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Hanging Out with the Girls

As y’all know, last week saw the USTA National Hardcourts for both boys and girls held at various locations across the U.S. I had the opportunity to spend a day at the Girls 12s in Atlanta before heading to San Diego for the Girls 16s and 18s over the weekend. What a treat! I saw some amazing tennis, met some amazing parents and coaches, and had some amazing conversations about what’s happening behind the scenes in Junior and College Tennis.

One of my favorite parts about going to these events is meeting the players and their parents. I also love seeing the emergence of younger siblings of players I’ve been following over the years. If you look through the Competitors Lists you may recognize some surnames!

I posted several “live” videos on the ParentingAces Instagram from the Girls 12s. Sadly, those videos were lost and cannot be reposted here – I hope you caught them before they disappeared. However, I do want to give a big shout-out to Rachel Hernandez who was praised by the chair umpire then nominated for the Sportsmanship Award after exhibiting stellar behavior during her 6-0 6-0 loss to Lauren Zhang in the 2nd round. I had the chance to see the last set then to interview the umpire in that match, and she couldn’t say enough nice things about Rachel! Rachel and her twin sister, Sophie, came all the way from Los Gatos, CA, to compete in the tournament.

There is so much to write about from the week, and I’ve included some of the top highlights below. If there is something particular you’re interested in, please post in the Comments and I’ll do my best to address it!

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1961 Kalamazoo Champion and UCLA Graduate Charlie Pasarell

From meeting Tennis Legends Charlie Pasarell and Billie Jean King to watching the Next Generation of top American Girls, my time in San Diego was exciting and educational. Tournament Director Lorne Kuhle introduced me to both Pasarell and King, telling them about what we do at ParentingAces. When I told Ms. King that our goal is to educate parents on the Junior and College Tennis Journey, she responded, “Good. Luck.” I had to giggle at that!

Billie Jean King with Lisa

In speaking with a variety of coaches and parents at the tournament, it became clear to me – once again – how many different ways there are to develop junior players. It’s no wonder we’re all confused! Some of the players came through the USTA Training Center pathway while others developed locally, staying in traditional school and finding ways to compete and maintain top grades. Some are on the College Tennis Path while others plan to turn pro at the conclusion of their Junior careers. All were excited to play for a Wildcard into the US Open, either the Junior event or the Main tournament, and a chance to see their match televised on The Tennis Channel.

Maureen Connolly Brinker Cup

I spent significant time talking extensively with the parents and coaches of up-and-comer Katrina Scott. Katrina just turned 15 this summer and could have competed in the Girls 16s for this tournament. However, her coaches felt she was ready to test her game against the oldest Top Juniors in the US and put her into the Girls 18s instead. As it turns out, Katrina managed just fine, reaching the Final Four in Singles and the Finals in Doubles (with partner Gaby Price). As was announced yesterday, Katrina was awarded a Wildcard into the US Open Singles Qualifying as a result of her outstanding play this summer. Hear from Katrina’s dad, David, at the 2:50 mark in this video:

During the entire week of both Kalamazoo and San Diego, there was endless social media chatter about all of the backdraw withdrawals aka Backdraw Flu. UCLA recruit Abigail Forbes is one player who stayed in and played the backdraw after losing in the Quarterfinals to Top Seed Hailey Baptiste. Abigail chatted with me about her decision to keep playing:

There are always a number of college coaches on the grounds of our biggest USTA events, and San Diego was no exception. However, as the tournament came close to its finish, I was surprised to see so many coaches still on site. After meeting Duke Women’s Coach, Jamie Ashworth, on Friday afternoon, I was excited to talk with him about what he was looking for in the players at this event:

Fourteen-year-old Reese Brantmeier won the Girls 16s Singles. In addition to a Gold Ball, Reese also gets a Wildcard into the Junior US Open Main Draw and has also been awarded a Wildcard into the Qualifying of the US Open Singles. Hear from your 16s Champion here:


Speaking of Wildcards, here is a list of the Singles Qualifying and Main Draw US Open Wildcards given to National Hardcourts participants:

Singles Qualifying – Men

Govind Nanda: Kalamazoo 18s Finalist

Singles Qualifying – Women

Hailey Baptiste: San Diego 18s 3rd place

Reese Brantmeier: San Diego 16s Champion

Emma Navarro: San Diego 18s Finalist

Katrina Scott: San Diego 18s 4th place

Singles Main Draw – Men

Zachary Svajda: Kalamazoo 18s Champion

Singles Main Draw – Women

Katie Volynets: San Diego 18s Champion

Note: Other Juniors who have turned Pro receiving Wildcards are Caty McNally, Coco Gauff, Whitney Osuigwe, and French Junior Diane Parry

I want to thank Tournament Director, Lorne Kuhle, and Tournament Media Director, Fred Sidhu, for welcoming me to the tournament and helping me over the weekend. In Atlanta, a big thank-you to Girls 12s Tournament Director Viv Chhetri, who, unfortunately, had to leave the country suddenly due to a family emergency. Congratulations to all the players, parents, and coaches as well!

To view the Girls 18s Final between Katie Volynets and Emma Navarro as aired on Tennis Channel, click here.

For results in both the Boys and Girls tournaments across all age groups, read the official release from USTA here:

Girls 18s Champ Katie Volynets (L) and Finalist Emma Navarro (R)


Reese Brantmeier, Alexander Bernard Capture Girls’ and Boys’ 16s Singles Titles, Receive Wild Cards into US Open Junior Championships

Top American juniors Katie Volynets, of Walnut Creek, Calif., and Zachary Svajda, of San Diego, won the USTA Girls’ and Boys’ 18s National Championships this past weekend, each earning wild cards into the main draw of the US Open and headlining the annual USTA National Championships that took place last week.

The nation’s top junior tennis players competed in eight USTA National Championships across America. In addition to the US Open main draw wild cards awarded to the 18s singles and doubles champions, the singles runners-up in the Boys’ and Girls’ 18s divisions received wild card entries into the US Open Qualifying Tournament set to being on Monday, Aug. 19 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York. Meanwhile, the Boys’ and Girls’ 16s champions earn wild card entries into the US Open Junior Championships.

Seventeen-year-old Volynets,won the USTA Billie Jean King Girls’ 18s National Championship, defeating Emma Navarro (18, Charleston, S.C.), 6-2, 6-4 in the finals at the Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego. Volynets, who will be making her US Open main draw debut, reached the semifinals at the ITF World Tennis Tour W25 events in Florence, S.C., and Norman, Okla., as a qualifier earlier this year. As the runner up, Navarro will compete in the US Open Qualifying Tournament.  

Svajda defeated Govind Nanda (18, Loma Linda, Calif.), 6-7(3), 7-5, 6-3, 6-1, to win the USTA Boys’ 18s National Championship in Kalamazoo, Mich. The sixteen-year-old will be the youngest player to compete in the men’s singles main draw since American Donald Young did it in 2007. Nanda, who reached the boys’ 18s singles and doubles finals, received a wild card into the US Open Qualifying Tournament.

Reese Brantmeier (14, Whitewater, Wis.) and Alexander Bernard (15, Bonita Springs, Fla.) won the USTA Girls’ and Boys’ 16s National Championships singles titles, and will receive wild cards into the main draw of the US Open Junior Championships.

Complete results of the USTA National Championships can be found below. The complete draws are available at the USTA National Championships page on TennisLink.

USTA Boys’ 18s National Championships

Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo, Mich., August 2-11

Singles: (6) Zachary Svajda (San Diego) d. (5) Govind Nanda (Cerritos, Calif.), 6-7(3), 7-5, 6-3, 6-1  

Doubles: (1) Martin Damm (Bradenton, Fla.) / Toby Kodat (Bradenton, Fla.) d. (3) Brandon Nakashima (San Diego, Calif.) / Nanda, 6-3, 6-4

USTA Billie Jean King Girls’ 18s National Championships

Barnes Tennis Center, San Diego, August 3-11

Singles: (2) Katie Volynets (Walnut Creek, Calif.) d. (3) Emma Navarro (Charleston, S.C.), 6-2, 6-4

Doubles: (13) Abigail Forbes (Raleigh, N.C.) / Alexa Noel (Summit, N.J.) d. Gabriella Price (Boca Raton, Fla.) / Katrina Scott (Woodland Hills, Calif.), 7-5, 6-1

USTA Boys’ 16s National Championships

Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo, Mich., August 2-11

Singles: (1) Alexander Bernard (Bonita Springs, Fla.) d. (4) Aidan Mayo (Torrance, Calif.), 5-7, 6-2, 7-5

Doubles: (7) Hugo Hashimoto (San Jose, Calif.) / Benjamin Kittay (Potomac, Md.) d. (11) Lucas Brown (Plano, Texas) / Aidan Kim (Milford, Mich.), 6-4, 6-3

USTA Billie Jean King Girls’ 16s National Championships

Barnes Tennis Center, San Diego, August 3-11

Singles: (14) Reese Brantmeier (Whitewater, Wis.) d. (1) Valencia Xu (Livingston, N.J.), 6-2, 6-0

Doubles: (17) Elise Wagle (Niskayuna, N.Y.) / Katja Wiersholm (Kirkland, Wash.) d. Tara Malik (Seacaucus, N.J.) / Nikita Vishwase (Phoenix, Ariz.), 6-3, 6-0

USTA Boys’ 14s National Championships

Mobile Area Tennis Association, Mobile, Ala., August 3-10

Singles: (4) Cooper Williams (Greenwich, Conn.) d. (3) Nicholas Godsick (Chagrin Falls, Ohio), 6-1, 7-5

Doubles: (6) Alexander Razeghi (Humble, Texas) / Dylan Tsoi (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) d. (5) James Lian (Parsippany, N.J.) / Nicholas Mangiapane (Davidson, N.C.), 6-1, 6-1

USTA Girls’ 14s National Championships

Metro Tennis Associates, Rome, Ga., August 3-10

Singles: (3) Theadora Rabman (Port Washington, N.Y.) d. Brooklyn Olson (Mission Hills, Kan.), 6-7(1), 6-1, 6-1

Doubles: (17) Ananya Annapantula (Mason, Ohio) / Maddy Zampardo (Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich.) d. (17) Macy Hitchcock (Eaton, Ohio) / Piper Charney (Prospect, Ky.), 6-4, 6-0

USTA Boys’ 12s National Championships

Mobile Area Tennis Association, Mobile, Ala., August 3-10

Singles: (3) Maxwell Exsted (Savage, Minn.) d. (2) Abhinav Chunduru (Plano, Texas), 7-6(5), 6-0

Doubles: (2) Chunduru  / Prathinav Chunduru (Plano, Texas) d. (1) Exsted  / Cooper Woestendick (Olathe, Kan.), 6-4, 6-3

USTA Girls’ 12s National Championships

Windward Lake Club, Alpharetta, Ga., August 4-10

Singles: (4) Claire An (New York) d. (1) Bella Payne (Taylors, S.C.), 6-2, 6-2

Doubles: (1) Haylee Conway (Bellevue, Wash.) / Aspen Schuman (Menlo Park, Calif.) d. (5) Kate Fakih (Arcadia, Calif.) / Victoria Osuigwe (Bradenton, Fla.), 7-5, 4-6, 6-2



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