The second annual Big Apple International Cup brought some of the best junior players in the world to the United States Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. as teams from Brazil, Canada, Israel, Mexico, Spain and the United States competed against one another.
“The Big Apple Cup is a great way to see them compete against players from different countries, and most importantly, it’s a learning experience for them to play as a team,” said Francisco Barrientos, head coach of Team USA, which was comprised of players from the Eastern section. “Overall, it’s a great opportunity for our players in the Eastern section to experience and play against kids who grew up and trained in a different way.”
The week-long event featured competitive matches across the various courts at the National Tennis Center as the players got the opportunity to play on the same grounds used by the professionals during the U.S. Open. The competition was played in a Team Tennis format with the two top teams from the 12U and 14U division advancing to the finals on the event’s final day.
“It’s awesome,” Cooper Williams said of the event. “It’s a team environment, and so once you finish your match, win or lose, you’re team can still win. It’s not completely dependent on you and you can cheer for other people…All these kids are really good. It’s always great to play against players from different countries who may play a different way, it’s great for your game.”
Kamil Pajkowski, Team Canada’s head coach, discussed the impact this type of experience can have for his players.
“It’s a great development opportunity,” he said. “They get to come to New York and experience one of the best cities in the world, and get to play at the home of the U.S. Open. It’s like you’re living this little dream; this is what the future may have in store for them. It can be an inspirational thing. And they love the fact they come out here and meet new players. Some of these partnerships and relations that are formed can last for years. It’s an amazing experience that we think is so valuable for them, more valuable than any individual tournament they may go to.”
Big Apple Cup Results:
12U Champions: Team Spain
14U Champions: Team USA
“We are happy with the outcome of the second edition of the Big Apple Cup, we had a great week of tennis with top level and amazing camaraderie from all teams,” said Gustavo Loza, Tennis Service Representative for USTA Eastern’s Metro Region and organizer of the Big Apple Cup. “It is in these types of events that the character and leadership skills from young players are created and developed. We are constantly looking to create opportunities for our Eastern players that can enhance their development. We certainly feel the Big Apple Cup serves that purpose and our hope is to do it even better in 2020.”
Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for Long Island Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.