2011 USTA/ITF Cruyff Foundation International Junior Wheelchair Tennis Camp

It has become a tradition to gather in Mission Viejo, California every July for the USTA/ITF International Junior Camp.  Merely a few miles from the Racquet Club of Irvine, which hosted the first US Open as well as the first World Team Cup, the Felipe Tennis Center is home to one of the best wheelchair tennis camps in the world.  Sixteen campers attended this year’s camp being treated to amazing tennis, a day at Universal Studios, and camaraderie with fellow campers that can only be described as incredible.

There were campers from the United States, Canada, Argentina, and Mexico offering an international flavor to this event.  Coaches included Dan James (USA), Jason Harnett (USA and host), Tom Van Doren (Mexico), Javier Zubiri (Argentina), Paul Walker (USA), Karin Korb (USA and former Paralympian), Cari Buck (USA), Steve Manley (Canada), and Dean Oba (USA).  It was an incredible teaching staff, but none of this would have been possible without amazing organization from the City of Mission Viejo and Jeremiah Yolkut of the USTA.

Each day consisted of morning drills and afternoon tournament play.  Five hours of tennis on a hot California day is a challenge to anyone, but there were no complaints from these campers . . . only a few sunburns.  Perhaps the most gratifying aspect of the camp is to see how the returning campers have improved.  This year’s finalists in the girls’ division included Kate Stuteville (Texas) and Krytal Kelley (Michigan), both of whom lost in the first round of the 2010 event.  While Stuteville was victorious in straight sets the real winner was improved tennis.  The boys’ final was the story of hopeful youth against a grinding veteran.  Ryan Nelson (Utah) was matched up against Chris Herman (Florida).  This was Ryan’s fourth camp/tournament and Chris’s first.  Nelson, who lost in last year’s final, finally had the gratification of winning this event.  Herman, who is only thirteen, became aware that he has a bright future in wheelchair tennis.  It will be exciting to see who comes to win next year.

We even had our fifteen minutes of fame as the Tennis Channel, Mission Viejo TV, and Orange County Register were out to film and write about the event.  Campers, coaches, and organizers were interviewed expressing their heartfelt gratitude for the camp and wheelchair tennis.

There are always several moving pieces when you put on an event like this.  There are so many to thank including the amazing volunteers who were as much a part of the camp as the campers themselves.  But clearly this camp is not possible without our major sponsors.  The International Tennis Federation and Cruyff Foundation founded these camps and continue to ensure they happen throughout the world.  The City of Mission Viejo annually goes the extra mile opening up the Felipe Tennis Center, marketing, and fundraising.  The United States Tennis association not only helps to fund the camp, but provides two full-time staff members throughout the week.  It is an amazing collaboration and would not be possible without any of these amazing sponsors.

Another year of the USTA/ITF International Junior Camp has come and gone.  Coaches, campers, organizers, and volunteers have all gone home with a few more people to call friends, some new tennis skills, and we hope plans to come again next year.  Thankfully we have more room and you are more than welcome to join us.
 
 

Back

 
Close