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Surprise Staff Excited About Jr. Team Tennis Future

October 30, 2011 07:21 PM
USTA Jr. Team Tennis National Manager Marikate Murren (center) sees a great future for youth tennis in America.
By Kyle Kuhnel, special to USTA.com

SURPRISE, Ariz. - The 2011 Jr. Team Tennis Championships are an annual two-week showcase, presenting some of the best junior players in the country. Universally, players spend countless hours training and preparing themselves for the three-day tournament - yet  ask any team and they will tell you that they prepare for the event in their own unique way – and they do. 
Just as much as the players, coaches and parents, it is the dedication and teamwork behind the scenes that make this event so special and a true representation of the American spirit.
"It takes countless hours and a great staff to pull off an event like this," said Marikate Murren, USTA Jr. Team Tennis National Manager.  "Preparations for next year have already started, but the heavy lifting beings approximately eight months prior. Most of it is securing contracts with facilities, hotels, getting activities prepared, and thinking about how we can create an exciting, fun experience for the players."
"Adrienne DiMenna (Jr Team Tennis National Coordinator) is absolutely incredible and goes to great lengths to ensure our event is not just a tennis championship," added Murren. "We want children to meet other kids from different walks of life and different parts of the country. I believe Jr. Team Tennis is the program that could change youth sports through camaraderie, teamwork, and sense of community."
The USTA has been committed to growing youth participation, so it’s a badge of honor for the organization that the Jr. Team Tennis format is more popular than ever.  If offers children the opportunity to compete in a teambuilding atmosphere in what is traditionally viewed as an individual sport.
"Research shows that if you don’t get a child by the age of 13, you probably won’t get them because there are many other distractions - the 10 & Under initiative and rule change have created opportunities to get more children in the game at younger age and we are already seeing that Jr. Team Tennis will be the beneficiary," said Murren.
With more children playing tennis across the country, Murren believes that Jr. Team Tennis offers participants the opportunity to bond with children from different cultures and all walks of life.
"We encourage all teams to express themselves through the unique flavor of their region.  The team banner and gift exchange are two ways in which the teams show-off their hometown spirit, and it’s great to see kids from all areas of the country hanging-out together and having fun."


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