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Florida Teams at USTA Jr. Team Tennis Nationals Preview

October 19, 2009 07:00 PM
Four Florida teams will be among the approximately 128 teams and more than 1,000 junior tennis players competing over the next two weekends at the 2009 USTA Jr. Team Tennis 14-and-under and 18-and-under National Championships at the Mobile Tennis Center in Mobile, Ala.

The events mark the culmination of a year-long series of competitions at the local, state/district, and section levels across Florida and the U.S. The National Championships serve as the crown jewel of USTA Jr. Team Tennis.

In July approximately 650 players comprising 85 Jr. Team Tennis squads converged on the Lakeland and Auburndale areas of Florida on July 31-Aug. 2, 2009, to determine who would advance to nationals during the 2009 USTA Florida Junior Team Tennis Summer Sectional Tournament.

The Miami Dream Team won the Florida state championship in the 18-and-under Advanced flight, and the Florida Yacht Club out of Jacksonville won the 18-and-under Intermediate flight. Another Jacksonville team, Mill Field-Keller, won the 14-and-under Advanced, while Gainesville's Powershots won the 14-and-under Intermediate final.

"The competition was intense at the USTA Florida Jr. Team Tennis Summer Sectional, and we have some players who are really excited to represent Florida at nationals," said USTA Florida Team Tennis Coordinator Michelle Willis.

Typically there is a player gift exchange at the Jr. Team Tennis Nationals where teams bring small "gifts" or tokens from their USTA section for their opponents, such as state pins, magnets, key rings, candy, or in the case of the Hawaii section, macadamia nuts and leis. These gifts are presented to the opponent before the first match. Each team also has a 3x5 flag to personalize and decorate, with the flags displayed at the Mobile Tennis Center.

"These events feature the very best elements of team tennis: spirited competition, friendship, achievement, sportsmanship and fun -- and provide the players with what may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience," said Marikate Murren, Jr. Team Tennis national manager, USTA. "Without the support, commitment and enthusiasm of all 17 USTA section coordinators and countless district/state, and local providers these National Championships would not exist."

This year the player parties will occur at the USS Alabama Battleship Park after a tour of the two National Historic Landmarks, Battleship USS ALABAMA (winner of nine World War II battle stars) and Submarine USS DRUM. A buffet dinner will be served in the park.

The Mobile Tennis Center, the site of the USTA Jr. Team Tennis National Championships, is known as the world's largest public tennis facility featuring 60 hardcourts.






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