2009 "LITTLE MO" INTERNATIONAL OPEN presented by Babolat at Club Med Sandpiper Port Saint Lucie, Florida
December 15-19, 2009
Tuesday, December 15th-Day One Qualifying
Three years ago, I was lucky enough to cover the very first "Little Mo" International Championship. I was in awe of the talent of some of those youngsters and a few (like Sachia Vickery and Thai Kwiatkowski, for example) have continued to prove themselves as they aged through the junior tennis divisions. After skipping 2007 (there was no event in 2008), I am back at for another look at the
future of junior tennis, with the excitement and fun that Maureen "Little Mo" Connolly would have loved.
This year' "Little Mo" International Championship. is at at Club Med Sandpiper. and the entrants for the (open) qualifying included 150 kids from 13 countries. I didn't arrive until the end of the opening ceremonies thanks to a storm (that fortunately didn't come near Port Saint Lucie). Also missing the opening due to weather was former "Little Mo" (and professional)
player Luke Jensen, but there were plenty on hand to witness Councilman Chris Cooper, Tournament Director Rick Workman and Maureen Connolly Brinker's Carol Weyman welcome the players. There was a parade of countries, led by Jeremy Efferding, a top junior who was also once a "Little Mo" champion.
Qualifiers will have plenty of time to prove themselves before Friday's main draw as every player in every division will play each other in round robin format. Spectators from the hotel joined families and coaches to watch the full day of matches. I got to see a bit today that varied from a few seven year olds who had never played a match, to 11 year old Ingrid
Neel, whom I saw play last week at Eric Butorac's Minnesota Tennis Challenge, against professional Bethanie Mattek-Sands (holding her own quite nicely).