OVER the NET
By Ben Elliott
Welcome to the March/April edition of “Over the Net!” As we get into the new season, we will
be covering the most popular tournaments: the Yakima T.C. Girls Dual 5, Vancouver T.C. Boys Dual 5,
Seattle City Jr. Champs, West Hills R&FC Boys Dual 5, and the Rogue Valley S&TC Girls Dual 5.
Additionally, there will be an extra special interview with Mercer Island Country Club teaching pro
Jesse Walter on the design and implementation of a new junior tennis program. Now let us shift our
attention to the tennis prodigies of 2012!
The Girls Dual 5 was hosted at the Yakima Tennis Club on March 23-25. In 12U, Jaiva Virk won
the singles title 6-3, 6-4 against her opponent Nicole Knudtson as well as the doubles title with
Crystal Xu 9-7. Catherine Cable defeated her opponent Joyce Park in 14U, 6-0, 6-0. Madisyn Bryant
lost to Vivian Glozman 6-3, 6-1 in 16U. Vivian then went on to win her doubles with Michelle Wang
8-4. Lastly, Nora Tan won a close match over Angela Chen 3-6, 6-4, 10-8! Nice job everyone,
especially Nora and Angela!
The Vancouver Tennis Center hosted the Boys Dual 5 from March 23-25. In 12U, Alan Yim lost
to James Yu 6-3, 6-2 and then James also won doubles with his brother, Thomas. Number three
seed, Dylan King, defeated the number two seed, Hunter Egger, 7-5, 6-3 in 14U. Dylan King won 16U
doubles with Andrew Newell against Jamie Fisher and Daniel Foster 9-8. The champion of 16U
singles, however, was Nicholas Cable who beat Jamie Fisher 6-2, 6-2. Finally, Mitch Stewart won
18U singles against Brent Chin 6-3, 6-0. Mitch also took the doubles title with John Stormans against
Hudson Barnhart and Kent Andreasen 9-8.
Hosting an amazing two hundred and thirty-seven people, the Amy Yee Tennis Center in
Seattle was bustling with activity from April 12-15. In Boys 12U, Brandon Wong had a very close
match with Payton Namba and squeaked out the win 6-4, 0-6, 10-7. Number one seed Elizabeth
Stevens also had a close match with Anna Lowy, winning 7-5, 7-5 in Girls 12U. Ben Kirsh lost to
second seed Oscar Burney 7-5, 6-4 in Boys 14U. A face off in Girls 14U between number one seed
Luna Crawford and number two seed Chloe Goyette ended with Luna’s victory 6-3, 6-4. In Boys 16U,
Brian Hou claimed victory over Wyatt Demulling 6-3, 6-3. Michelle Wang defeated Charlie Naddeo
by the skin of her teeth 6-2, 4-6, 10-4 in Girls 16U. Boys 18U winner Vincente Varas beat the number
one seed Wendell Watanabe 4-6, 6-3, 10-3. Finally in Girls 18U, Maggy Lehmicke defeated
Samantha Hampton 6-4, 6-3. Wow, what an enormous tournament – thank you Director Kathy
Another Boys Dual 5 was held at the West Hills Racquet and Fitness Club from April 20-22.
Thomas Yu won Boys 12U against Joe Hardwicke 7-5, 6-1; then, quite unsurprisingly, paired up with
his brother James to win the 12U doubles against Spencer Cultice and Luke Lemaitre 8-2. Andrew
Newell defeated Ty Gentry 6-2, 7-5 in Boys 14U. In Boys 16U, Jamie Thorp won 6-4, 6-0 against
Jamie Fisher. Jamie also took the 16U doubles title with Wyatt Demulling after beating Dylan King
and Andrew Newell 8-3. Hudson Barnhart had similar success after defeating Iacopo Beltramo 6-0,
6-3 in 18U and then taking the doubles with Frederik Strabo 8-3 against Todd and Eric Fought.
The Rogue Valley Swim and Tennis Club hosted a Girls Dual 5 from April 20-22. In 12U, Julia
Rees lost to Alisa Kobayashi 6-1, 6-1. Girls 14U champion Madisyn Bryant beat Sabrina
RossNeergaard with the same score 6-1, 6-1. In Girls 16U, Michelle Lui was defeated by Samantha
Hampton 6-3, 6-2. Finally, in Girls 18U, Erin Larner won both her singles and doubles. Erin defeated
Grace Egger 6-3, 6-2 and then teamed up with Grace to beat Samantha Hampton and Nora Tan 8-2.
OVER the NET Interview
Jesse Walter, the new junior tennis coordinator for the Mercer Island Country Club, is developing a
junior program which is already wildly successful!
Ben Elliott: What are the benefits of designing and implementing a new junior program?
Jesse Walter: I get to build continuity throughout the whole program - from little guys to elites. I can
give the young ones good habits early on and it continues as they grow. I can also get my staff to
execute the workouts the way that best follows the plan.
BE: What is the ideal junior training program?
JW: Build from the bottom up. Get many little ones to love tennis from a young age. Proper
mechanics and discipline are stressed at the lower levels. It builds up to developing points and
learning how to execute tennis strategies. An ideal program incorporates fitness to build stamina and
strength as the player moves up into tournament play. I want my kids to learn to “play tired” in
practice so it carries over into tournament play in a grueling match. An ideal workout is a mix of
grinding drills with applied point playing to build the strength and improve the weaknesses of a
player. The program also incorporates pressure situations in workouts to prepare the player for
tournament play. The program isn’t complete unless the coaches see the students in action by
travelling to tournaments. This is essential for getting to know the player when the chips are down.
BE: What is your background and what do you love about tennis?
JW: I grew up in Yakima, WA. I was a two- time state high school tennis champ and top-ranked
junior in the USTA/PNW. I split my time between tennis and basketball throughout high school. I was
All-Conference in basketball my junior and senior year. I went to Seattle U. on a full tennis
scholarship. I was an All-American and was recently inducted in the Seattle University Athletic Hall of
Fame. I grinded out the minor leagues of professional tennis for four years, maintaining an ATP
ranking throughout. I was world-ranked as high as 778 in singles and 810 in doubles. I spent eight
years at the Boeing Employees Tennis Club. Now I’m junior director at Mercer Island Country Club.
I’ve been here for six months and the program is on a huge upswing with an influx of new players and
pros. What I love most about tennis is the challenge it poses to the player. I equate it to boxing.
Facing the battle, believing in yourself and conquering an opponent. Learning to problem solve on a
tennis court is a valuable life lesson.
BE: What is the most valuable tennis technique to master?
JW: The forehand technique is most valuable to develop for a player. Proper mechanics are
necessary on the forehand not only to create offense with a penetrating shot to the corners but also
to play defense with a high rainbow spinner to keep your opponent back.
Thanks for your time and insight Jesse!
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