The youngest and brightest stars in tennis played in the Fourth Annual “Little Mo” Internationals at The West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, N.Y. This year, approximately 120 players from the United States and 15 other countries participated in the popular “Little Mo” event.
“The Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation is so honored to call Forest Hills home for our Little Mo Internationals tournament,” said Cindy Brinker Simmons, daughter of Maureen Connolly Brinker and president of the MCB Tennis Foundation. “The last four years, The West Side Tennis Club has been so gracious and hospitable to host our outstanding tournament. It is especially meaningful to me since my mom won the final leg of her 1953 Grand Slam victory on the hallowed center court here at Forest Hills when it was played at this particular site.”
Bob Ingersole, Tennis Director at West Side Tennis Club, says that this event coincides with the values stressed at West Side.
“We’re always happy to have the Little Mo here,” said Ingersole. “This tournament is the epitome of good sportsmanship. Tennis is based on honor. What we try to teach the kids here is honor and integrity, and this is just the perfect event for that.”
One of the main objectives of the tournament is demonstrating sportsmanship and a good attitude. Tokens were given out to players who performed acts of sportsmanship during their match, and those tokens could be used towards winning prizes.
Summer Evan-Esh of Manasquan, N.J. and Giuseppe Cerasuolo of Bayside, N.Y. received the "Little Mo" Sportsmanship Awards. The Kindness Awards were presented to Joe Phillips of Pelham, N.Y. and Amina Abdullaeva of Aurora, Colo. Honorable mention Sportsmanship Awards went to Nobel Levitin of Rishon le Zion, Israel and Max Frias of North Haven, Conn.
Sarah Youngberg, who hails from New York City and trains at the Gotham Tennis Academy, partnered with Arista Siebrits of South Africa in the doubles tournament.
“I’m playing against my doubles partner in the first round,” said Youngberg of her singles opponent. “We chat on the phone and she asked me to play doubles, so we decided to partner up in the doubles tournament.”
Siebrits would defeat Youngberg and go on to win the Girls 12 Singles Division Title, but the two also went on to win the Girls 12 Doubles Championship later in the week.
Coming from South Africa, Siebrits said she enjoyed the experience of meeting new people, and making new friends all around the world.
“I was really excited to play in this tournament,” Siebrits said. “To come here and meet new people from around the world is just amazing.”
The tournament also serves as a great way for young players to work on their own game and improve by watching their peers. Paige Wygodzki, who was the youngest player in the tournament at just six-years-old, talked about things she worked on heading into the tournament.
“I have been working on my forehands and backhands,” said Wygodzki, who trains at Bethpage Park Tennis Center. “My backhands have a really big loop, but now I don’t. My forehands I used to not set up, but now I do.”
Carter Swope took home the Boys 10's Division Title at the "Little Mo" Internationals-New York to complete the second leg of the "Little Mo" Slam and will be going to the "Little Mo" Internationals in Florida at the PGA National Resort & Spa from Dec. 4-9 for the third and final leg. If he wins in Florida, he will take home the tallest trophy in junior tennis at six-feet tall. Carter is from Rogers, Ark. and trains at the Evert Tennis Academy in Boca Raton, Fla. There have been four “Little Mo” players who have accomplished this great achievement in the past two years.
“We’re just so thrilled to have 120 kids from 10 countries participating,” said Carol Weyman, executive vice president of the MCB Tennis Foundation. “It’s our fourth year back and we couldn’t have asked for a better location. Coming from Texas, to be back in New York City is just very exciting for me, and to have kids from all over the world here is great.”
Congratulations to the locals who were winners at the Fourth Annual “Little Mo” Internationals:
►Boys 12: Hudson Beaudoin (New York, N.Y.)
►Boys 11: Solomon Brown (New York, N.Y.)
►Boys 8 (Yellow Ball): Dominick Mosejczuk (East Elmhurst, N.Y.)
►Girls 9: Ariana Pursoo (Westbury, N.Y.)
►Boys 12: Alexander Davis (Oyster Bay, N.Y.) & Ryan Shayani (Old Westbury, N.Y.)
►Boys 11: Solomon Brown (New York, N.Y.) & Mark Taranov (North Woodmere, N.Y.)
►Boys 8: Nicholas Ciordas (Jersey City, N.J.) & Dominick Mosejczuk (East Elmhurst, N.Y.)
►Girls 12: Arista Siebrits (Pretoria, South Africa) & Sarah Youngberg (New York, N.Y.)
►Girls 11: Rose Hayes (East Moriches, N.Y.) & Sofia Iantosca (New York, N.Y.)
►Girls 10: Sophia Cisse (New York, N.Y.) & Emma Roeck (Novi, Mich.)
►Girls 9: Christasha McNeil (Massapequa, N.Y.) & Ariana Pursoo (Westbury, N.Y.)