| By Adam Wolfthal
Photo credit: Adam Wolfthal

The West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, N.Y. is hosting the Nesquik “Little Mo” International Open, Aug. 19-25. The “Little Mo” is an international tennis tournament for boys and girls ages 8-12 which is part of a series of tennis tournaments put on throughout the United States by the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation. In 1953, Maureen Connolly became the first woman, and only American to achieve the Grand Slam in tennis, winning all four major championships in one calendar year at the age of 18. This feat secured her place in tennis history, and from that point forward, she was known as the incomparable “Little Mo.” After her retirement from the game the following year due to a horseback riding accident, she dedicated her life promoting the sport she loved, eventually founding the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation. The Foundation sponsors events including the Little Mo international open, Little Mo Nationwide circuit, Mini Mo tournament, as well as international competitions including the MCB cup and Maureen Connolly Challenge Trophy where American girls face off against Australia and Great Britain respectively.

With Nesquik as the presenting sponsor, this tournament looks to already be a huge success, as the players arrived on Sunday for a tour of the grounds and the first couple hours of practice on the courts to get used to the Clay. After observing the grandeur of the former site of the U.S. Open, the boys and girls gathered on the grass courts in front of the West Side clubhouse for the opening ceremonies where all rules of play for the tournament were announced for the players and their parents. Staying in the custom of The West Side Tennis club, players were dressed in “all white” tennis gear for the ceremony as they will be for the whole tournament. The pinnacle of excitement unfolded as a procession led by Quiky the Nesquik bunny headed from the grass courts to the stadium court where the eager fans waited to see the spectacle. Each player held a flag representing the country that s/he hailed from, and after arriving and encircling the court a few times, the players were introduced one by one by name and hometown.

With more than 200 players signed up to compete, this is one of the largest junior tournaments that most of the players have yet to participate in. The Main Singles Tournament format is a 32-person draw with first match loser consolation bracket in each of the five age divisions for boys and girls, as well as 16-team Doubles Tournament in each of the age groups.

For many players, Friday, Aug. 23 will be the highlight of this amazing week of tennis, regardless of whether they are playing in the finals that morning. The top-ranked men's doubles team in the world and Olympic Gold Medalists, Bob & Mike Bryan, will host a clinic for all “Little Mo” players at The West Side Tennis club from 1:30 p.m.-3:00 p.m. Following the clinic, the Bryans will face off in an exhibition match against former “Little Mo” champion, Christian Harrison & Max Miryni a former number one doubles player on the historic stadium court. Spectators are welcome to join the festivities.

For more information on the Nesquik “Little Mo” International Open, contact Tournament Chair Carol Weyman by phone at (214) 754-7065 or e-mail at Cartennis@aol.com.

Credit all photos to Adam Wolfthal

It was an international affair at the West Side Tennis Club as juniors from around the world proudly represent their respective nations at the Nesquik “Little Mo” International Open


The Nesquik Bunny joins in the festivities of the 2012 “Little Mo” International Open


Players enter the historic West Side Tennis Club for the Opening Ceremonies


Participants get ready for action at the 2012 Nesquik “Little Mo” International Open


The players introduce themselves to the crowd