Future Tennis Stars Are Great Role Models
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I was asked to cover a tennis tournament at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, home of the U.S. Open in Queens, New York, recently.
As I watched the players on the court, I was amazed. Yellow fuzzy tennis balls whizzed by at great speeds during long volleys back and forth between the players. They grunted and groaned as they returned powerful serves.
But I wasn’t watching a professional match with top seeded players like Serena and Venus Williams. I was watching girls my own age! Actually, they are a little younger than me!
I was at the tennis center to report on the Longines Junior Tennis Challenge. Eight girls between the ages of 10 and 12 competed against each other for a trip to Paris this June. There the winner will compete against players from several other countries for a chance to play against tennis great Mary Pierce at the French Open. It was no wonder they were playing so hard!
I was really impressed by these young players and their skills on the court. What happened after the tournament impressed me even more.
These girls had all just played their hearts out and only one of them won the trip to Paris. But when they were done playing, they all sat down and ate lunch together. They were talking and laughing and no one was even the slightest bit upset. They all clapped and cheered for each other during the trophy presentations.
Since they all came from different towns, I was wondering if they knew each other before this tournament. They explained to me that they have been competing against each other since they were about 8 years old, so they have become friends. These girls were great sports both on and off the court!
Earlier I had asked some of the girls who were their role models in tennis. Of course, they had mentioned tennis greats such as Roger Federer and the Williams sisters. They also named their coaches, who provide them with so much inspiration.
I have to wonder if these girls realize that they themselves are great role models!
PHOTO: Kid Reporter Jacqueline Minoque with Longines Junior Tennis Challenge winner Lauren Fishbein at the Billy Jean King Tennis Center in Queens, New York, April 2010. (Photo Courtesy Jacqueline Minoque)