USTA to Conduct Player Development Camp
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — The USTA announced today that six of the country’s top young tennis players will participate in a USTA Player Development Camp in Birmingham Ala., April 21-25. The camp will be run in conjunction with the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas semifinal between the U.S. and Russia. Camp participants include Gabrielle Andrews of Pomona, Calif., Brooke Austin of Indianapolis, Victoria Duval of Norcross, Ga., Alyssa Smith of Laguna Niguel, Calif., Taylor Townsend of Stockbridge, Ga., and Sachia Vickery of Miramar, Fla. The camp will be conducted by USTA National Coaches Kathy Rinaldi and Troy Hahn.
The participants in this training camp will take part in drills and seminars designed to help them improve in all facets of their games, with particular focus on practice approach and work ethic, match preparation, and the mental rigors of tennis. Coaches and players also will discuss what it means to represent the U.S. in events such as Fed Cup. The campers will have the opportunity to attend the Fed Cup matches and watch the U.S. team, which features 2009 US Open quarterfinalist Melanie Oudin and the world’s No. 1 ranked doubles player, Liezel Huber. Additionally, Serena or Venus Williams may be named to the team this week.
“This Fed Cup tie provides a unique setting for our player development camp,” said Patrick McEnroe, General Manager, USTA Player Development. “Not only will the players improve their games by working with USTA National Coaches, but they will be afforded the rare chance to observe some of the best American professionals as they prepare for an important event like Fed Cup. Having the opportunity to watch and emulate both an up-and-coming player like Melanie and a consummate professional like Liezel will hopefully inspire these young campers to continue to work hard and maximize their potential.”
Andrews, 13, from Pomona, Calif., swept the girls’ 14s singles and doubles titles at the Easter Bowl in Rancho Mirage, Calif., last week. She also swept both titles at the 2009 USTA Girls’ 14s Winter National Championships, and won the doubles title at the 2009 USTA Girls’ 14s National Championships. Andrews has posted strong international results as well, sweeping the singles and doubles titles at the AEGON Teen Tennis event in England before winning the doubles title at Les Petits As in France, the two most prestigious international events for players 14-and-under. Andrews is currently the top-ranked player in the USTA Girls’ 14s National Standings.
Austin, 14, from Indianapolis, recently reached the girls’ 16s final at the Easter Bowl, where she won the girls’ 14s title in 2009. Austin lost to Andrews in the final of the AEGON Teen Tennis event, and the pair swept the doubles titles at the AEGON Teen Tennis event and Les Petits As. Austin burst onto the national scene in 2008, when she swept the girls’ 12s singles and doubles titles at both the USTA National Championships and the USTA National Clay Court Championships, and she helped the U.S. girls team win its third straight World Junior Team Competition in 2009. Austin trains at the Indianapolis Tennis Center — a USTA Certified Regional Training Center — and is currently No. 4 in the USTA Girls’ 16s National Standings.
Duval, 14, recently moved to Norcross, Ga., to train at the Racquet Club of the South, a USTA Certified Regional Training Center. In 2009, Duval won her first international title at an ITF (18-and-under) event in Costa Rica, and she also reached the final at the AEGON Teen Tennis event. Duval won the USTA Girls’ 14s National Championships in 2008, and last year she reached the girls’ 16s semifinals at the Eddie Herr and the girls’ 16s quarterfinals at the Dunlop Orange Bowl. Duval helped lead the U.S. to its third consecutive World Junior Team title in 2009.
Smith, 15, from Laguna Niguel, Calif., won her first international doubles title in March at the ITF (18-and-under) event in Claremont, Calif., and last week she reached the girls’ 16s doubles final at the Easter Bowl. She won the girls’ 14s doubles title at the 2009 Easter Bowl and took third place in the singles competition. Smith also won the doubles title at the 2008 USTA Girls’ 14s Winter National Championships, and she is currently No. 6 in the USTA Girls’ 16s National Standings.
Townsend, 14, from Stockbridge, Ga., recently won the girls’ 14s doubles title with Andrews and took third place in singles at the Easter Bowl. In January, she teamed with Alexandra Stiteler to finish as the doubles runners-up to Andrews and Austin at both the AEGON Teen Tennis event and Les Petits As. Townsend took third place at the 2009 USTA Girls’ 14s National Championships, and she was the girls’ 12s runner-up to Austin at both the 2008 USTA National Championships and the 2008 USTA National Clay Court Championships. Townsend is currently No. 26 in the USTA Girls’ 14s National Standings.
Vickery, 14, from Miramar, Fla., burst onto the international scene as a 12-year-old in 2008, when, after winning the girls’ 14s title at the Easter Bowl, she reached the final of four ITF (18-and-under) events and won two titles. Vickery started 2009 by winning the AEGON Teen Tennis title and ended the year by capturing the girls’ 16s title at the Eddie Herr. In between, she reached the semifinals at the USTA Pro Circuit $10,000 event in Evansville, Ind. Vickery recently reached the girls’ 18s final at the USTA International Spring Championships, and was selected as one of two players to play in an exhibition in Madison Square Garden during Tennis Night in America. Vickery helped lead the U.S. to back-to-back World Junior Team Tennis titles in 2008-09, and is currently No. 71 in the ITF World Junior Rankings.
The USTA Player Development unit has been created to identify and develop the next generation of American champions by surrounding the top junior players and young pros with the resources, facilities and coaching they need to reach their maximum potential. The Player Development program is based at the USTA Training Center Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., and also utilizes the USTA Training Center-West in Carson, Calif., and the USTA Training Center-East in Flushing, N.Y. In 2008, the USTA began implementing its Certified Regional Training Center program as part of its expanded efforts to develop future American tennis champions, which will expand the USTA Player Development program’s reach throughout the country by partnering with academies, clubs and tennis centers that have a proven record of identifying and developing tennis players. The USTA expects to name approximately fifteen Certified Regional Training Centers over the next five years.
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