1. to share MORE good news about our youth with other young people, parents, grandparents, coaches, educators, tennis teaching professionals, friends and with persons who support tennis in our state with their time, finances, and love for this great game.
2. to help build a more cohesive, unified youth/junior tennis support network.
You are encouraged to forward this newsletter!
What will it take for this effort to become a success?
Your participation! As editor/publisher I will need for you to become a “Partner,” sending your success stories, photos, upcoming scheduled events, fund raisers, etc. Also, your suggestions, thoughts, and ideas of how, together, we can build a more cohesive, unified youth/junior support system.
BC. How old were you when you began playing tennis?
CB. I first got out on the court at the age of 4 years old. I would join my mom and big brother when they went to play. I didn’t start taking lessons until 6 years old and then started playing tournaments at age 9.
Who inspired you to play and to love the game of tennis?
Since the beginning, I was on the court with my mom. She has definitely been my inspiration to play tennis and to love the game as much as I do.
I have never loved the game more than I do now playing at the University of Georgia. And I owe a lot of that to my mom who pushed me to fulfill my dream of playing there.
You were reared in a tennis playing family. Will you please tell us about this upbringing and how it has influenced your life?
From a young age, my parents had both my brother and I involved in many different sports. I remember my favorites being swimming, soccer, and tennis. Eventually, I decided to choose one to become more serious about, and I think my mom was very relieved when I chose tennis! Haha.
My family would often go out to New Orleans Country Club on the weekends and we would play doubles- just the 4 of us. I remember my dad saying, “let’s just have fun!” But, it became competitive quickly if my mom and I were on opposite sides of the net. These were some of my favorite memories- just playing together as a family.
What was your first competitive tournament? Please share your experiences in Junior Tennis?
I believe my very first tournaments in the 10 and Under age group were close to home at places like The Beach Club and Bocage in Baton Rouge. Once I became more serious and was competing at a higher level, my mom and I began to travel a lot. Many tournaments I played were held at the Mobile Tennis Center, which was only a 2 ½ hour drive for us, so that was pretty convenient. But some tournaments we traveled as far as Minnesota and California to play. I would have to say my favorite tournament was the National Hardcourts at the end of summer in San Diego, California. Junior Tennis was a really cool experience for me. I was able to build lifelong friendships while working towards my goal of playing college tennis. I owe many thanks to my parents for funding the countless number of tournaments and trips, but it has definitely paid off now.
Who were your early tennis coaches?
My very first lessons were with James Boustany at NOCC. When I got a little older and more serious, I worked with John Bryan at Aurora Country Club on the Westbank. I finally made a move to Franco’s Athletic Club in Mandeville around 7th or 8th grade. I started working with Walker and Ray Sahag there and they are still my coaches today. They really helped take my game to a new level and help push me towards my dream of college tennis. Of course throughout all these years, I have also considered my mom one of my most helpful coaches. She will go out on the court with me whenever I need, and she can always give good feedback on my game because she watches me play my matches.
Where did you attend high school?
I went to the Academy of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans.
You are entering your JUNIOR year at the University of Georgia. What factors led to your decision to attend this University to continue your education and tennis career?
I did not have too much trouble deciding where to take my tennis career in college once I got my dream offer from UGA. The decision started with the coaches, who I knew were both very good people. Jeff Wallace, our head coach, coached my mom here at UGA back in the day. We knew he did things the right way and would have my best interest at heart. Drake Bernstein, now our associate head coach, graduated and finished playing for UGA in 2011 and has been able to bring a young, fresh perspective into the program. He was on a National Championship team and knew what it took to reach that level. These two coaches brought a lot of excitement into my decision, but the team also played a major part of it. Every girl on the team made me feel like I fit right in and was meant to be here. I believe this comes from the unique culture that we have here at the University of Georgia. It is a culture of good people working hard, having fun, and trying their best to do things the right way for the benefit of everybody. That is what pulled me in and still pulls me in today. This January 2016, marks the start of my Junior year at UGA. It is crazy to think I am living my dream, about to start my third season playing here at this amazing university.
What is your major?
I am in the Terry Business School at UGA majoring in Marketing with a minor in Legal Studies.
The University of Georgia is a women’s tennis power. What factors lead to this great success?
(I have previously touched on this when talking about why I chose Georgia), but I believe that our success in such a prestigious program is due to the culture that has been formed by great leaders. Jeff Wallace tops that list as the great leader who has built Georgia Women’s Tennis to be what it is today. Jeff has instilled in every one of his players over the past 31 years that success comes from doing things the right way. If we love what we do, where we do it, and who we do it with…we are making the most of our experience. We strive to be a This is our culture: a culture of excellence, yet we know we must be a culture of continuous improvement.
What are some of your Dawg’s team “highlights” the last three years?
My freshman year, the highlight was our Round of 16 win in NCAA’s against The University of Southern California. The special thing about my freshman year was that our NCAAs were held at home in Athens, Georgia. We have one of the greatest, if not the greatest, tennis facilities in all of college tennis, so everyone loves coming to Athens for the National Championship in May. In that Round of 16 match, we were tied 3-3 and it came down to our Number 1 singles court. Lauren Herring, who graduated last year and is now playing professionally, pulled out one of the toughest battles I have ever seen. We had around 1500 people in our stands, majority pulling for the Dawgs. It was one of the greatest moments ever–running to Lauren on the court–after she won that match to send us into the Quarterfinals.
My sophomore year (last year) the highlight came yet again in the National Championship tournament. This time, although, it was in Waco, Texas at Baylor University. After a few years of not getting past the Quarterfinals in the NCAA Tournament, we broke through to the Final Four by taking down Stanford in a loud, indoor match. It was so much fun being on the court and fighting our hearts out for that win!
This year, although only half way through, my highlight in the fall would have been the Southeast Regional Tournament. Winning this tournament at home in Athens was special to me and having my mom there to see it all was even better. I hope to build off a strong fall season and have more team highlights this Spring!
What racquet do you use? strings? tension? Do you use the same racquet for both singles and doubles?
I use the new Babolat AeroPro Drive, which is black and neon green colored. I use Luxilon 4G as strings (I just made the switch this fall and love it!) Tension is at 54. And yes, I play with the same racquet regardless of singles or doubles until it pops, then it’s time for a new one!
What advice would you give to aspiring young tennis players who desire to play college tennis?
I would say to really enjoy the process, the results will come. Fall in love with learning the game and striving to see improvements. I learned that immediate gratification isn’t what it is all about. It is about putting in hard work day in and day out in practice and when you get out on the court to compete, believing in that work you have put in.
In October you won the USTA/ITA Southeast Region Division 1 singles championship. Please take us through your thought process during the series of matches against highly ranked opponents?
The Regional Tournament was really exciting for me. I went into the tournament confident with how I was playing and believing in myself. I didn’t worry about who I was playing against (their name, their school, their rank, etc.). I knew that anyone could be beaten on any given day, and I trusted my game. In the Round of 16, I beat #5 ranked Josie Kuhlman of Florida in straight sets. That was my biggest win of my career at the time, but I didn’t have much time to think about it. The next day I turned around and played my own teammate, Kennedy Shaffer, and then another Florida Gator, Kourtney Keegan in the Semifinals–both were ranked in the 30’s. Going into the finals, I had another tall task at hand–#6 ranked Stephanie Wagner of Miami. I did not think of a good or bad end result, I did not think of who she was or who she beat or who had beat her before. Instead, I focused on myself and what I needed to do to give myself the best opportunity at winning that championship. Ultimately, I went out there and had the time of my life competing as a Georgia Bulldog!
When back in New Orleans, what are your favorite restaurants to eat?
When I come home, I definitely have to hit some of my favorite spots. The first thing to come to mind would be crawfish! I have always loved seafood, especially growing up in New Orleans, and nowhere does crawfish better than New Orleans! I would say Sal’s Snowballs on Metairie Rd. is a must when I go home for summer. We don’t have snowballs in Georgia haha. Besides those, my mom’s home cooking is what I am always craving the most.
Southern Winter Level 1 Championships Boy and Girls 14 (National L3)
Boys and Girls Singles & Doubles–700013616
A total of 228 of the best players from the Southern states entered this tournament.
Welsh Hotard d. Benjamin Koch 6-3, 4-6, 7-5
Benjamin Koch(Abbeville) & Welsh Hotard(New Orleans) d. Jackson Davis(Little Rock) & Foster Rogers(Little Rock) 8-4
PL-F Zachary Smith(New Orleans) d. Foster Rogers(Little Rock) 6-0,
A total of 257 of the best 18 year old players form the Southern states played in this tournament.
Cotter Wilson reached the Quarterfinals
Cotter Wilson(Shreveport) & Spencer Brown(Spartanburg SC) reached the Semi-finals
Louisiana Junior Tournaments
(Ranked LTA L4 -L-5)
The City Club State Closed Jr. Championship (STA/LTA-L4)
The City Club at River Ranch-Entries close 02-15-2016
YMCA Junior Open (STA-LTA-L5)
Paula G. Manship YMCA-Entries close 02-08-2016
Baton Rouge, LA
Southern Oaks Spring Junior Championship (STA-LTA-L5)
Southern Oaks Athletic Club Entries close 02-22-2016
Baton Rouge, LA
New Orleans Junior Grand Prix #1 Singles
Present by Second Serve
Director: Abrie Du Plooy Referee: Larry Gilmore
Boys: Leo Du Plooy d. Xander Du Plooy 7-5, 6-4
Girls: Grabriella De Pascual d. Sarah Mc Millan 6-4, 6-3
Boys: Edward Stalb d. Ethan Bosch 7-5, 6-3
Girls: Brooke Powers d. Kathryn Brennen 6-3, 3-6, 10-5
Boys: Ethan Lee d. Matthew Armbruster 6-2, 6-1
Girls: Sophia Manuel d. Sophia Lee 6-1, 6-0
Michael Dudley d. Isssac Lee 6-4, 6-2
Boys’ Singles RR
John David McCrory d. Jackson McCrory 4-1, 4-0
Steve Rice d. Mitchell Armbruster 4-1, 4-0
Rice d. J. McCrory 4-0, 4-1
J.D. McCrory d. Armbruster 4-1, 4-0
Sanderson Farms Jr. Championship MS L3 STA 4 B&G
Director: Bogdan T. Gard Kent Shultz Referee
69 Louisiana youth as well as family members traveled to Laurel to participation in this Advanced Skill Level Tournament. A total of
232 (girls and boys) ages 12-18 competed.
SINGLES RESULTS (Louisiana players in BOLD)
WELL DONE LOUISIANA YOUTH!!!
Boys: Zachary Smith d. Hyden Loeb 7-6. 6-1
Girls: Gabrielle Terranova d. Alyssa Yager 6-1. 7-6
Boys: Andrew Bienvenu d. Walker Andison wo(pc)
Girls: Claire d. Allison Burgess 6-3, 6-0
Boys: Payton Madrigal d. Daniel Trudell 6-1, 6-0
Girls: Ansley Hardeman d. Caroline Hudson 6-1, 6-3
Boys: Ryan Mounce d. Greyson Black 7-6, 6-0
Girls: Tiffani Nash d. Isha Mbaye 5-7, 6-1,1-0
Boys: Tripp Guglielmo d. Davis Weston 6-4,6-2
Girls: Elizabeth Sandifer d. Mary Cecile Hancock 6-2, 4-6, 1-0
Boys: Phillip Bosman d. Matthew Armbruster 6-3, 6-4
Girls: Niki Bountovinas d. Lydia Lee 6-1, 6-1
Boys: Connor Jenkins d. Mark Armbruster 6-2, 6-1
Girls: Micah Pierce d. Anna Hudson 6-1, 6-3
Boys: Carson Presser d. Jack Possey 6-4, 6-1
Girls: Brooke Powers d. Sophia Cominos 4-6, 6-0, 1-0
Boys: Charles Radiff d. Charles Vallulis 6-2, 6-0
Bo Bowdan d. Reese McClaurus 6-3, 7-5
Boys: Jeff Nguyen d. Bradyn Bowdan 4-1, 4-1
Girls: Addison Presser d. Madison Standifer 4-5, 4-3, 1-0
Boys: Mitchell Armbruster d. Hayes Burk 4-1, 4-2
Girls: Alice Rowley d. Grace Douglas 4-0, 4-1
Line-up confirmed for 2016 ITF Junior Masters
Hungarian duo Dalma Galfi, the 2015 ITF Girls World Champion, and Mate Valkusz, the current boys’ world No. 1, head the entry for the 2016 ITF Junior Masters taking place at the Sichuan International Tennis Centre in Chengdu, China on 8-10 April.
The ITF Junior Masters, now in its second year, is an international event showcasing eight male and eight female players who qualify on the basis of their 18-and-under ITF Junior World Ranking at the end of the year. The ITF Junior Masters consists of two knock-out singles events, with each player guaranteed three matches to determine their final finishing position. Players will compete for a total prize fund of $160,000 in travel grants, and will also compete for wild cards into professional events.
The following players will contest the 2016 ITF Junior Masters:
Dalma Galfi (HUN)
Katie Swan (GBR)
Anna Blinkova (RUS)
Tereza Mihalikova (SVK)
Usue Arconada (USA) College Park, MD
Sofia Kenin (USA) Pembroke Pines, FL
Charlotte Robillard-Millette (CAN)
Kayla Day (USA) Santa Barbara, CA
Casper Ruud (NOR)
Mate Valkusz (HUN)
Hong Seong Chan (KOR)
Marcelo Barrios Vera (CHI)
Orlando Luz (BRA)
Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB)
William Blumberg (USA) Greenwich, Conn.
Alvaro Lopez San Martin (ESP)
Galfi, the 2015 US Open junior champion, lines up alongside Australian Open junior champion Tereza Mihalikova and runner-up Katie Swan, and Wimbledon junior finalist Anna Blinkova. They will be joined by Sofia Kenin, a member of the United States’ 2014 Junior Fed Cup by BNP Paribas winning team.
Valkusz, who took over the boys’ No. 1 ranking at the start of 2016, heads up the men’s entries alongside 2015 Orange Bowl junior champion Miomir Kecmanovic, Australian Open junior runner-up Hong Seong Chan and 2014 double Youth Olympic medallist Orlando Luz. They will be joined by 2013 Junior Davis Cup by BNP Paribas winner Alvaro Lopez San Martin.
The provision of travel grants is one of the ways in which the ITF Junior Masters assists these top juniors in making a transition from junior tennis to the professional game. Each player competing in the 2016 ITF Junior Masters will earn a minimum travel grant of $7,000, while the boys’ and girls’ champions will both be awarded $15,000 travel grants. Players will also compete for wild cards into professional events donated by National Associations, with further details to be confirmed later this year.
The Sichuan International Tennis Centre will host the event for the second year as part of the ITF’s three-year agreement with the Chinese Tennis Association and the Chengdu Sport Bureau. The centre, which was built in 2008 and consists of 32 hard courts, has hosted several international events. The ITF Junior Masters will be staged on the centre’s two show courts, including a 6,000-capacity centre court, with matches broadcast by Sichuan TV and streamed live over the three days of competition.
The ITF Junior Masters joins the ITF junior team competitions, the 14-and-under ITF World Junior Tennis competition, and 16-and-under Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup by BNP Paribas, as the premier junior events on the 2016 ITF calendar.
Source: ITF Website
Key statistics from a recent United States Tennis Association survey:
48% of tennis players have an “A” average
81% aspire to attend college.
A recent survey by USTA Serves, the national charitable foundation of the United States Tennis Association, released findings that show tennis is really more than exercise and a sport.
The study, conducted among high school students analyzed the educational, behavioral and health benefits to teens that play tennis. When compared to non-athletes and kids that play other sports, young people who participate in tennis get better grades, devote additional hours to studying, and spend more time thinking more about their future. This leads them to think about attending and graduating from college. It was also found that they have lower suspension and expulsion rates.
Some key findings from the report include:
Tennis players spent more time doing homework, and were more likely to report receiving “A” grades. A full 48% of students in the report have an “A” average and 81% say they will attend college.
Tennis players had significantly lower rates of suspension from school and other disciplinary measures than participants in other sports and non-athletes. In fact, 73% have never been sent to the principal’s office.
Shreveport’s School Team Tennis 2016
Team tennis began in Shreveport in 2001. Presently there are 15 schools participating in the Tennis Program, with about 300 youth who played team tennis in 2015.
Who can Participate?Any public or private school.
Who runs the league? Querbes Tennis Center organizes and run the league.
What levels are available? Levels from beginner to tournament available.
Are team Lessons available? While the league is only for play, there are lessons at all tennis facilities in the Shreveport–Bossier area.When and where do they play? Afternoons Monday through Saturday at Querbes, beginning February 15, 2016.What are cost involved? League costs are $40 per person. We do offer monetary assistance for children in need!! NOTE: USTA membership is NOT necessary for play in 2016.
How do we begin?
Contact Robert or Richard Verzaal at Querbes Tennis Center 318-673-7787 Robert_Verzaal @baylor.edu
Robert Verzaal is currently the Head Tennis Professional and Associate Director at Querbes Tennis Center. Besides growing up at Querbes…
Robert was one of the top 20 juniors in America and played Division-I tennis for 4 years at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He was ranked in the top 50 in collegiate doubles and he has also competed in professional tennis tournaments, defeating players ranked as high as 150 in the world. Robert was a 2-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team award winner, and he graduated from Baylor with a degree in Entrepreneurship in May 2015.
Robert is certified with both the Professional Tennis Registry (PTR) and the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA). He has prior experience as an assistant teaching pro at Tahoe-Donner Tennis Center in Truckee, CA, as well as at the Waco Regional Tennis Facility in Waco, Texas.