ROAD TO THE
2007 "LITTLE MO NATIONALS"
by Carol Weyman
The "Little Mo" is a program of the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation which furthers junior tennis development for boys and girls 8, 9, 10, 11 & under. The "Little Mo" began in 1976 for Dallas players and then expanded to include all players from Texas. In 1998, the "Little Mo" expanded to a national level and the "Road to the Little Mo Nationals" was created. The "Little Mo" is a nationwide, year-long circuit of fun, competitive tournaments culminating in a national champion being crowned in each age division. The "Little Mo" tournaments offer an opportunity for the younger player to compete against others who are the same age at the sectional, regional and national level.
The "Road" begins in the spring with a "Little Mo" Sectional tournament held in each of the seventeen sections for boys and girls. After the Sectional tournaments have been completed, the eight quarterfinalists from each age division will advance to the "Little Mo" Regionals in the summer. There are four regional "Little Mo" tournament sites: Atlanta, Georgia (East); Dallas, Texas (South); San Diego, California (West); and Homewood, Illinois (North).
After the completion of the Regional "Little Mo" tournaments, the four semifinalists from each age division will advance to the prestigious "Little Mo" Nationals. The "Little Mo" Nationals will have a prestigious draw of 16 players in each age division and the winner will be crowned "Little Mo" National Champion. The "Little Mo" Nationals is the only event in the country which offers the opportunity for a youngster to become a National Champion in Boys & Girls 8, 9, 10, 11 & under.
The popular "Little Mo" tournament, in its 31st year in Texas, is named in memory of its tennis champion namesake, Maureen Connolly, who was known as "Little Mo" In 1953, she was the first woman to capture the elusive Grand Slam by winning the Australian Championships, French Championships, Wimbledon, and U.S. Championships in the same calendar year. She was only eighteen years old when she accomplished that magnificent feat. From that time on, Maureen was known as the incomparable "Little Mo." In July 1954, "Little Mo" injured her leg in a horseback riding accident which ended her tennis career.
Although her tournament career was over, Maureen continued to promote her beloved game and in 1968, she joined her dear friend, Mrs. Frank A. Jeffett (Nancy) to co-found the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation. Unfortunately, her tragic death from cancer occurred six months later on the eve of Wimbledon at 34 years of age.
Today, the foundation continues to benefit countless numbers of boys and girls throughout the country and the world. Penn is the "Official Ball" of the "Road to the Little Mo Nationals"and Bonne Bell/Smackers is the "Official Lip Balm".
In 2006, the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation announced the popular "Little Mo" tennis tournament circuit is expanding to an international level with a new event called the "Little Mo" International Open. The tournament will be held in Austin, Texas from December 5-9, 2007.
The "Little Mo" International Open. will be available to any player from around the world who is 8, 9, 10, & 11 years of age. The international tournament will be the premier challenge for youngsters to compete against players from other countries who are the same age.The goal for the "Little Mo" International Open is for players to develop new friendships with players from other countries, provide outstanding competition, learn good sportsmanship and most of all, have fun. There will be no ranking points given in order to avoid putting pressure on players at this young age. The winner of each age division will be crowned an International "Little Mo" Champion. International players will play a Qualifying round to determine the four places in the Main Draw of eight players. The remaining four places will be filled by the top four USA players from the "Little Mo" Nationals tournament, which will be held October 20-23 at the Austin Tennis Academy in Austin, Texas.