2018 Master'U Blog:
Greetings from France
Coach Greg Patton | November 29, 2018
As Team USA looks to reclaim the Master’U BNP Paribas title and win the event for the eighth time in the last 10 years, Greg Patton – one of three Team USA coaches and the former Boise State men’s tennis head coach – will be writing a blog for USTA.com during the team’s stay in France. Stay tuned for daily updates, as competition is slated for Nov. 30-Dec. 2.
Team USA is chomping at the bone and competitive juices are flowing to get started with our appearance at the Master’U BNP Paribas International Collegiate Team Competition in Grenoble, France.
The eight-team competition for bragging rights as the top collegiate nation begins Friday morning, and our team of American collegiate standouts can't wait to begin.
The U.S. team comprises three men and three women from six universities who are the best and the brightest American collegiate players. ADVERTISEMENT I will be joined by coach Amanda Augustus (California) and assistant Garrett Patton (Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo), and we are raring to go. Our team consists of two returnees from last year's team, Brandon Holt (USC) and Ashley Lahey (Pepperdine), and they are joined by Oliver Crawford (Florida), Emil Reinberg (Georgia), Jada Hart (UCLA) and Maria Mateas (Duke).
Team building started early, as we spent hours on the airplane sharing thoughts and excitement as we flew across the Atlantic on Monday. Once we were off the plane in Lyon, France, we high-tailed it to Grenoble to immediately hop onto the practice courts. There was no thought about sleep deprivation, as our players were hungry coyotes on the tennis prairie, desperate to "bang" tennis balls on French soil.
Wednesday and Thursday were magic, with the players spending glorious hours bonding during tennis practice, meals and team meetings. The emphasis was that Master’U is a glorious team tournament in which the USA has won the world championship seven out of the past nine years we have participated.
The list of former players is impressive and also inspiring to our 2018 team: Steve Johnson, Irina Falconi, Austin Krajicek, Noah Rubin, Chris Eubanks, Danielle Collins, Evan King, Marcos Giron, Mackenzie McDonald, Francesca DiLorenzo, Hayley Carter, Jacqueline Cako, Jarmere Jenkins, Lauren Embree, Maria Sanchez, Thai-Son Kwiatkowski, Tom Fawcett and Nathan Pasha are just a few of the incredible talents who have represented the USA and went on to play on the professional circuit.
There are so many lessons to be learned from this week of sparkling, intense, team-tennis competition:
1. Most importantly, our American players must find and develop the talent to utilize their talent.
2. To "feel" the joy and empowering strength of playing for their country in international team competition.
3. To bind as a "tennis family," playing primarily for each other.
4. Their greatest "teachers" are their teammates. The fact that these six players, who had previously looked at each other as competitors, are now experiencing and embracing each other as teammates and more importantly, as friends, is special. No one understands the pressure they experience more than each other. We tap into that feeling to build trust, purpose, passion, learning and emotional, physical and mental support.
Great people make great teams. Great teams make great players.
Essentially we are exposed to the beauty and concept of play here. We have the opportunity to "lose" ourselves in different and creative team games to ignite the competitive soul. Practices start and end with countless competitive games that get our competitors staring in incredulity and amazement. We "own" the playground.
Thursday night at the opening ceremonies, we learn our draw. The seeds are:
1. Great Britain
We can't wait to rock this week in France!