Little Mo Internationals

Before the US Open gets into full swing, I want to focus attention on the “Little Mo” Internationals in Forest Hills. The tournament finished this past weekend with lots of big trophies awarded and the winners of the Sportsmanship Awards and the Shannon Duffy Kindness Awards recognized as well. The West Side Tennis Club, host of the 2017 event, raised the Maureen Connolly banner at the famous stadium court where she completed the Grand Slam in 1953. She was the first woman to win the Grand Slam – winning all 4 majors in one calendar year (1953), and she is still the only American woman and youngest (age 18) to have accomplished this magnificent feat.

What exactly is the “Little Mo”? The “Little Mo” Internationals, put on by the Maureen Connolly Brinker Foundation (MCB), is one of the premier tournaments for boys and girls ages 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12. The “Little Mo” is unique in that it gives young players the opportunity to gauge their ability against others who are the same age. These events are designed to provide good competition for the younger player while also encouraging players to develop new friendships, learn good sportsmanship, and most of all, have fun.

The festivities began on Monday, August 21 with a complimentary clinic for all players on the historic grass courts of The West Side Tennis Club. Following the clinic was the spectacular Player Parade, whereby all players paraded onto the stadium court waving their country flags proudly. Zia Victoria sang the National Anthem and Maureen Connolly’s daughter, Brenda Brinker Bottum, was the guest speaker at the Opening Ceremony. Players competed in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles during the week.

There was a fun player party held at The West Side on Tuesday evening featuring a Beach Tennis tournament on hard court in addition to laser tag, music, a video game trailer with Wii games, and a special dinner on the beautiful patio at The West Side clubhouse overlooking the grass courts and stadium. “Little Mo” Tournament Chairman and MCB Executive Vice-President Carol Weyman presented the trophies. Wilson was the Official Ball and Racquet sponsor, and K-Swiss was the Official Apparel and Footwear sponsor. My Game Solutions was also an Official Sponsor of the event.

Srikar Polisetty from Alpharetta, GA, was a finalist in the Boys 10 division and won the Boys 10 doubles with partner Noah Johnston. Srikar’s coach, Tim Seals, shared that his charge loved playing kids from Japan and Germany (and beating Lindsay Davenport’s son in doubles!). Srikar also loved practicing on the grass courts and wearing all whites, just like at Wimbledon!

Congratulations to all the winners of the 2017 “Little Mo” Internationals tournament:

Boys 12 – Gonzalo Zeitune (Yerba Buena, Argentina)
Boys 11 – Jordan Reznik (Great Neck, New York)
Boys 10 – Dominick Mosejczuk (East Elmhurst, New York)
Boys 9 – Sebastian Bielen (Glen Cove, New York)
Boys 8 – Tadevos Mirijanyan (Palm Coast, Florida)
Boys 8 (green dot) – Drew Hassenbein (Roslyn, New York)
Girls 12 – Stacey Samonte (Whittier, California)
Girls 11 – Christasha McNeil (Massapequa, New York)
Girls 10 – Akasha Urhobo (Lauderhill, Florida)
Girls 9 – Natalie Oliver (Fallston, Maryland)
Girls 8 – Zaire Clarke (Greenacres, Florida)
Girls 8 (green dot) – Luiza Viesi Santoro Pereira (São Paulo, Brazil)

Also, congratulations to Jagger Leach (Newport Beach, California) and Ellie Ross (Port Washington, New York) for receiving the “Little Mo” Sportsmanship Awards. The “Little Mo” Kindness Awards were presented to Noah Johnston (Anderson, South Carolina) and Stacey Samonte (Whittier, California).

MCB is excited to announce that the yellow ball results for all ages from the “Little Mo” Internationals in New York will count towards Universal Tennis Ratings (UTR only accepts yellow ball results). For more information on UTR, please visit their website here. MCB is also excited to announce that the results from the Boys and Girls 12’s divisions in New York will count towards Tennis Recruiting Network (TRN) ratings. For more information on TRN, please visit their website here.

 

BB&T Atlanta Open State Team Championships

State Team Championships
Image courtesy of Scott Colson

A few days ago, I received an email from fellow Tennis Parent, Scott Colson, telling me about a new 10-and-under team event – the BB&T Atlanta Open State Team Championships – that was taking place in Atlanta as part of the BB&T Atlanta Open and asking if I could possibly come out to see the kids in action. Of course, that was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up!

Yesterday, I drove up to Lifetime Athletic & Tennis Club, a facility I have been to a million times to see my son play. It’s a gorgeous club with indoor and outdoor courts, including pickle ball courts, a pool, fitness center, cafe, and even classrooms for those academy kids wanting to participate in the virtual school program offered by certified teachers on site.

I was curious about this new U10 event being run by experienced Tournament Director Turhan Berne. When I looked on the TennisLink site, here’s what I found:

  • Mandatory check-in for the tournament will take place Friday, July 28, at 1:00 p.m. at Lifetime Athletic, 6350 Courtside Drive, Norcross, GA 30092. Players will receive a gift bag with their VIP credential, complimentary tickets, a jumbo-sized ball for autographs, and tournament information. Players must have a signed release and player conduct agreement form.
  • Friday July 28th:
  • 1:00 Check-in meet team mates and coaches
    1:30-5:30 EDC Camp Training
    7:00 Watch matches at the BB&T tournament
    Saturday July 29th:
    9:00 Team Singles matches begin
    12:00 Lunch
    1:30 Team Doubles matches begin
    4:30 Break for day
    6:00 Watch matches at BB&T tournament
    Sunday July 30th:
    10:00 Team Playoff singles matches begin
    12:30 Lunch
    2:00 Doubles matches begin
    3:30 Conclusion of Play and awards presented
    5:00 Watch Singles final of BB&T Atlanta Open
  • PARTICIPATING STATES
    Alabama
    Georgia
    Mississippi
    South Carolina
    Tennessee
  • MATCH FORMAT
  • Each team match will consist of the following:
    3 boys singles matches
    3 girls singles matches
    1 boys doubles match
    1 girls doubles match
    1 mixed doubles match
  • SCORING FORMAT
    For singles, scoring shall be the best of two short sets (first to four (4) and win by two), with a set tiebreak (first to seven (7) and win by two) at 4-4 in each set, and a set tiebreak (first to seven (7) and win by two) for the third set. Doubles matches for 10 and under tournament play shall consist of a regular six (6) game set, with a set tiebreak (first to seven (7) and win by two) at 6-6. No-ad scoring will be used during all matches.

Some of the players also had the opportunity to come in a day early and meet with Dr. Neeru Jayanthi for evaluation. Dr. J works closely with the junior tennis program at Lifetime and is in the midst of a long-term study of injury in junior tennis players. He put the State Team Championships players through an extensive evaluation that tested their flexibility, agility, and stroke analysis. He also spent time with the parents to identify points of concern for future injury and will be sharing that information with the individual coaches. Dr. J even came back out to the event yesterday afternoon to watch the kids compete and offer further insights. According to Tennis Parent Scott Colson, “We plan to continue checking in with Dr. J periodically to monitor [our son’s] progress. Dr. J runs an amazing program and is highly recommended.”

Back to the event itself . . . I love the idea of bringing our youngest players from neighboring states together to train and compete with their own coaches as well as other USTA coaches on hand to help. I also love the idea of pairing the event with a pro tournament so the kids can, as Wayne Bryan loves to say, “take it in through their eyes and ears.” Y’all know how I feel about short sets and no-ad scoring, so I won’t comment on that again. The cherry on top of this particular team event was that BB&T Atlanta Open Quarterfinalist and Georgia Tech rising senior Chris Eubanks came out to visit with the kids yesterday morning, giving them a chance to ask him questions and take photos. How cool!

But, instead of just hearing my take on the State Team Championships, watch my Facebook Live video and hear from some of the parents themselves (click on the Full Screen option to enable the audio):

 

BB&T ATLANTA OPEN RESULTS – JULY 29, 2017

Men’s Singles – Semifinals

[2] J. Isner (USA) d [3] G. Muller (LUX) 6-4 6-2
[4] R. Harrison (USA) d [5] K. Edmund (GBR) 6-7(5) 6-3 6-4

Men’s Doubles – Semifinals

[1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) d [PR] J. Millman (AUS) / Sa. Ratiwatana (THA) 6-2 6-3
W. Koolhof (NED) / A. Sitak (NZL) d [4] P. Raja (IND) / D. Sharan (IND) 7-6(3) 6-4

ORDER OF PLAY – SUNDAY, JULY 30, 2017

STADIUM COURT start 5:00 pm

[4] R. Harrison (USA) vs [2] J. Isner (USA)
[1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) or [PR] J. Millman (AUS) / Sa. Ratiwatana (THA) vs W. Koolhof (NED) / A. Sitak (NZL)

Tickets available at www.bbtatlantaopen.com

Slideshow from #theSol Atlanta Day 2

A huge thank you to David Kapper of CL!X Portrait Studio for the great action shots of our players from Day 2! You can order your own copies of the photos directly from his website using password “ACE”. I hope you enjoy the slideshow – click here to see the photos from Day 1!

Slideshow from #theSol Atlanta Day 1

A huge thank you to David Kapper of CL!X Portrait Studio for the great action shots of our players from Day 1! You can order your own copies of the photos directly from his website using password “ACE”. I hope you enjoy the slideshow – Day 2 coming soon!

#theSol

Day 2 at #theSol Atlanta

#theSol AtlantaToday was another fantastic day of tennis and activities at #theSol Atlanta!

Our first matches went on at 10am after a quick briefing by Tourney Director David Stolle, reminding the players to be on their best behavior for their final day of matches. The weather was hot and humid, but the kids stayed calm and collected on the court and off.

Once the first wave of matches was complete, we had sub sandwiches and Voss water waiting for the players inside. Promptly at noon, WTA player Melanie Oudin arrived to talk to the families about her life as a junior player, making the decision to turn pro, and the challenges of staying healthy now that she’s been out on the tour for several years. We opened up the floor for questions. The kids themselves were a bit shy, but the parents had plenty to ask! Afterward, Melanie autographed some tennis items for the kids and posed for photos with them. She was so sweet and engaging, sticking around to make sure everyone who wanted a picture got one. A huge thank you to her for taking the time to be part of our tournament!

Pardon my poor videography skills, but enjoy Melanie!

After lunch, we still had 2 matches left to play, one to decide the winner of the White Draw and the other to decide the Runner-Up of the Blue Draw. The White Draw final went the distance, with Eli Hagan emerging at the winner after a long 3-set battle that ended in a tie-breaker.

Photographer David Kapper of Clix Photography was on hand again today to capture the players in action. He has uploaded all his photos to www.clixnorthatlanta.com. You can view and order them by clicking on View & Order Prints, then Search – TheSol Atlanta should be the first event listed. Enter password “ACE” to view and/or order any of the photos from the tournament.

Click here to view the Day 2 Slideshow

I want to thank everyone who participated in #theSol Atlanta tournament, hosted by Georgia Gwinnett College’s Tennis Facility and Coach Chase Hodges! We had a fabulous 2 days, led by our super competent Tournament Director David Stolle of Universal Tennis Academy, and brought to you by the best sponsors ever:

  • 10sBalls.com
  • Holabird Sports
  • Steven J Schwartz, MD and the Intensivist Team
  • Judie Schwartz
  • Kassimir Physical Therapy
  • Match! Tennis App
  • Universal Tennis Academy
  • ParentingAces
  • UTR
  • Maller Wealth Advisors
  • Michael Sellman
  • Ilene, Dori, & Evan Schwartz
  • Solinco
  • Dunlop
  • Tennis Trunk
  • Melanie Rubin
  • Voss
  • TournaGrip
  • PNC Bank
  • Summit Group

We hope to be back next year and hope everyone who participated in our first Atlanta event will join us again! A huge thank you to the players, parents, and grandparents who played and cheered in the spirit of Sol Schwartz!

Here are the results from Day 2:

Red Draw
Gavin Segraves (12.20) d. Cole Brainard (10.97) 6-4 6-0
Luis de la Mano (UTR unknown) d. Cole Brainard (10.97) df
Winner: Gavin Segraves received Wilson Prize Package including racket, backpack, shoes, 6 packs of string

White Draw
Kelli Osajima (9.12) d. Jonathan Molner (6.94) 6-1 6-4
Taylor Galloway (8.55) d. Brenna Reilly (8.50) 6-4 6-4
Kiran Gadde (6.24) d. Samantha Birger (6.55) 7-6 (1) 6-3
Eli Hagan (8.40) d. Jake Young (8.43) 6-3 4-6 7-6 (6)
Winner: Eli Hagan received 2-month subscription from Tennis Trunk, Solinco string
Runner-Up: Jake Young received gift certificate from Clix for family portrait, Solinco string

Blue Draw
Brent Nieri (5.20) d. Raines Grassi (5.55) 6-3 6-4
Peyton Schuchart (5.94) d. Grayson Balloon (5.69) df
Winner: Peyton Schuchart received 2-month subscription from Tennis Trunk
Runner-Up: Brent Nieri received Solinco string

Green Draw
Chloe Zigliara (3.11) d. Clara Balcom (3.58) 6-0 6-3
Matthew Pinto (4.41) d. Teja Gadde (4.26) 6-2 6-3
Sydney Balcom (3.80) d. Christopher Pinto (3.0) 6-0 6-1
McKenzie Oliver (4.71) d. Shek Berry (4.55) 6-1 6-1
Winner: McKenzie Oliver received Solinco hat, sweatbands, headband, and string
Runner-Up: Shek Berry received gift certificate from Clix for family portrait

The Sol Schwartz #SaveCollegeTennis All-In Tournament

Sol Schwartz

Listen to this week’s podcast here:

My dear friend, Sol Schwartz, passed away suddenly in March 2016, and a group of us decided to honor his legacy and try to continue his life’s work by creating a very special junior tennis tournament. The inaugural tournament was held in Sol’s hometown of Baltimore in August of 2016. This year, we are excited to expand the tournament to two cities: Atlanta July 17-19 and Baltimore August 12-13.

In this week’s podcast, we hear from others affiliated with the tournament as well as from Sol’s wife, Ilene. My hope is that you’ll feel compelled to sign your junior players up for these tournaments after hearing from them! After all, in what other junior tennis tournament is your child guaranteed 3 matches all for the low cost of $15 per day?

A huge thank you to the tournament sponsors:

10sballs.com
Holabird Sports
The Intensivist Team
Kassimir Physical Therapy
Match Tennis App
Maller Wealth Advisors
Solinco
Dunlop
Tennis Trunk
Universal Tennis Rating
Universal Tennis Academy
Voss Water
Melanie Rubin
Michael Sellman
Ilene, Dori, and Evan Schwartz

For more information on the tournaments, you can visit the following links:
#theSol Atlanta: http://events.universaltennis.com/tournaments/261/
#theSol Baltimore: http://events.universaltennis.com/tournaments/336/
More info on this year’s tournaments: http://parentingaces.com/thesol-year-2/
Info on last year’s tourney: http://parentingaces.com/sol-schwartz-savecollegetennis-all-in-tournament/
Info on Sol: http://parentingaces.com/tribute-to-a-gentle-man/

Check out our latest podcast!

 

#theSol Year 2

#theSol

It’s hard to believe that almost a whole year has gone by since our inaugural Sol Schwartz #SaveCollegeTennis All In Tournament. Last year’s event (click here to read all about it) was a tremendous success by all measures, and we hope to do even better this year.

As in 2016, this year’s #theSols will be run through the Universal Tennis Rating tournament platform which gives our tournament directors great flexibility in terms of scheduling, communication, and draws. Unlike last year, we are hosting TWO events in 2017, one in Atlanta July 17-19 and one in Baltimore August 12-13. A huge thank-you to our presenting sponsor, 10sballs.com, and our title sponsor, Holabird Sports! Registration is now open for both tournaments. Click here for Atlanta. Click here for Baltimore.

Why should you add these tournaments to your junior player’s summer schedule? Well, let me tell you why!

  1. This is like no other junior tournament your child will play!
  2. Players are guaranteed at least 3 matches.
  3. On-court coaching. Players can receive assistance during the side changes.
  4. Where else can your child play matches that will count toward their UTR plus be coached on court during side changes?
  5. And, speaking of UTR, all matches will count toward your child’s rating.
  6. Players will get an amazing player goody bag and we have an incredible prize package for the overall winner.
  7. Players will have official player credentials.#theSol credential
  8. Players will get a full-color player book.
  9. Complimentary lunch for players and parents.
  10. Full-color high quality dri-fit tournament shirts.

I heard from the coach of last year’s #theSol winner that it was the best tournament she’s ever played. Not just because she won it, but also because of the atmosphere created by our incredible volunteers and committee. Don’t you want your junior player to have this type of positive tournament experience?

NOTE: We’ve just added another great perk to this year’s tournaments! We will be using the Match Tennis App for all tournament updates and communications. Why should you care? Because that means that, once you register to play, you get a FREE 30-day trial of the app! For more information on the Match Tennis App (plus a nice discount to use after your trial expires!), listen to our podcast here.

Enter the Atlanta #theSol here
Enter the Baltimore #theSol here

In case you’re wondering why we’re going to all this trouble to put on junior tournaments, it’s because of Sol Schwartz and the legacy he left behind in the Tennis World. He was a man devoted to preserving the sanctity of the sport, especially when it came to college tennis. The tournament committee is committed to continuing Sol’s legacy. All of the net proceeds from these events are going into a non-profit fund that will eventually be used to provide grants to college tennis programs at risk of being cut. For reference, from 2010-2015 twenty-two (22) men’s programs were cut with an additional nineteen (19) women’s programs. That does not bode well for the future of our sport.

NOTE: Per data from the ITA, four (4) men’s tennis programs were dropped during the 2016-17 academic year, and five (5) women’s programs were dropped. At the same time, five (5) men’s and four (4) women’s tennis programs were added. For more information, see the document below.

I hope to see you in Atlanta or Baltimore or both (!) this summer! If you have any questions or need more information, please feel free to email me at lisa@parentingaces.com.

We all have to band together to #SaveCollegeTennis!