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JR. TEAM TENNIS

Nationals newbie enjoys “youngest” tag, 11th birthday

October 19, 2013 05:47 PM
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Photo Credit: Jennifer Pottheiser
 
Bryan Wang of San Jose came to South Carolina and celebrated a birthday with his USTA Northern California teammates. Even still, the 11-year-old is the youngest player in this year’s Jr. Team Tennis Nationals field.
 
By Sarah Houseknecht, special to USTA.com
 
Bryan Wang knew he was the youngest player on his USTA Northern California 14 & Under Intermediate team from San Jose, Calif., but little did he know that he was also the youngest male competitor in the entire 32-team field  at the 2013 Jr. Team Tennis  National Championships.
 
When he arrived in Cayce, S.C., on Thursday, he was just 10 years old. On Friday, Wang celebrated his 11th birthday than with a full day of tennis followed by a Jr. Team Tennis Player Social at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Center.
 
“Nationals has been a really amazing trip for me,” said Wang. “I see the hotels, I see the courts and facilities, and the people – overall it’s just been really cool.This is what I love to do.”
 
Facing competitors sometimes three years his senior, Wand admits he is at a slight advantage when it comes to speed and power.
 
“It’s definitely a small disadvantage, but with the right strategy, a big part is the mental game,” said Wang. “You can still win and gain mental advantages. It’s just really cool to have a lot of older kids play along with and against me.”
 
His experience at Nationals will definitely play in his favor later, added Wang. He said that he’s “still young” and “has time to refine his craft.”
 
“I started playing tennis recreationally as a 7-year-old. I really upped my game and started playing competitively last year, when I was 9,” he explained.
 
This is the first year Wang and his teammates have made it to Jr. Team Tennis National Championships. The competition has been intense, but Wang said it’s the new people and places that he’ll remember most.
 
“Team tennis is great because you have a lot of your friends that have the same passion for tennis that you do,” said Wang. “So if you can compete with your friends, you get a better bond and it’s a much cooler social experience than playing individually.”
 
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USTA Jr. Team Tennis brings kids together in teams to play singles, doubles and mixed doubles against other teams. It promotes social skills and important values by fostering a spirit of cooperation and unity, as well as individual self-growth. Also, it’s a fun environment for kids in which they learn that succeeding is really more about how they play the game – win or lose.
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