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Day 1 - USTA Boys’ & Girls’ 12 Spring National Championships

April 9, 2008 10:12 AM

Day 1 of Nationals contests the inner grit of Players' “Moral Kombat”

By Marlena Hall

Delray Beach, Fla., April 6, 2008 — Question: What do you get when you put the upper portion of the number “2”, on top of a breadstick which rests on top of a bagel? Answer: A question mark.

Confused? Watching Keisha Clousing (5) (Wheaton, IL) compete in the USTA Boys’ & Girls’ 12 Spring National Championships hosted by the City of Delray Beach, April 6-12, 2008, against Nikki Kallenberg (Naples, FL), was certainly a conundrum. After winning the first set 6-1, Clousing lost her clout and momentum in the second and couldn't garner a game. Luckily to the grace of the sport, the rules allowed a ten-minute 'recharge' where players could smooth things over with their coaches and parents and figure out the strategy necessary to prevail in the 3rd set. As these little legions prepared to re-enter the battlefield, each player walked on court believing they were going to win, but somewhere along the baseline, confidence was punctured and mental strength was challenged. But it was Keisha Clousing's coach, Joey McWilliams, who helped "motivate" her to believe this simple, none-pressure packed statement: "Keisha, you are the 5th seed of this National tournament. You need to win this." And *poof*, Clousing conquered—6-1, 0-6, 6-2.

Ah, now the "breadstick" joke is making sense. Whilst on the topic of food, it seems necessary to speak on Keisha Clousing's nutritional preparation prior to her Day 1 afternoon victory. Just twenty minutes prior to her match , Keisha felt a roar in her tummy. What was on the menu? Six McNuggets and an ice cream parfait. Perhaps this meal contributed to the slight tardiness to her match, but make no matter, Clousing was calm about her chances. "I can always rely on my serve, especially my placement of it. I'm a good all-court player and like my feel on my forehand and backhand. But if my serve is on, I'm OK," Clousing swanked. I then asked her what she would advise her opponent [Kallenberg] if she was her coach, she replied, "I'd tell her to stay positive, especially in the third set. She played really well and had the momentum in the second set. I would have made her keep it up." Healthy comments from a not-so-healthy tournament eater. But for purely positive poise and great mental strength, we have made a 'healthy choice' to award you, Ms. Keisha Clousing, as our Day 1 Girls' 12 Player of the Day!

On a separate pair of chromosomes, two fired-up 'dura'cells, Benjamin "General" Tso (17) (Lexington, MD) and Andrew Mason (Webster, NY) displayed energizer strength as they kept 'going and going and going' all the way to a third set. But as the "General" realized his 17th-seeded flag was potentially under enemy control, he sounded an order to capture the third set which catapulted him to a 1-6, 7-5, 6-2 conquest. Tso may have won his 'flag' but in the 12s Nationals, an optimistic and self-constructive sense of self when defeated often indicates future success in tournament scuffle. Because Andrew Mason built his temple on a foundation of "Moral Kombat", we'd like to award him, Andrew Mason, as our Day 1 Boys' 12 Player of the Day! 
Don't miss this rare, exciting and FREE opportunity to see tomorrow's stars that will carry the tennis torch when passed on from Andy, James, Serena and Venus, all players who have taken the USTA National road to their success. Girls' matches start at 8:45 AM at the Delray Swim & Tennis Club (2350 Jaeger Dr., Delray Beach) while the boys' matches start at 9:15 AM at the Swim & Racquet Center (21626 St. Andrews, Boca Raton) and 11:45 AM Boca West Country Club (20583 Boca West Dr., Boca Raton).

A USTA National Championship






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