Nine junior players between the ages of 9 and 20 gathered in Newport for a weekend of clinics and handicap singles. The weekend was geared towards novice and intermediate players.

The participants were kept busy all weekend, beginning with footwork drills each morning, followed by various drills focusing on a particular shot or aspect of the game. In between the “grueling” drill sessions, the juniors played in a round robin handicap singles tournament. Given that many of the players are just establishing their handicaps, the matches were played on a rolling basis. The result was that all of the matches were very even and insured that all of the players were competitive. At the end of the weekend, Laurenson Ward was the winner.

In addition to drills and strategy, the kids were treated to exhibition matches on Saturday and Sunday, during their lunch break. Saturday’s match was very unusual, in that, it featured Jake “Bad Boy” Worseldine vs. Rich “Good Guy” Smith. The focus of the match was to teach the juniors on-court etiquette. As they watched the match, each of the juniors had to write down what they thought was bad behavior. Examples? Jake was dressed in all black, he argued with the marker, threw his racquet, jumped over the net, rather than crossing through the marker’s box, hit the ball, after the ball was called down, etc. etc! Afterwards, the pros and Jim Wharton gathered in the Pro Shop to discuss proper behavior.

At the end of the day on Saturday, we all headed to Second Beach to run off any excess energy. A few brave souls went swimming in the fog, while the rest were content with throwing balls and playing. Then it was off to the Bainton’s for a cookout.

Sunday continued with more drills, matches and an exhibition between Rich Smith and Tony Hollins. It wasn’t all physical, though, as the kids were given a written quiz on Sunday to test what they had learned about the game over the weekend. (A copy is attached – go ahead – test yourself!) Dylan Ward got the most answers correct. The festivities concluded with a few more fun games — imagine playing tennis without a racquet – and awards. Each player received a White Hoody, with “Junior Real Tennis” on the sleeve and a commemorative key chain. Certificates were awarded to all players.

Rich Smith and Tony Hollins did a fantastic job in organizing the weekend. In a highly entertaining manner, they taught the kids about the game – from proper behavior to how to hit the ball properly. It was a great weekend!

On a personal note, I would like to add, in addition to my thanks to Rich and Tony, what a great group of kids these are! It has been a lot of fun over the past several years to see how much they have improved, as they get older and stronger. What is especially fun to see is the interaction between them, as they have gotten to know each other over the past few years. Going forward, it will be extremely important to continue to get them together for these types of events. These juniors are, after all, our potential players for the Van Alen and Clothier Cup teams and perhaps for a future women’s junior team!

The weekend was sponsored by the USCTPF Lieb Fund.

Below is a summary of the results.

Handicap Winner – Laurenson Ward

Most Targets – Caroline Lippincott

Individual Awards:

Johnny Chamberlain (Newport) – Cheeky Monkey

Caroline Lippincott (Newport) – Best Shot

Jesse Hunsicker (Philadelphia) – Most Improved

Alex Lombard (Washington) – Leadership

Chris Russo (Newport) – True Sport

Dylan Ward (Philadelphia) – Biggest Effort

Vica White (Newport) – Best Smile

James Chamberlain (Newport) – Quickest Recovery

Laurenson Ward (Philadelphia) – Best Shot