All Comers Camp
Erin Maher | March 31, 2019
The first USTA Wheelchair Tennis All Comers Camp of the year, held at Sports Mall in Salt Lake City, from Feb. 28 – March 3 was a huge success. The camp was sponsored by the USTA and Utah Tennis, and had 25 participants from all over the country attend and learn wheelchair tennis skills, on-court drills and gain high exposure to the sport.
Each year, the USTA hosts multiple All Comers Camps, which are immersive three-day tennis camps for wheelchair tennis players. Players of all skill levels, from juniors to professional, are welcomed. The camp focuses on sharpening the technical skills of the players through on-court instruction and play. The camp has also served as talent and player identification source for potential professional wheelchair tennis players.
The Salt Lake City All-Comers Camp was run by Team USA Wheelchair Tennis Coach Jason Harnett, USTA Wheelchair Tennis Manager Jason Allen and coach John Devorss. ADVERTISEMENT It was organized with the help of Laurie Lambert, the Executive Director of the Utah Tennis Association.
“All Comers Salt Lake City is an incredible camp because the participants have an opportunity to play with so many other players in wheelchairs from all over the country in one place at the same time,” said Lambert. “It’s a rare treat for each camp participant to see so many different wheelchair tennis athletes and learn from each other.”
Players participated in 20 hours of instructional time, including live ball drills, point play and tournament play. The evenings were spent with open court play for two to three hours. One day was also spent playing a round robin tournament, giving players match experience. Players often spent time after scheduled time on the courts, hitting with fellow campers until late into the night.
The Salt Like City campers also had an extra special experience, when Brad Parks, the Founder of wheelchair tennis, came by to visit. Parks, who was a skiing prodegy, was paralyzed in an accident that changed his life forever. In 1976, after Parks was injured, was he looking to get back into competitive sports, and thus began wheelchair tennis. He subsequently went on to become a Gold Medal Olympian, a 3-time Grand Slam champion and an International Tennis Hall of Fame inductee. Parks spent the afternoon having lunch with the campers, and engaging and inspiring campers.
“The campers could not believe Brad [Parks] came,” said Harnett. “They have only heard of him, but never met him. It was a fantastic day for all of us.”
For all the dates and locations of the USTA’s 2019 All Comers Camps, click here.