At most sporting events, large TV screens, team mascots and booming sound systems are used to provide entertainment and generate cheers from a crowd of fans. At the JTT 14U National Championships, none of these extra elements are available, or even needed. That’s because the level of sportsmanship and enthusiasm from the players are all these fans need to get excited.
"The crowds here are so supportive of the players," said a fan from the Fridley Advanced Northern team. "Tennis matches aren’t notorious for having loud cheering sections but this tournament has had a terrific group of fans."
In addition to the energetic spectators and teammates lined along the courts, there is another element of the tournament that has certainly caught everyone by surprise.
"The level of sportsmanship has been unbelievable," commented a spectator from the LTC World Class team. "Parents, players and coaches have not only shown support for their own team, but have also clapped and rallied for the opposing team as well. It’s been wonderful to see."
To recognize this continued support for one another, the USTA will present two players from the Jr. Team Tennis 14 and Under National Championships with Sportsmanship Awards to honor the positive tennis etiquette they demonstrated throughout the weekend. Joshua Gearou of USTA Northern won the award for the 14U Advanced division.
"Its more of a team effort here than at most tournaments," said Gearou. "I have to thank my teammates for picking me up and cheering during my match."
Joanne Ryan, a volunteer at this year’s event, experienced something this weekend that left her speechless. "I am truly in awe of each of these young players," she stated. "I never expected to see such maturity in children so young. It’s great to have witnessed where the tennis stars of tomorrow began."
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