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Prince PPI Program Crowns First World Team Champion in Rome

Bordentown, NJ — The inaugural Prince Plugged In (PPI) World Team Championships have come and gone and the first academy name is now engraved on the World Championship team trophy. In four years, the ground-breaking PPI program has revolutionized junior competition, training, education and overall development, by connecting nearly fifty of the world’s most elite high-performance tennis academies into one seamless network both on the courts and on-line. Last week, for the first time in the program’s history, Prince brought together five of the world’s most elite junior training academies to Rome for a week of competition, training, education and cultural exchanges - a way for academies to measure themselves against other parts of the world and to truly determine which academy deserves the title “best of the best.”

Competing were:

* United States PPI Champion: T Bar M Academy, Dallas, Texas
* Spain PPI Champion: Tenis Val, Valencia, Spain
* Italy PPI Champion: Club Sant’ Agnese, Rome, Italy
* United Kingdom PPI Champion: Totally Tennis, Basingstroke, England
* United States PPI Runner-Up: IMG/Bollettieri Academy, Bradenton, Florida

It was an incredible experience from both an on and off-court development perspective. Aside from the team competition, Prince arranged for special guest speakers, training sessions for the kids, trips to Rome’s historic sites and tickets to the Italian Open where the academies sat courtside to watch their favorite touring pros. Overall, Prince brought together more than sixty kids and coaches to the event. To put things in perspective, fifteen of the seventeen kids traveling from the United States had never been to Europe before!

After five days of a fierce round-robin competition that saw nearly 250 matches take place on the spectacular red clay of Club Sant’ Agnese, in the shadows of 2500 year old Roman architecture, IMG/Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy emerged as the victor and the first-ever PPI World Champion.

“I travel around the world to junior events with the kids I coach, and I can honestly say that the year-long PPI program and this culminating event are unlike anything else available to top juniors and their coaches,” said Dave Licker, Director of Junior Tennis at T Bar M Academy in Dallas, Texas. “Prince has built an incredible, inclusive format based on a team concept and on-court coaching - something most kids do not experience in top-level junior tennis, but which are crucial to their overall understanding of how to play matches and compete. The competition will only get stronger as more academies around the world sign on. Based on the experience in Rome, if we are fortunate enough to repeat as PPI Champions in the U.S and get invited to next year’s PPI World Championships, you better believe we will be there. The kids are already excited to start the 2008-2009 PPI season here in the States, and so am I!”

On to Tulsa, Oklahoma for the PPI All-American Championships

Prince is now providing the top U.S finishers, based on individual results from the 2007-2008 PPI season, with the opportunity to showcase their abilities and personalities in front of every Division I coach during the NCAA Championships this week in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The newly formed PPI All-American Championships will bring 35 top-ranked junior boys and girls, from all age groups (18s, 16s, 14’s and 12’s) to one location so that the recruiters and coaches from the most prestigious collegiate programs in the world can have a chance to see and, when acceptable, meet the next four year’s of prospects. While some of the older kids might have already finalized their college plans and signed on with a college program, for all of the younger kids, this is a truly unique opportunity to make an impression on the top college coaches in the nation.

In addition to playing in front of collegiate and USTA coaches, the winners in each age division will be given something special. For the 18s, the PPI All-American Singles champions will receive, courtesy of the USTA, a main draw entry into a Futures event. The 16s winner will receive a wildcard into the qualifiers of a Futures event. For the 14s and the 12s, the winners in both age group will receive a main draw entry into the historic Eddie Herr International Championships.

“It is clear that the goal of the Prince PPI program is to truly dedicate itself to developing top junior tennis players, both here in the United States and around the globe,” said Rodney Harmon, Director of Men’s Tennis USTA High Performance and the recently named U.S Men’s Olympic Tennis Coach. “These concepts, while they may seem like no-brainers, are completely revolutionary and I give the team at Prince full credit for not only getting this program off the ground four years ago, but for continuing to grow it, deliver fresh new thinking and getting it to where it is today.”

 

SportMaster

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