Photo: ITFCruyff Foundation-USTA Junior Camp
A total of 50 players have taken part in the Cruyff Foundation Junior Camps for the Americas and Europe-Africa over the last two weeks.
The Cruyff Foundation-USTA Junior Camp saw 31 Juniors from six different countries come together at Mission Viejo in Southern California. Argentina, Chile, Guatemala, Mexico, Canada and USA all were represented by coaches and players.
Every morning the Juniors undertook training led by the experienced coaches, focusing on mobility, stroke production and match tactics. All the Juniors worked hard together, assisting each other in understanding the different languages present. The first afternoons saw the start of the Junior tournament, which was contest by 22 boys and eight girls, all keen to utilise the opportunity to put into match practice the things learnt in training.
On the Tuesday of the camp there were two visitors in attendance. Brad Parks, the founder of the wheelchair tennis, came to meet the campers and give them some insight into the game. The Juniors then also benefitted from some advice from David Wagner, the current world No. 1 quad player.
Wagner joined in with the morning coaching clinics, visiting all the different groups, encouraging the junior players and giving them the opportunity to ask questions. The Juniors were also fortunate enough to be invited to Warner Bros on one day of the camp to meet US late night show Conan O’Brien.
Coaches and players alike had a great week, learning off each and other and bringing enthusiasm and an eagerness to learn to the courts. Lizbeth Soto of Mexico won the girls’ singles event, beating Auburn Smith (USA) in the final. Chris Herman (USA) beat Carlos Muro (Mexico) in the boys’ event.
Ten nations represented at European-African Camp
The Cruyff Foundation European-African Camp in Edegem, Mechelen, Belgium hosted 19 Juniors from ten different countries, with many players attending for their first time. Netherlands, Great Britain, Russia, Switzerland, Sweden, Belgium, Croatia, Greece, South Africa and Morocco were all represented.
Amongst the coaching staff was Robin Amerlaan (NED), who during the morning training sessions was able to provide the players with a unique opportunity for visual demonstrations of some of the movement and stroke patters in the sport.
The mornings once again consisted of coaching, with tournament play in the afternoon. For many players this was their first time competing in a tournament and all players benefited greatly from the experience.
The winner of the girls’ event was Luz Esperanza Merry (GBR), who defeated Nalani Buob (SUI) in the final. The boys’ winner from the Netherlands, who beat the tournament top seed, was Mitch Graauw (NED) who defeated Stijn Chiers (BEL).