The USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows played host to the 2022 USTA Eastern Junior Team Tennis Sectional Championships, with the top teams from across the area gathering to compete for section supremacy.
“Team tennis is so special because in most individual sports you don’t get to use character traits such as collaboration, teamwork, empathy and leadership,” said Gustavo Loza. “Those types of skills are going to be helpful for these kids when they play in high school and college, as well as other aspects in life. We witnessed great quality matches as well as great camaraderie and team spirit during the whole weekend, which makes this program special.”
There were four divisions of play with the teams who advanced through Regionals competing against the teams from other Regions in the Section, with the goal of advancing to the National Championships later this year at the USTA National Campus in Florida.
Below are the results:
Winner: Team Gritty (Southern)
Finalist: Sportime Lynbrook (Long Island)
“I’m very proud of the way they played today,” said Vania De Los Reyes, the coach of Team Gritty. “They faced and overcame a lot of different challenges today while enjoying tennis at the same time. I love junior team tennis. This was something I wanted to do for my kids. The difference with our team is we're not club-related. It's a bunch of friends that my kids invited to play with, so our chemistry was just great.”
Winner: CourtSense (New Jersey)
Finalist: Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & Learning (Metro)
“It's a team event so it's always great. It doesn't come very often that everyone can come together and get a chance to play,” said CourtSense coach Rohan Goetzke. “It's really windy conditions today, so I'm impressed with how they handled that. Tennis is an individual sport, so having the chance for this team atmosphere is great, you really get that college team kind of feel.”
Winner: MTDZ (Southern)
Finalist: Binghamton (Western)
“I’m very proud of my team today,” said coach Mpande Simunyola. “We started very slow, yesterday we thought we wouldn't reach here, but we really pulled it together. Junior Team Tennis is so interesting; it brings the children to work together as a team. I truly believe it's the best way to introduce kids to this game."
Yume Abdel-Rahman, a player on the MTDZ team, added:
“I love JTT. Competing through everything with my friends makes this sport so much more meaningful."
Winner: Game Set Match (Long Island)
Finalist: USTA National Tennis Center (Metro)
“A lot of these players grew up together, I think that helped them a lot,” said Game Set Match coach Tito Perez. “They were inspired, for a lot of them this is their first chance at Nationals, and for some it might be their last."
Shashank Pennabadi, who plays for the Game Set Match team, added:
"We were down big at one point so we just had to keep up the communication and stay strong through the tough moments.”
14U Intermediate: Emma Palacio
14U Advanced: Miguel Londono
18U Intermediate: Lily Lengyez
18U Advanced: Yu Tanimoto