More than 1,100 tennis players forming 105 teams focused their energies on USTA Jr. Team Tennis State Championships held in Macon this past weekend.
Five sites were needed to accommodate the event, hosted by the Macon Tennis Association and held primarily on Bibb County public parks tennis courts. John Drew Smith Tennis Center acted as the main site. Players ages 8–18 competed in appropriate age/skill level divisions.
Jada Young of the ATL Skipper team took a nasty fall on court during her singles match, requiring a medical time out. A large bruise quickly formed on her left shoulder.
“I just fought through it,” said Young, who never considered giving up.
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Not only did the 9-year-old have to hop back up and finish her singles match (a 0-4, 4-1, 1-0 win over Cameron Rogin, Young had to play the mixed match, as well. She and partner Noah Cohen faced opponents Dylan Mallon and Hayden Mulberry but lost 4-0, 4-1.
“They kept hitting the ball (out wide), making Dylan get off the court,” Mulberry said. “Then they’d hit it down the middle.”
Mulberry utilized her net game to neutralize her opponents’ ball placement skills.
“I usually don’t do well on volleys,” she said, “but I got in there.
In Advanced 14U Gold, the CORTA-Arora team from Columbus won its trophies and Southern berths by beating ATL-Dockter by four points. But the division played a round-robin to determine its winner. The team’s final match against ATL-Saunders required a point to advance. Going into the fifth team match, Arora only needed four games to clinch its Southern berths.
Bense Medders and Chatham Cabelka defeated Matthew Terry and Aria M Ragas, 4-2, 4-0.
The pair stepped up its game and never looked back, capitalizing on a few unforced errors from opponents and hitting some winner volley shots, Medders and Cabelka scored their four games during the first set.
“I was so nervous from all the pressure,” Medders said. “After the second game I told my partner, ‘We got this.’ We turned it up a notch.”
“It was great. I can’t even explain it. We were so excited, yet we still had to finish out the match.”
In the 18U division, NEGTA-Turner played SCTA-Beck, and 15-year-old Ansley Parker and Avery Turner defeated Thomas Evans and Megan Beck, 2-4, 4-1, 1-0 (12-10).
“It‘s crazy,” Turner said about his teammates cheering him on. “It helps you.”
Peachtree City resident Logan Smith of SCTA-Beck was unaware he had clinched his team’s win after defeating Turner in the singles match, 4-0, 4-2.
“We had to win in order to win,” Smith said. “We practiced two times a week every week all summer.”