Earl Monroe, a member of the New York Knicks for about nine years, including a championship season in their glory years, was on hand to present awards to the winning teams and individual finalists and champion of the Mayor’s Cup competition. Thus the almost nine day all scholastic competition in various categories was conducted by New York Junior Tennis & Learning, formerly called the New York Junior Tennis League.
Monroe, still very much connected with the Knicks, also is involved in tennis and was impressed with some of the netters including some of whom could go on to be future college All-Americans and tour players of ‘tomorrow.’ He believes that the sport of tennis is growing.
One player who certainly showed his skill at the USTA Naional Tennis Cennter was Justin Fields, a senior, number one player at Manhattan’s Beacon High School and sixth ranked in the East.
The first seeded Fields broke away from a 3-3 tie in the second set and turned back freshman Jordan Jordan of Astoria, 6-4, 6-4 in the Boys Varsity championship match. Fields is making plans to continue his tennis and education at State University of New York at Binghamton, a college that draws a lot of ranking tennis players.
Meanwhile, top seeded Brianna Williams of Canarsie, located in Brooklyn, defeated second seeded Sophia Kryloff of Staten Island, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 for the girls’ singles final.
Brianna’s mother Sherree came to New York from Trinidad and was responsible for her tennis.
“The key to the match was to stay positive for the entire match and to play my game,” said Williams, who attends Bronx Science High School
“This is my first time playing here (at the National Tennis Center),” she added “My goal is to try to be the best that I could be.”
Scherree got her daughter involved in the sport. “She wasn’t involved in tennis,” Williams said “She saw it on TV (television). My mother wanted for Chelsea my sister to also play this sport.
Meanwhile, Fields felt great playing on the same court as the pros do during the United States Open Tennis Tournament,
“I love the atmosphere here, and great players love playing here,” Fields said. “I wanted to win the tournament since my freshman year. My goal is to play someday at the US Open.
Fields committed four-double faults while Jordan only one while Jordan aced twice in the match.
Fields helped to pace Beacon to the team title a week prior to the individual final.
Justin was a good player with a great desire as a ninth grader. He wanted to be a lot better and he has worked himself into being one of the best players in New York City.
The middle school individual tournament winner belonged to Igor Maslov of Manhattan, and IS 236, who defeated seventh seeded, Alex Chiu, of MS 167, 7-5, 6-7, 6-3.
The Boys Varsity team winner went to Beacon.
“Young kids representing 167 of our after school program and community sites throughout the city, had a great time with their own games on separate courts and facilities at the National Tennis Center during the actual competition.
The New York Junior Tennis and Learning program, formerly the NYJTLeague is all about learning tennis in the class room and winning.
“In order to really explain what the NYJTL does, we wanted to change the name from league to learning,” said tournament chairman Ron Nano. “It’s a great program, It’s a great (day) with council members also in attendance.”