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The 2006 Southside Tennis Academy will run from June 5th through 30th, from 9am - 11am. Registration on the 5th will begin at 8:30am. Kasia and Jessie will be back, along with two of their teammates, Tina and Cami!


(9/22/05) Phoenix – The Southwest Section of the USTA has honored Tucson’s Southside Tennis Academy as its “2005 NJTL Chapter of the Year.” The academy will automatically be nominated for the national USTA NJTL National Chapter of the Year in 2006.

Tennis legend Arthur Ashe founded the National Junior Tennis League (NJTL) in 1969 to encourage urban youth to play tennis. Located at Desert View High School on Tucson’s south side, the Southside Tennis Academy began in 1996 with a handful of students and rapidly grew. This year, the camp jumped from 50 to more than 80 participants, making it one of the largest tennis programs in the city and attracting national attention.

The Southwest Section of the USTA includes Arizona, New Mexico and the greater El Paso area.

The Largest Camp Ever!

More than 50 campers showed up the first day... and more are coming!

This year's Southside Tennis Academy is the largest in our history. Begun by legendary Pueblo head coach John Davis more than 8 years ago, the first camp welcomed a handful of young tennis players. Today, more than 50 youngsters have started the 4-week camp, and more are expected next week, as summer school ends. Camp runs Monday through Thursday each week from 9am until 11am, June 6th through July 1st. Fees are only $10 per week, thanks to the generosity of the Southern Arizona Tennis Association and the USTA Southwest Section. And every camper is offered a scholarship to other tennis camps when our season ends!

The SSTA's mission is to offer the same level of instruction to inner-city youth that is offered by the elite tennis academies. And what an outstanding crew of instructors we have!

Our wonderful coaches (from left): Kim, Claudia, Kelly, Jessie, Kasia.

KIM CURTIS returns to the SSTA for her second year. She just completed her final season as a mainstay of the University of Hawaii tennis team. A native of Tucson, she was a standout player at Sabino High School before earning a scholarship to play for Hawaii. CLAUDIA LOYOLA was this year's Lady Jaguar assistant coach, and did a great job. Claudia also starred for Sabino High School, before attending Northern Iowa University on a tennis scholarship. She returned to Tucson to become an NJCAA All-American at Pima College. KELLY PERRY is a native of Southern California, where she was the nation's #1 ranked junior player. She just completed her final year playing for the University of Arizona earning the best singles record on the team this season. JESSIE ROCHEFORT also returns for her second year at the SSTA. Before becoming a standout at the UA, she trained at the famous Bollettieri Academy in Florida, where she played with such players as Maria Sharapova (and never lost to her!). KASIA JAKOWLEW is a native of Poland, but played junior tennis in Sweden. Injured during her freshman year, she returned this spring to post a very successful record for the UA women's team. At 5'11", she possesses one of the biggest serves in collegiate women's tennis.

Kelly, Jessie and Kim keep the kids busy.

Kim gives Robert a service tip.

Working on volleys, Kasia demonstrates the popular Polish folkdance, "Speak to the Racquet."

Claudia puts Lupita on the fast track to a future US Open title.

In point play, Dylan awaits Elizabeth's return.

Luis sets to hit as Alan and Ryan wait at net.

Uh oh! Losers in ping pong have to endure butt shots!


Sofia charms KVOA!

(6/16/05) Today, Eric Rhodes of KVOA-TV came out to do a story inspired by Tuesday's Arizona Daily Star article. Eric was amazed by the quality of our coaches, many of whom he had covered during the year, and impressed by the enthusiasm and effort of the campers. 7-year-old Sofia Maneth completely floored him in an interview, when she said that her goal was to "play in the Olympics and maybe win some trophies." He said afterward, "If she doesn't win the US Open, Sofia has a bright future in broadcasting!"

Here's the best news of all -- thanks to the attention we've received, we're now up to 84 campers!

Sofia shows off her backhand

Welcome, George!!!

Coach Bubany instructs Lena, Glenda, Esmeralda, and Drew.

(6/20/05) Sabino High School coach George Bubany graciously showed up today to lend a much-needed hand and delighted campers with his knowledge and enthusiasm. In turn, he was impressed with the campers, saying "These kids really want to learn!" Thanks, George!


Kim wears her game face...

...while Kasia taunts the opposition.

Jessie is all business...

...and Kelly dreams of surfing in San Diego.

(6/20/05) It was "Beat the Coaches Day" today, and I think the advanced players gained new respect for the talent of their coaches. To put it kindly, the coaches THUMPED them, without working up a sweat, but everyone had a great time!Thanks, Coaches!

The Final Day!!!

(6/30/05) Today was the final day of our 2005 camp, and it was packed with excitement! First, came a match against the highly regarded Randolph Tennis Center NJTL camp, sure to be our toughest competition in the city championships next week. I was expecting a close match, but our SSTA kids ran away with it, winning 60-39! Congratulations to all our winners: Alan, Alanna, Alexis, Danielle, Dylan, Enrique, Francisco, Jessica, Leslie, Priscilla, Rogelio, Stephanie, Tabby and Yvette! Way to go, team!!!

Next, the Gamez family generously brought two heaping containers of eegee’s frozen concoctions, which we shared with our defeated opponents. Thanks, Mr. And Mrs. Gamez!

And then it was time for TARGET TENNIS!!!

What a cornucopia of prizes!!!

The Tucson tennis community has always been generous in its support of the SSTA, and this year was no exception. Prizes included racquets, racquet bags, caps, t-shirts, keychains, balls, strings, cookies, juices, and the ever-popular Otter Pops. But by far, the most valued prizes were autographed posters of the University of Arizona tennis team, featuring our coaches Jessie, Kasia, and Kelly. All the campers needed to do was hit the prize to win it. Easier said than done!

Jessica yells, “I need a racquet!” after missing on her first try.

Jessica had broken her own racquet a couple days before. But her aim was true, and she went home with an excellent new Fischer and a set of strings.

Lupita is determined to win a prize!

And she did – a poster of the UA team! Everyone won a prize by the time the day was done. One of the highlights of the day was when 7-year old Sofia Maneth won a top-of-the-line Prince racquet - she literally skipped off the court to tell her father, who had flown in from Houston to see her last day of camp. Many thanks to our generous donors: Gary Engelbrecht and Sam Ciulla of the Tucson Racquet Club, Ron Buotte of The Racquet Shack, Serena Quarelli of the Lodge at Ventana Canyon, and Bethany Kashian.

This is obviously the most successful camp in our history. The credit goes to our coaches, who have that great combination of a passion for the sport and a passion for our kids. Thank you, Jessie, Kim, Kasia, Kelly, Claudia, and George!!!

Campers Compete at USA Team Tournament!

Our team: Dylan, Ryan, Alan, Leslie, Alanna, and Stephanie.

(8/7/05) Having won the city-wide championship, our 14-and-under squad competed this weekend in the USTA USA Team Tennis Sectional championships against much more experienced teams from Phoenix, Albuquerque, and El Paso. Although they didn't win the tournament, they played very well and all of them improved each day of the three-day tournament. Congratulations, team!!!


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