schools Jr. Fed Cup field
Arthur Kapetanakis | September 29, 2019
Smooth operator Connie Ma has cruised through the Junior Fed Cup field, dropping just 10 games in four singles matches to help Team USA reach its sixth straight final in the competition. The lone returner from the 2018 title-winning team, she's also won every doubles set she’s played in three matches on the week.
What the diminutive 16-year-old lacks in height and power, she more than makes up for in grace.
"Hitting cleanly, stuff like that, is a big part of my game... just timing," said Ma, who agreed that “smoothness” is a fitting descriptor for her tennis.
While Ma’s all-court game sets her apart from many hard-hitting juniors, it’s just one of many differentiators for the California kid.
She also attends high school in person, full-time (rather than online, like most top juniors) in her hometown of Dublin, Calif., and plans her relatively limited tournament schedule around classes.ADVERTISEMENT
She swept the singles and doubles (with Anna Campana) titles at the USTA Junior National Championships this January, an event she entered because it was during her school’s winter break, and later reached the International Spring Championships singles final in April during spring break.
The high school junior won’t be playing many tournaments for the rest of 2019, as she preps for the SATs. She’s looking into Stanford—the two-time defending NCAA champs, whose campus is a short drive from Ma’s home—as well as some Ivy League schools, among others. While her college of choice is yet to be decided, she is set on continuing her education, rather than trying to go straight onto the professional tour.
That’s not to say that she doesn’t have long-term WTA Tour ambitions. After seeing her 2018 Junior Fed Cup teammate Coco Gauff make her professional breakthrough this summer, Ma hopes to eventually join her compatriot—and the rest of the promising next generation of young Americans—at the highest level.
“American women are doing really well right now, and that motivates me to get to the same level as them and be right there where they are,” she said.
“I hope that we can follow in their footsteps.”
Ma will put her perfect record on the line in Sunday's final against the Czech Republic, when she is once again slated to compete in singles and doubles, alongside Robin Montgomery. Tennis Channel will feature live coverage of the match, with live streaming, scores and full schedules are available on the USTA National Campus Junior Davis and Fed Cup homepage. For more information, visit the ITF website.
Highlights and more can be viewed on the USTA's Twitter page.