News & Features
USTA Junior Team Defeats University of Miami Men in Exhibition
by Colette Lewis
, 12 February 2009
No one knew what to expect - not the USTA, not its young players, not the University of Miami team or its coach. It was uncharted territory when a veritable all-star team of juniors met a top Division I men's program in the standard college dual match format last week.
So perhaps the juniors' 6-1 win over the 23rd ranked and injury-riddled Hurricanes couldn't really be considered a surprise. But expectations aside, both teams got what they wanted - match play against tough competition.
"In Division I, you are always looking for ways to get more competition, and this is one of the (NCAA) exceptions," said Erica Perkins, Manager of Junior and Collegiate Competition for the USTA, whose collegiate coaching career prior to joining the USTA gave her insight into the value of such an exhibition.
"A good coaching friend of mine mentioned that if you create a junior national team, sponsored by the governing body, then it doesn't count as a date. So that kind of piqued my interest when I first started, and then Timon (Corwin, Managing Director of Junior and Collegiate Competition) and I ran with it from there."
Proposal in hand, Perkins and Corwin approached Jay Berger, the USTA's head of men's tennis and a former coach of the Miami men's team, and Ola Malmqvist, the USTA's head of women's tennis who coached at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.
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