USTA Eastern Named Player Development Section of the Year

April 29, 2020

This is a challenging time for the sport, but here is a little good news: USTA Eastern was recently named the 2019 Team USA Player Development Section of the Year as part of the annual Team USA Coaching Awards. Other recipients included Corey Gauff (father to rising star Coco), who was named Developmental Coach of the Year, and Jay Berger, the head men's coach for Team USA at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics in London and Rio, respectively, who was named Legendary Coach. USTA Eastern is in good company.


From the USTA press release:


USTA Eastern has developed one of the strongest junior pipelines in the nation and has created incredible opportunities for junior competition. A number of USTA Eastern juniors had success at Grand Slam events in 2019, including Eliot Spizzirri (Greenwich, Conn.), who captured the boys’ doubles title at the US Open, Alexa Noel (Summit, N.J.), who made the Wimbledon girls’ singles final, and Cannon Kingsley (Northport, N.Y.), who reached the boys’ singles quarterfinals and doubles final at the Australian Open and the US Open boys’ singles semifinals. Eleven other USTA Eastern athletes participated in the 2019 US Open, headlined by Kristie Ahn (Upper Saddle River, N.J.), who reached the fourth round. Further, 15 Eastern juniors scored top results at national championships in 2019, with 11 capturing gold ball tournaments, including Stephanie Yakoff, who won the Junior Orange Bowl and also reached the Easter Bowl semifinals and Clay Court Finals in the Girls’ 14s division.


Last year, Eastern held 16 Early Development Camps under the direction of Richard Bowie, Todd Doran, Alex Cole, Sasha Bluestone and Kat Sevcikova, and 40 Eastern players received the opportunity to attend two Team USA Camps. The department also organized the second installment of the Big Apple International Cup, a team tournament that has top 12- and 14-and-under squads from Israel, Mexico, Spain and other countries across the globe facing off against each other.


"The Eastern Section always has a steady stream of players performing throughout the whole pathway, from top juniors nationally to the international level, and this showed in 2019,” said Johnny Parkes, Senior Manager, Player ID and Development. “The Section exudes professionalism, dedication and commitment as they provide supplemental training and competitive opportunities for players, coaches and parents. A big congratulations to [Senior Director of Competition] Julie Bliss Beal and the entire Eastern Section for their support of the coaches, parents and players throughout the section as they work together developing players at every level of the pathway."


Members of the USTA Eastern Coaches Commission who have led the way include Gordon Uehling, Lawrence Kleger, Rich Reyes, Katerina Sevcikova, Jay Devashetty,  Ogi Nikolovski, Greg Lumpkin, Zuka Mukhuradze, Ahsha Rolle, Ari Roberts, Tom Clear and Adrian Contreras.


Congratulations to all Eastern coaches, parents and players for helping make the section one of the strongest in the country. The section could not have earned this honor without your continued input, creativity and support.



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