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10 and Under Tennis
By Janet Jupiter
Left, Luke Tremols, 7, won his first trophy at Riviera Country Club. Right, Alexis Messerly, 10, and Benjamin Messerly think Quick Start Tennis is competitive, but still fun and a great way to get with friends.
Ten and Under Tennis was introduced by the United States Tennis Association (USTA) with the intention of encouraging children to take up the sport of tennis. Miami hosts a world class tennis tournament every year on Key Biscayne, so it’s only fitting that the youth of the city become enthusiastic about the sport and sprout a new generation of tennis champions.
The fact that tennis can be played in South Florida year round is a bonus factor and many top ranked players have trained right here. Pro Players such as Chris Evert, Jimmy Connors & Jim Courier grew up here and Andre Agassie and Maria Sharapova and many other pros trained in Bradenton, Florida.
Ten and Under Tennis gives kids a quick start to learn the sport because they learn on a smaller court which matches their shorter stature, use smaller racquets and larger, colorful balls.The smaller size of the court allows them to get to the ball easier and, thus, control it better. USTA’s motto for this program is, “Tennis should be a game before it becomes a Sport!”
The lessons are set up in two age groups: 8&under and 10&under, so the little ones don’t get intimidated by the bigger ones. There are many courts set up for lessons and play by the ten&under crowd. They can be found at Tamiami Park in W. Miami, San Souci Tennis Center in No. Miami, Ron Ehmann Park in Kendall, Salvadore Park in Coral Gables and Coral Reef Park in Palmetto Bay.
The head pros at Coral Reef Park, Kara Borromeo and Leroy Pettis feel the impact of the program will be huge for the future of tennis. They say, “The future is now and the more tennis facilities and teaching pros understand the significance of kids starting younger, the bigger the impact on the future of tennis.” Kara and Leroy have had great success with their program in the two years since it began. Their team went undefeated in the local South Miami Jr. Team Tennis league and they will be going to sectionals on July 20 to represent the Miami area in 10 and Under Tennis playing against teams from throughout the state of Florida.
The Coral Reef pros have this advice for parents, “Although there is competition involved, it is important to understand that 10 and under tennis offers, most of all, fun for your kids. It builds character and self esteem, as well as good hand-eye coordination, balance and athletic skills at a very early age. Most of all it offers discipline and the ability for them to learn to listen and play.”
Madison Molock, 4, came to watch matches at the Sony Ericcson. She practices at the Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club