ADAPTIVE PLAYERS TAKE HOME SILVER
February 22, 2019
Carl Mower of Carmel, Indiana and Danny Scrivano of Shelby Township, Michigan both took home silver medals in their respective divisions at the 2018 TAP International Tennis Tournament held in Houston, Texas in December 2018. The tournament was the second International Standing Adaptive Tournament for Mower and the third for Scrivano.
The TAP International Tennis Tournament is for players who have physical conditions such as amputations, cerebral palsy, hemiplegia, dwarfism or congenital conditions and play in the standing position versus from a wheelchair. This tournament has categories or classifications based on the player’s condition and mobility like all adaptive or Paralympic-style sports. Mower and Scrivano both qualify for the A Category based on their conditions. Mower is such a strong player that he chooses to play up in the A1 Category with athletes with more mobility than he has.ADVERTISEMENT
We asked both players to tell us a little bit about themselves. We hope their stories motivate you to get out there and play more tennis!
My name is Carl Mower and I am 29 years old. I was born with no right leg femur bone and a shorter than normal left femur. I have been playing sports since the age of two. My first sport was baseball and I played all the way through fifth grade. Under “normal” circumstances, I would have likely seen how far that would have taken me. It became clear that I was going to have to select another sport. I tried soccer briefly but didn’t have the same love for it.
In the summer before sixth grade, I tried a two week tennis class at my middle school and I was hooked immediately. From there I played through high school in the competitive program at Carmel Racquet Club. I played three to six times a week, including junior USTA tournaments. I played four years at Carmel High School. While going to college, I began coaching at Carmel High School and coached girls and boys for seven years. Between my time as a player and coach, I was fortunate to be part of nine state championships and one runner up.
In October 2012, I began teaching as a tennis pro at Carmel Racquet Club. As a late starter (by junior standards) I was a late bloomer and am playing my best tennis in the last three to four years. I have played in USTA leagues and try to play as often as time will allow. Along with a handful of others, my hope is to help grow standing adaptive tennis in the United States and provide players such as myself more opportunities to play and get recognized.
I played in the 2018 TAP Open in Houston and finished in second place. This was my second appearance in this tournament after finishing third in 2016. Going into this tournament, I knew if I served at a high percentage that I would have a good chance. So I took my pace down to 80 % speed in order to have a high percentage. In the semis against a good player I was down 4-6, 1-4 and came to win the second set and then the ten point tie breaker. The biggest thing in that match that helped me was I didn’t feel like I was playing that well and it was still close. I knew it was a matter of time before things clicked. In the finals, I played someone who was a level better and my goal was to try and play solid serve games to put pressure on my opponent’s serve. Unfortunately, I was forced to serve bigger and my percentage dipped. As for working on my game, the serve is the most complicated stroke in tennis and as such I am always tweaking it in order to maximize the shot. I think my strength on a tennis court is the ability to “figure things out” and be able to adjust how I’m playing to fit the opponent. Most players can win with their A game. But the question is, can they win with their B or C game. I am currently ranked #5 in the world in Category A1.
I am 21 years old and I have lived in Shelby Township, Michigan my entire life. I played many sports while growing up, including tackle football, basketball, baseball, soccer, track and field and more. In high school, I played four years on the tennis team including three on varsity. I earned County Dream Team honors as a senior. I qualified with my High School Team for the State Finals all three years I played on varsity. I was one of three flights to win a match at the state finals my sophomore year. My USTA team and I advanced to the Midwest Sectionals in 2016.
I am also a two-time member of the U.S. Junior National Para Table Tennis Team. I have traveled to Spain, Romania and Costa Rica for International tournaments, as well as Las Vegas for U.S. Nationals and the U.S. Open with Team USA. I turned to Competitive Para (adaptive) Table Tennis in 2013 because there were no adaptive tennis tournaments for players who played standing like I do. Table tennis is well established and currently a Paralympic Sport. I have played alongside and against some of the top players in the world. I trained very hard in table tennis and it helped my tennis game dramatically. Table tennis requires the player to be very quick, develop strong footwork, learn spin, strategy and more. I was extremely intrigued when the TAP World tour reached out to me in 2016. I now have a tennis modality where I can compete with other athletes like me. I am back to playing competitive tennis and I could not be happier.
I have also competed in several National Adaptive Track and Field Events and was a two-time High School All American in the Long Jump. In 2016, I was invited to attend the U.S. Paralympic Team Trials for the Rio Games for my results in the Long Jump.
Currently, I work full time at a local hospital in the Nutrition Services Department. I am also a respite care provider, mentor and motivational speaker. In 2018, I began coaching tennis for my high school. I was the High School Girls JV-B Assistant Coach, and in 2019, I will take on the Head Coach position for the Girls JV-B Team. The Varsity Squad is consistently ranked in the top 10 in the State of Michigan.
I had a stroke at age two that left me paralyzed on the right side of my body. I play all sports completely one handed. I have recently developed scoliosis and I have a significant leg length discrepancy. I wear a leg brace to help with foot drop and knee hyperextension. I serve completely one handed. hold the racquet and the ball in my left hand, toss the ball and serve all in one motion.
I am happy to say that I competed in my third International TAP Tournament in Houston in December and won Silver. I did not lose a match until the finals. In my semi-final match, I won the first set 6-1. The second set, my opponent upped his game and I had to play extremely strong to beat him. This is the second time I have played Luis from Chile; this time in the finals. My strengths are my athleticism and my ability to move and cover the court. I also have a solid first serve and a good second serve with lefty spin that can be difficult for some. I can also make fairly good net shots. Luis outplayed me with consistency and pace. He was able to keep me running and is very good at ball placement. I look forward to playing him again. Luis is currently ranked second in the world and I am currently ranked fifth in the A Category. I am proud to say that I have wins against two of the top four players in the world.
I share my story in my motivational talks and my first book “Anything is Possible. Motivation to Get OutThere and Try,” which has been a huge success.
You can follow my athletic pursuits at www.facebook.com/ScrivanoParalympics. You can also find several my sports videos, media coverage and awards on YouTube and Google. My website is www.DannyScrivano.com.
Standing adaptive tennis is gaining momentum, both in the U.S. and abroad.
The USTA/Midwest Section is proud to have hosted the first-ever Standing Adaptive Tennis Tournament at Purdue University in August of 2018. Mower won gold and Scrivano took silver. Midwest tournaments for 2019 include East Lansing, MI and Carmel, IN. There are Standing Adaptive Tournaments and Programs popping up all over the US. International Tournaments are slated for Sweden and Houston in 2019 and Japan in 2020. The goal is to bring Standing Adaptive Tennis to the world stage!
The USTA/Midwest Section Adaptive Committee is excited to bring tennis to all! They have goals related to starting, introductory clinics, program sessions and tournaments, to help grow Adaptive Standing Tennis within the Midwest. If you know of someone who would qualify, we urge you to contact the USTA for more information. You can also check our Facebook page at USTA Midwest Adaptive Tennis or United States Adaptive Standing Tennis Coalition.
Mower: "I am excited about the fact that the USTA is getting involved as it means that this is becoming important to more people. That can only be a good thing. It means we are moving in the right direction. I’m fond of the word 'opportunity,' and opportunity should apply to everybody with a desire to play. It’s a lifelong sport so it’s never too late to pick up a racquet."
Scivano: "I am very happy that the USTA is taking notice and supporting Standing Adaptive Tennis. I would one day love to represent the USA in Grand Slam Tennis Tournaments as well as the Paralympics. I believe with the support of the USTA, that this can happen in my lifetime. I am also excited for younger athletes who are considering tennis as a sport they can play and play well. I get notes and emails all the time from parents of children who have had strokes like I have. They tell me that their child is trying tennis for the first time because they have watched my journey. The support of the USTA gives hope to many. Whether one wants to play recreationally or at the highest levels, tennis can truly be for everyone."