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Rubin, Harmon School Players, Parents at USTA Florida Multicultural Tennis Camp

June 28, 2010 03:09 PM

Chanda Rubin hits with students Twenty top junior tennis players from around the state of Florida received top-level coaching from former WTA Tour No. 6-ranked Chanda Rubin and coaches such as Rodney Harmon, fresh off the plane from helping his protege John Isner in his 11-hour marathon first-round match at Wimbledon, during the 6th annual USTA Florida Multicultural Tennis Training Camp, held June 24-27, 2010, at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Rubin, making her first appearance, learned of the camp from organizer and USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator and Diversity Liaison, Shelly Licorish. Rubin said she was intrigued regarding the curriculum involving minority high-performance junior players and their parents, learning together about the rewards and road blocks involved in pursuing college tennis or a pro career.

Campers receive instruction from coaches

"When I first learned about the Multicultural Training Camp from Shelly, I thought that it was a wonderful program and I was happy to get involved," Rubin said. "The fact that the camp focuses on incorporating the parent, as well as training the player, makes it even more relevant to today's high performance players. There are so many considerations in tournament play and I understand, first hand, that having a great team behind you and knowledgeable, focused support can make all the difference in a young person's development."

Licorish said the addition of Rubin to the camp made a lasting impression on the participants.

"Chanda Rubin was so amazing," said Stephen Watson, a Boys' 16s finalist at this year's USTA Florida Junior State Closed and a rising star featured on the Tennis Channel. "I've learned that there is always something that I can improve on as a tennis player, no matter how good my game is."

Rodney Harmon and Chanda Rubin on the sidelines

Other coaches in addition to Rubin and Harmon included FAMU Men's Tennis Coach Dr. Carl Goodman, former Puerto Rico Davis Cup player Kelvin Rivera, and other USTA Florida Section and national coaches.

"I feel blessed to have them teaching my kid," said parent Romela Campbell, mother of camper Jordan Campbell. "What they are doing here is wonderful."

Harmon was in the stands in Isner's coach's box at Wimbledon as the big American set an all-time record for aces in a match and length of a match, among other records.

"It was long. I'm just glad Isner won," said Harmon, who looked to make technical changes in the Daytona Beach campers' games that would give them the advantage over opponents. "The biggest thing I want is one or two things that they can walk away with to improve their game. So if I see their forehand or backhand or serve, the three major strokes, and I can help them get a slight edge on those."

In the classroom

Past players that have participated in the USTA Florida Multicultural Training Camp include 2010 French Open junior doubles winner Sloane Stephens, current University of Florida player Sekou Bangoura, and prospective pros and international junior title winners Sachia Vickery and Victoria Duval.

The camp remains a USTA initiative to give high-potential players of all backgrounds a change to excel at the college and pro levels and lessen the gap concerning the challenges to success.

"Our first graduating class included Sloane Stephens, Sachia Vickery, Victoria Duval," Licorish said. "The proudest moment for me was when I saw Sloane playing [Vera] Zvonerava at Indian Wells and I texted her mom, 'Isn't this exciting?' So that's what keeps me going."

The USTA Florida Multicultural Camp is designed to provide training and development opportunities, ensuring that no player is left behind due to cultural dissimilarities. In addition to on-court training, the players, parents and coaches participated in seminars on topics such as sports science, nutrition, college and pro tennis, networking, grants and scholarship availability, and navigating the world of junior national and international tennis. Local high school players were also invited to participate on designated days to receive high-level instruction and interact with top players from around the state.






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