FROM NEW ORLEANS TO BARCELONA - Louisiana Junior Player Takes Game on the Road in Europe

June 19, 2002 10:39 AM

by Kelly Mickelson

Jonathan Leslie of New Orleans is playing for TENNIS:EUROPE’s USA National team competing in Europe this summer. Leslie, ranked in the top 100 nationally in the Boys’ 16 and under division, will be playing on a team comprised of fourteen top ranked Sectional and National junior players. They will compete against junior and adult players in tournaments and friendly competitions on red clay courts in Spain, Holland and Belgium.

“I am looking forward to getting a chance to play lots of tournaments and meeting new people,” said Jonathan. During the trip, Leslie will be coached by Eric Hayes, a former coach at North Carolina State and of Jared Palmer and Mary Pierce, and by Elizabeth Perry, an assistant coach at the University of Idaho. In addition to the tournament play, the trip also consists of tours of Barcelona, Amsterdam and Brussels.

Jonathan does have experience playing abroad. Last July, he spent three weeks in Israel playing on the US Junior Tennis Team in the Maccabiah Games. He was also a recent participant in the National Open and the Southern Closed. Upon his return from Europe, he will play in the USTA Super National Clay Court Championship beginning on July 14th. He is currently ranked 96th in the nation, 14th in the USTA Southern Section and fourth in the Louisiana Boys 16s division.

TENNIS:EUROPE has been providing opportunities for junior players to play tournaments in Europe for 30 years. This summer over one hundred juniors will participate in the program. Over 25 previous participants have gone on to play professional tennis and numerous graduates have played at the college level.

Founded in 1881, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in this country. In addition to owning the US Open and selecting members of the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, and Olympic teams, the USTA administers a variety of programs nationwide for players of all ages and ability levels. A not-for-profit organization, the association is divided into 17 sections, of which the USTA Southern Section is the largest. The 152,000 USTA members living in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee make up the USTA Southern Section, and account for approximately 25% of the total USTA membership. A professional staff housed in Norcross, GA carries out the USTA Southern Section's daily operations, but policy is formed and much of the organization's work is executed via a Board and committee structure of over 200 volunteers.