievable. I love it. I like to drink beer. Surprise! At least something is in the world that reminds me of home, because I’m never home.
Like the pop quiz I gave to Andrea Hlavackova in Charleston, do you know the four ingredients in beer?
Yeah, but I don’t know the words in English!
I’m sure you’re looking forward to the U.S. Open, having made the doubles quarterfinals there last year.
I’m looking forward, but I still have more tournaments to go before the US Open.
I love New York. My favorite city. I would live there, but we’ll see! I’m going to focus on my singles first.
Montreal, Dallas, Flushing Meadows and Quebec are the next stops on Barbora’s North American summer tour.