The top national teams playing in this weekend’s 2010 USTA Jr. Team Tennis National Championships received a pleasant surprise at the annual player party on Thursday, October 21. Not only did they get a chance to meet two of the top players on The Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Championships tour in Surprise, Ariz., Mark Philippoussis and Aaron Krickstein, they received guidance about how to stay motivated with their tennis careers and education – and got the chance to see some incredible tennis in action.
Krickstein and Philippoussis spent about 15 minutes with the children before their 7:00 p.m. match-up against one another on Thursday evening. The coaching session was followed by a short Q & A, in which some of the kids had the chance to ask the players about their dreams & aspirations on and off the court.
Concurrent with the USTA Jr. Team Tennis 14U National Championships, The Cancer Treatment Centers of America Championships at Surprise, featuring the stars of the Champions Series, is taking place October 20-24 at the Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex in Surprise, Ariz. As part of the festivities, Jr. Team Tennis participants attended a night of matches on Thursday, and were recognized by the likes of Jim Courier, John McEnroe and Jeff Tarango.
Mark Philippoussis, currently ranked No. 1 on the Championship Series, is considered to be one of the hardest hitters in the history of Australian tennis. Born in Australia, Philippoussis’ style of play is to hit every shot hard and can often hit groundstrokes at the same speed as some player’s serves. His career highlights include reaching his first Grand Slam final at the 1998 US Open, entering the top 10 ranking in 1999 for the first time in his career, staying there 11 weeks, and owning a total of 14 career titles (11 in singles, 3 in doubles). Like many of you, he began playing tennis at age 6.
Aaron Krickstein, who reached his highest ranking of No. 6 on the ATP World Tour in 1990, was coached early in his career by Nick Bollettieri. A Boca Raton, Florida native, he won the U.S. National 18s titles in the Indoor, Clay, and National categories at age 16. Krickstein turned his amazing junior career into an impressive pro career and is best known for being one of the most tenacious players in the history of tennis, winning 28 times in five-set matches (11 times from two sets down). During his 13 years playing on the ATP World Tour, he spent five years in the world’s Top 10, and owns a total of nine career titles.