Braswell, Krug named to USTA Junior Leadership Team

May 01, 2017

Jonah Braswell and Ava Krug have been named to the second USTA Junior Leadership Team, which recognizes the finest U.S. junior tennis players who exhibit leadership, sportsmanship and character on and off the court.

Braswell and Krug are among 32 players nationwide named to the USTA Junior Leadership Team. Each player was nominated by his or her USTA section for excellence in tennis and in the community.


“These players truly are role models who exhibit character well beyond their years, both on the tennis court and in the community,” said Bill Mountford, the USTA’s Director of Junior Tournaments. “We’re happy to have a way to give them some of the recognition they truly deserve with the USTA Junior Leadership Team.”

Braswell, 13, a resident of Sarasota, Fla., was the No. 1-ranked player in the USTA Florida junior rankings in the 12-and-under age group, and he reached No. 5 nationally. He has already ranked No. 14 in Florida’s 14-and-under bracket and No. 74 nationally. Braswell was a 2016 Eddie Herr singles finalist and doubles champion, and he was part of a group of juniors to practice with the U.S. Davis Cup team in Birmingham, Ala., this past February. Additionally, he participates in his church youth group.  

Krug, 11, from Lakewood Ranch, Fla., has been ranked as one of the Top 30 12-and-under players in the USTA girls’ national standings and one of the Top 5 12-and-under girls in the USTA Florida Section. She recently reached the quarterfinals in the 12-and-under singles bracket at the prestigious Easter Bowl junior tournament in Indian Wells, Calif.

Each year, more than 120,000 players compete in USTA junior tournaments. Players compete in levels of competition through earned advancement in the 10s, 12s, 14s, 16s and 18s age divisions. USTA junior tournaments help kids take their game as far as they want – high school, college or pros – or just have fun competing.

In their own words...

Jonah Braswell: I have played tennis pretty much my whole life. My dad is the director of tennis at a country club in Sarasota called Laurel Oak Country Club. My dad has always been my coach. When I was little, I played tennis for fun and played other sports, as well. I started getting more serious at tennis when I was 6 or 7 years old. I played a tournament when I was 8 and had to play my older brother in the finals, and lost, 6-0, 6-0. Playing against my older brother is always tough, but I know that it has helped me to be tougher over the years. I have always been very competitive, and that’s one of the reasons that I think I have done well in tennis.

My first big tournament win was the Little Mo Nationals when I was 9 years old. When I was that age, I wasn’t that talented. I could get my serve in and rally, but I wasn’t as talented as some of the other kids. The reason I won the tournament was because I was very competitive and could stay calm when things weren’t going well. I’ve gotten taller, stronger and better at the net, and my footwork is better now.

Being a good sport is important to me because if you have bad sportsmanship you will have a bad reputation. Your character matters more than anything. I have good sportsmanship because if I win or lose I will look my opponent in the eyes and shake their hand and tell them good match. I also try and tell my opponents good shot when they do something well. If I hit a great shot, I will get pumped up, but I won’t get in their face, and I am always fair.

Ava Krug: Tennis has taught me so many things. It has taught me the importance of hard work – that in order to get the results I want, I have to work for it. Nothing is given – everything is earned. I have learned the importance of setting goals and working hard every day to achieve them. I have learned how to deal with adversity and how to fight for myself. I have learned how to grow from my losses.



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