U.S. junior team finishes off World Team Cup campaign
Comprised of four rookies, Team USA sent a delegation to compete in the junior event at the BNP Paribas World Team Cup, the premier national team event in wheelchair tennis, for the first time since 2017 last week in Sardinia.
A co-ed team made up of 13-year-old Charlie Cooper (La Quinta, Calif.), 18-year-old Angelina 'Gaila' Fosbinder (Charlotte, N.C.), 14-year-old Maylee Phelps (Portland, Ore.) and 13-year-old Max Wong (Flushing, N.Y.), coached by John Devorss, donned the red, white and blue for the first time in an international competition, joining their counterparts on the professional teams in the men's, women's and quad ranks.
The rookies were drawn into a round-robin group that featured experienced teams from the Netherlands, France and Great Britain, and ultimately finished in eighth place.
"It was fun to be here and as for my matches, it was a nice experience playing against players from around the world. Now I know what I'm up against," Wong said. "I need to work harder, train harder, back at home and I know what to work on. I made friends with my teammates and it was nice overall for the first time here."
In the 7-to-8th place playoff on Sunday, the final day of competition, Team USA fell to Turkey, 2-0. Against Celil Cetiner, Phelps pushed her singles match to three sets before falling, 6-1, 4-6, 7-5, and the Americans were nonetheless honored with the Team of the Year award at the close of play.
A highlight for Team USA came in their 3-0 group stage setback against France. They nearly came away with a victory, as Cooper battled in a marathon three-set loss with the U.S. delegation supporting him courtside.
"I played well and I had match points, but I just couldn't finish it today. I felt the energy and I always do better when there are more people there. Hearing my name a lot just pumps me up and I get ready to go. It helps me focus and to have something to win for," Cooper said. "This was my second match ever in the World Team Cup, and I had fun. It's a blast out here and I'm hopeful to get to more of these and win some soon."
The wheelchair equivalent of the Billie Jean King Cup and Davis Cup, the World Team Cup has featured a junior competition since 2000, in which Team USA has won four titles: 2000, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
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