Nine locals will travel to Dallas for tennis camp

Published 12:01 am Friday, June 29, 2012

NATCHEZ — Nine local tennis players will carpool to Dallas this weekend to learn the game from the pros.

Natchez tennis director Henry Harris said the National Junior Tennis & Learning camp would be an opportunity for the players to step up their training with top instructors, including former professional Patrick McEnroe.

“This is an advanced-level training,” Harris said. “We’re a little more relaxed here, and this will give them all a chance to see a real camp and what it’s like. It’s a little more intense.”

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Several of the Natchez players said they are excited about seeing McEnroe at the camp.

“It’s going to be great for them,” Harris said. “Pat McEnroe will be there with his staff, and they will see some younger players. He might bring some younger guys that did not make the Wimbledon Juniors.”

Harris said the players would be trained in match scenarios that will break down points to the minor details.

The camp will consist mostly of drills, but Harris said it would conclude with some fun play at the end.

Harris said it is an honor for Natchez youth tennis to be selected to attend the camp.

“It’s great to be invited to an event as large as this,” he said. “They get to see a lot of kids other than themselves, and endure the sun and heat to learn to play tennis.”

Harris said he tries to take local youth players to the camp every two years, and this weekend will give them the opportunity to show off their skills in front of top-notch evaluators.

“We take a team that plays and they bring coaches in to evaluate the kids to tell them where they are at.”

The nine youth tennis players attending the camp this year are: Jaylan Grennell, 13, Kelsey McNeal, 9, Alli Smith, 13, Kirdis Clark, 13, Tennijah Smith, 12, Mark Iles, 15, Rashaad Smith, 16, Valencia Bonds, 17, and Dwain Perkins, 18.