July 28th, 2016

Tennis Briefs(5): Junior News, Father-Son Winners, USTA National Campus, More

General News Adult Tennis News Junior Tournaments Youth Tennis News

1st USTA National Father-Son Tennis Title a Moving Experience for Lakes of Davie, Fla.


Andy Lake of Davie, Fla., has won 33 USTA Gold Balls, but last weekend’s was one of the most meaningful of his career — one with his 15-year-old son.

Lake and his son Thomas captured their first USTA national title at the USTA National Father-Son Grass Court Championships, held July 18-20, 2016, at the Longwood Cricket Club in Chestnut Hill, Mass.

The No. 4-seeded Lakes came out on top of a 63-team field, in the final defeating a tandem they had lost to in the finals of the  national father-son indoors, top-seeded Brett and Jerry Morse-Karzen of Wilmette, Ill., 7-6(6), 2-6, 7-5.

“Our experiences have been unreal,” Andy said. “On the last day of the tournament we won both the semis and the finals in long, three-set matches, beating the second and first seeds, respectively. Out of all the gold balls I’ve won other than my first — which, ironically was a father-son that I won with my own dad back in 1995 — I would trade them all for this one that I just won with Thomas. There is nothing like playing with your son.”

LakesThe teenage Thomas had never played on grass until last year’s grass court nationals.

“The father-son national grass courts are always a blast,” he said. “It’s a great tournament that is such a wonderful experience. It’s strange to play on grass, it’s a complete different game out there. It is really memorable to win our first USTA Gold Ball on the grass.”

The pair lost no more than a game a set through the first three rounds, then in the semifinals rallied from a set down to defeat the No. 2-seeded Peter and Colter Smith of Long Beach, Calif.

Father Andy said he most enjoys, besides the title, the learning opportunities and camaraderie provided by the tournament experience.

“Especially at such a young age, and at such a high level — I can’t put it in words,” he says. “Playing with me and being surrounded by great players who compete, and then right after the match go out to dinner and talk about tennis, competition, family, life — to me, this is what it’s all about. We realize how lucky we are to be able to share this experience with one another. And I think it’s the best thing for Thomas’ tennis development. The father-son tournaments teach these kids to play hard, to learn to lose but be a champ anyway — regardless of the outcome.”

Lake and his wife Kristen have two other tennis-playing children, daughters Tanner (22) and Evan (19). In 2004 Andy Lake was honored by the USTA at the US Open for being the first player to complete a “Gold Slam” in the Men’s 30s division, winning all four USTA national age-division titles on hard court, clay, grass and indoor in the same year.

For complete USTA National Father-Son Grass Court Championships tournament results go to http://tennislink.usta.com/tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=172293.

Slain Tennis Students Receive Memorial Scholarship in Jacksonville

keshell and keyonna brownThe MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation, an official USTA Florida Community Tennis Association, has announced the Keshell & Keyonna Brown Memorial Scholarship in remembrance of two slain after-school program students, and to raise awareness of their unsolved murders.

Both sisters, age 21 and 22, were brutally murdered, along with two young men, the night of Nov. 7, 2013 in the Murray Hill area of Jacksonville, Fla. The two were part of the original class of the MWYF TnT (Tennis & Tutoring) after-school program located in the Jacksonville urban core community of Durkeeville, joining the program when they were in the 2nd and 3rd grades respectively.

“Their deaths greatly impacted the organization and our staff, and it is our hope that this scholarship will help keep their memories alive,” says Terri Florio, executive director of MWYF.

There have been no arrests to date, and it is hoped the publicity surrounding the scholarship will continue to shed light on the case.

The Keshell & Keyonna Brown Memorial Scholarship is an opportunity for female students of the MWYF program in grades 8-11. Qualifications include maintaining a 3.0 GPA and a community service component which includes mentoring a younger student in the TnT program.

In this the scholarship’s inaugural year, a total of $10,000 was awarded to three deserving female students: Brittany Evans (senior at Darnell), ShaTeria Davis (sophomore at Paxon), and Mauricia Brown (freshman at Raines). All three recipients will mentor a younger student in the program in the coming 2016-2017 school year.

This scholarship is fully funded by the MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation.

The MWYF promotes academic achievement and uses tennis to engage students in an active and fun youth development program. The flagship program, TnT (Tennis-n-Tutoring), is a comprehensive five-day-per-week after-school program which includes tennis lessons, daily homework assistance and life skills classes to Jacksonville’s most under-served youth. The mission of the MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation is to develop champions in classrooms, on tennis courts and throughout communities.

For more info go to www.malwashington.com.

Florida’s Meyer Claims Silver Ball at USTA Girls 18s Clay Courts

By Colette Lewis, zootennis.com

MeyerUSTAFlaAmanda Meyer spent the week of her 17th birthday in the oppressive heat and humidity of Memphis, Tenn., competing in the USTA Girls 18s Clay Court Championships. Her belated gift to herself was a first-ever finals appearance at a USTA Level 1 event, and she returned to Delray Beach last Sunday with a silver ball for her efforts.

Meyer, a No. 9 seed, defeated No. 3 seed Meible Chi of Weston in the round of 16, 7-6(6), 4-6, 6-4 in one of the tournament’s most memorable matches, which took just under four hours to complete. Meyer’s unseeded quarterfinal opponent retired with an injury after one set, and in the semifinals, she handled Isabella Lorenzini, another No. 9 seed, in straight sets to reach the final against No. 4 seed Ann Li.

“I love the clay,” said Meyer, who won the USTA Florida “Bobby Curtis” Junior State Singles Championship in the girls’ 18s division on the same Har-Tru surface last month. “It’s my favorite surface. I was beyond excited to come here, and I’m just happy to play on this surface.”

In the final against the 16-year-old Li, Meyer battled to force a third set, but fell behind 2-0 when play resumed after a 10-minute break.

“In the third set I came out with a little too much adrenaline,” said Meyer, who trains under Mandy Wilson at the Evert Tennis Academy in Boca Raton. “I hit the ball a little too hard, my mind was in overdrive.”

Meyer recovered, drawing even at 4-4, but serving down 4-5 in the third set, she couldn’t convert her game point at 40-30 and Li won that point and the next two, with the match ending on Meyer’s double fault.

“I was able to savor almost all of the points,” said Meyer, who had vowed she would after winning her semifinal match. “Except for maybe the double fault at the end. These are the types of matches that make me a better player, and I’ve got to keep that in mind. Not to be too upset — it’s the finals — I went a long way to get here, and overall I’m very happy. I’m upset that I lost, of course. I’ll come out of this tournament a better player and a better person.”

Meyer, a five-star recruit in the Tennis Recruiting Network’s class of 2017, said she is still considering her college options, and is hoping to complete her official visits by the end of the year.

Bradenton’s Osuigwe Named to 14-Under USTA World Junior Tennis Team

Whitney Osuigwe

Whitney Osuigwe

Fourteen-year-old Whitney Osuigwe of Bradenton, Fla., was named to the U.S. World Junior Tennis girls’ team that will compete at the World Junior Tennis Finals, the world’s premier 14-and-under team competition, on Aug. 1-6, 2016 in Prostejov, Czech Republic.

Six of America’s top 14-and-under juniors in all will compete on the boys’ and girls’ teams for the U.S. Each three-player team will compete with 15 other nations from around the world, first in round-robin matches, then in a knockout bracket.

Joining Osuigwe (coached by Desmond Osuigwe) on the girls’ team will be Alexa Noel (13, Summit, N.J.; coaches: Frank Salazar, Vesa Ponkka), Vanessa Ong (14, Oklahoma City; coach: Jenny Marcos), and USTA National Coach Jean Desdunes.

The boys’ team will be comprised of Faris Khan (14, New Braunfels, Texas; coach: Shariq Khan), Zane Khan (14, New Braunfels, Texas; coach: Shariq Khan), Stefan Leustian (14, Mather, Calif.; coach: Vitaly Gorin), and USTA National Coach Eric Nunez.

Osuigwe reached the final of the USTA Girls’ 16s national hard court championship last summer and made singles final and semifinal appearances at two ITF junior tournaments this May in Plantation and Delray Beach, Fla.

The U.S. girls finished second and the boys third at last year’s World Junior Tennis Finals. The U.S. has won six World Junior Tennis girls’ titles (1992, ’07-10, ’13) and four World Junior Tennis boys’ titles (2002-03, ’08, ’12). Former U.S. junior international team members include Jim Courier, Andy Roddick, James Blake, Lindsay Davenport, and Sloane Stephens. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic have also represented their respective countries in junior international team competition.

For more tournament info go to www.itftennis.com/juniors/team-competitions/itf-world-junior-tennis.aspx.

St. Pete’s Woods Named Director of Tennis at New USTA National Campus in Orlando

Kathy-Woods-164x164Kathy Woods has been named director of tennis, leading and overseeing all programming and activities at the new USTA National Campus in Orlando with a focus to drive participation.

Woods will provide overall direction and supervision for clinics, private lessons, court bookings, camps, and small groups to ensure the teaching experience is at the highest standard of excellence. Additionally, she will develop programs that will engage other Central Florida pros and allow them to utilize the Campus with their students.

“Kathy will be an invaluable addition to our team and the new home for American tennis,” said Tim Cass, general manager, USTA National Campus. “Kathy is highly respected in the tennis industry and brings a wealth of tennis experience to the USTA National Campus.”

Prior to joining the USTA, Woods served as the director of tennis at the Racquet Club of St. Petersburg (Fla.) since 2004. Previously, she managed tennis programs in several communities, including Princeton, N.J.; Key Biscayne, Fla.; and Westport, Conn. From 1994-1996, Woods served as president of the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA), the first and only woman to hold this position. In 1997, she was awarded the Tennis Educational Merit Award from the International Tennis Hall of Fame for outstanding service at the national level.

The USTA National Campus will be the epicenter of innovation for the sport of tennis, as well as for training and developing the next generation of tennis players, officials, and industry professionals. A model tennis facility, the USTA National Campus, expected to open in January 2017, will feature 100 tennis courts.

Open to the public, the USTA National Campus will be able to accommodate every type of tennis competition and program, from youth tennis events to age-based national championships. Collegiate tennis will be a staple, with the USTA National Campus serving as the home of the University of Central Florida’s men’s and women’s tennis teams, as well as hosting collegiate tournaments.

The USTA’s Community Tennis and Player Development divisions, which focus on strengthening the game’s grassroots and developing the next generation of American champions, will also be housed on the site, incorporating the latest technology and equipment to assist with advanced training techniques, sports science, coaching education and improved athletic performance.

For more info go to www.usta.com/news.