Monthly Archives: January 2013

How to Enroll in a Tennis Tournament

Matt Trumino
Tournament Director & JMTA Professional

The USTA recommends that kids who want to start playing tennis tournaments should start with Level 3 events. Level 3 tournaments meet once for approximately 2.5 hours and play a round-robin format with no-ad scoring and no changing sides.  The goal of Level 3 events is for kids just starting to play competitively to have fun competing.  By starting with Level 3 events, you can get a feel for whether competitive play is right for you. There are no ranking points accumulated from Level 3 play, and there is no ranking system for L3 competition.

The next step up in sanctioned tournament play is Level 2, or regional level.  There are two types of Level 2 events; L2R (regional) and L2O (open).  L2O events are generally a bit more competitive than L2R events, because L2R tournaments are open to all players in the Section, whereas L2R tournaments are only open to players in their Region or residence.  So, if you live in NYC you are part of the Metro Region and you may compete in any L2R in the five boroughs.  If you try to sign up for an L2R in NJ, you will not be accepted, since you are not a NJ resident.  Level 2 tournaments allow you to earn ranking points with each victory.  They are single elimination events, so once you lose, you go home and practice for your next tournament.  Points accrued in L2 tournaments count towards your regional and sectional rankings.

The highest levels of open competition are Level 1B, Level 1, and Level 1+ tournaments.  These tournament are single elimination events, with points awarded for each win going towards your sectional ranking.  The higher the Level, the more points are earned each round.  If you do well in these L1 events, you can qualify for entry into National events.

You need to be a USTA junior member to sign up for and to compete in USTA tournaments.  All USTA tournaments can be searched by clicking on the link below:

There are a few pop-ups that you will need to fill out in order to find tournaments near you and the details about them.  Where it says NATIONAL/SECTION/DISTRICT: NYC is in the USTA Eastern Section and in the Metro Region. KEYWORD helps if you are searching for SPORTIME clubs. DIVISION is self explanatory. TYPE OF TOURNAMENT I would leave blank, so that you can see all of the different types and levels of tournaments, i.e. L1 thru L3. SURFACES; should be left blank.

Have fun becoming a tournament player and, of course, don’t hesitate to ask me, or other JMTA coaches, for advice or assistance with you tournament schedule.

John McEnroe Tennis Academy: An Afternoon with the Tennis Legend

JMTA Students

JMTA students at Bethpage

“As hordes of reporters and photographers were in Melbourne, Australia, over the weekend documenting Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka’s and Serbia’s Novak Djokovic’s continued dominance, I had an on-court seat to watch America’s future being personally molded by the greatest tennis player New York has ever produced—John McEnroe.

It was just another cold January day for most residents of Bethpage, Long Island, but for the students of John McEnroe Tennis Academy, it was just another afternoon of intense focus inside the newest of his three metropolitan locations. 

But can McEnroe return American tennis to prominence? That is the $64,000 question.”

Article written By Benjamin J. Block

Click Here to view full article by Bleacher Report

JMTA students playing well

Russo Wins B16s L1 in Flanders, NJ

Going through a 64 draw, JMTA Randall’s Island player and #1 seed Maurice Russo made it through to the semi-finals in relatively easy fashion.  Once in the semis, he took out the #11 seed, Michael Abelev 6-3, 7-6(5), and in the finals, Maurice beat the #3 seed Anthony Caputo 7-6(5), 6-4.  Good job! 

Details of all our players doing well below.

In sectional qualifying action up in the Albany area, Christine Sisti – JMTA Lake Isle and Felipe Osses-Konig & Palmer Clare – JMTA Bethpage qualified in the G16s & B16s, respectively.  They will be joining the following JMTA players with direct acceptance in sectional main draws:

B12s – Neel Raj, Benji Grossman, & Kabir Rajpal – JMTA Bethpage; Garrett Chao – JMTA Randall’s Island
G12s – Mackenzie Clark – JMTA Lake Isle; Francesca Karman & Merri Kelly – JMTA Bethpage; Diana McCready – JMTA Randall’s Island
B14s – Alan Delman – JMTA Bethpage; Luke Smith & Sean Wei – JMTA Lake Isle
G14s – Loren Haukova, Sasha Bekirova, & Victoria Sec – JMTA Randall’s Island; Ashley Lessen – JMTA Bethpage
B16s – Oliver Sec – JMTA Randall’s Island; Lubo Cuba – JMTA Bethpage
G16s – Sabrina Xiong, Elizabeth Tsvetkov, Ekim Buyuk, & Christina Puccinelli – JMTA Randall’s Island
Randall’s Island Invitational players – Evan Lee(B12s), Robbie Werdiger(B12s), & Jennifer Yu(G14s)


Winner – Maurice Russo – B16s – L1 Flanders – 64 draw

Finalist – Najah Dawson – G12s – L1 East Hampton – 4 draw

SF – Lantis Wang – B12s – L1 Bogota – 32 draw
SF – Leonte Wilder – B12s – L1 Bogota – 32 draw
SF – Anna Maite Kaplan – G14s – L1 Nanuet – 8 draw
SF – Alfi von Auersperg – B14s – L1B Mountain Lakes – 16 draw

QF – Noah Edelman – B12s – L1 Armonk – 32 draw
QF – Bradley Bennett – B12s – L2O Randall’s Island – 32 draw

JMTA Randall’s Island Invitational Players doing well –

Winner – Rich Rangga – B18s – L1 Bogota – 16 draw
SF – Alex Chao – B16s – L1B Syosset – 32 draw
QF – Evan Lee – B12s – L1 Armonk – 32 draw

Fritz Buehning

Fritz Buehning
JMTA Associate Academy Director

Please note:  We do our best to post everyone’s results, but with so many players competing each week we may miss a result and apologize for any oversights.  For corrections, you can email –

Featured JMTA Junior – Amber Policare

Interview with Featured JMTA Junior – Amber Policare

Amber arrived at JMTA from South Florida in the summer of 2010 and has been one of our brightest stars.  2012 was a terrific year for Amber.  In addition to making major improvements in her game, she either won or made it to the finals in five National Level tournaments.  And with Amber’s great work-ethic and competitiveness, all indications point toward an even better 2013.

Amber Policare
Residence: New York

  1. Who is your tennis idol? Why?
    • My tennis idol is John McEnroe.  My father grew up watching John and through him I learned to love the game and wanted to be as good as him!
  2. Describe your greatest tennis victory.
    • A couple months ago I won the 16s Sectional in New Jersey.  That was the first 16s sectional I have ever played so it was nice to come away with a win!
  3. Describe your greatest tennis loss and how you overcame that loss.
    • When I was 12 I played a national tournament and my 3rd round match was against a pusher.  I crushed her in the 1st set 6-0, but the second set I lost 6-7 in a tiebreak. The third set went to a tiebreaker which I lost 17-19 to lose the match.  I was so mad and upset with myself for letting the match slip away!  I overcame the loss by learning from it and working harder on taking my time and not losing my focus.  This match taught me that the mental game is a very important factor.
  4. What part of your game needs the most improvement and how do you plan on making that happen?
    • One part of my game I am really trying to improve is my variety.  I tend to hit similar shots that fail to throw my opponent off guard.  I need to mix up my shots more and keep my opponent guessing.
  5. Please briefly describe your weekly tennis and academic schedule. How do you balance such a demanding tennis schedule with your academic commitments?
    • I try and split my time between tennis and academic s equally.  I do about 20 hours per week of each.  While tennis is a very important part of my life, I understand that academics are more important, so I try my best to balance them out.

JMTA Players Tournament Updates!

Siskova, Bekirova and Clark win Sectional Doubles in G16s, G14s & G12s

Many JMTA players from Randall’s Island and both the Bethpage & Lake Isle’s Annexes were in action last weekend in the Eastern Sectionals.  In singles, Sabrina Xiong (G16s) & Cameron Daniels (B16s) both took 3rd place.  We had 4 winners in the singles consolations- Chelsea Williams (G12s), Amber O’Dell (G14s), Amber Policare (G16s) and Neel Raj (B12s).  In doubles, Mackenzie Clark (G12s), Sasha Bekirova (G14s), and Eva Siskova (G16s) WON their respective events with their partners.  Overall, we had over 30 players in main draw action across 6 divisions!

In other tournament action, JMTA Randall’s Island players – Carolyn Brodsky, Brandon Cohen, Gillian Perrotta, and Serge Ushkevich, all won their events.

Further details and information set forth below.



3rd/SF – B16s – Cameron Daniels
3rd/SF – G16s – Sabrina Xiong

Both Cameron and Sabrina charged through their events to the semis, where both went out to the eventual tournament winner.  In the 3/4 place match – Cameron went on to win in a long 3-set match while Sabrina was the beneficiary of a walkover.

5th/Consolation Winner – B12s – Neel Raj – Bethpage – succumbed to the #1 seed in the main draw quarters; fought his way through the consolations to win the draw.
5th/ Consolation Winner – G16s – Amber Policare(7) – playing up – JMTA Randall’s Island – fought hard but went out 6-7, 4-6 to the #2 seed in the quarters of the main draw; in consolations went through to face the #4 seed in finals – splitting sets and winning 11-9 in the super-tiebreaker.
5th/ Consolation Winner – G14s – Amber O’Dell (Q) – playing up – JMTA Randall’s Island – won a round in the main draw before going out to the #6 seed; fought her way through the consolations to win the back draw.
5th/ Consolation Winner- G12s – Chelsea Williams(4) – JMTA Randall’s Island’s – went out early in the 1st round of the main draw; but charged through to win the consis in relatively easy fashion.

QF – G14s – Jacqui Bukzin – Bethpage – went through easily to the main draw quarters where she lost to the #1 seed; in consolations won a round, then lost to fellow JMTA’er O’Dell in the semifinals.
QF – G14s – Sasha Bekirova(7)playing up – JMTA Randall’s Island – succumbed to the #3 seed in the main draw quarters; then lost to JMTA training partner O’Dell in the consolations
QF – B16s – Felipe Osses-Konig(Q) – JMTA Bethpage – succumbed to fellow JMTA’er and #5 seed Daniels in the quarters; lost in quarterfinals of the consolations
QF – G12s –  Mackenzie Clark(3) – JMTA Lake Isle – succumbed to #7 seed in a long 3 set match.

Of Note:
B14s – Alan Delman – JMTA Bethpage – won a round in the main draw before going out to the #7 seed; fought through the consolations where he lost a heart-breaker in the semifinals supertiebreker,-11.
G16s – Elizabeth Tsvetkov(8) – JMTA Randall’s Island- won a round in the main draw; in consolations went through to the quarters.
G16s – Eva Siskova(1) – JMTA Randall’s Island – won a round in the main draw; in consolations went through to quarterfinals where she lost to fellow JMTA player Tsvetkov
G16s – Brianna Williams(Q) – playing up – JMTA Randall’s Island – won a round in the main draw; in consolations went through to quarterfinals where she succumbed to the #4 seed 6-7, 5-7

JMTA players who also competed in the Sectional Singles Main Draws:

B16s – Lubo Cuba & Justin Park – Bethpage
B14s – Sean Patrick Hannity – Bethpage, Sean Wei – playing up & Robby Simon – Lake Isle
B12s – Kabir Rajpal & Benji Grossman – Bethpage; Russell Scharf – Lake Isles; Alfi von Auersperg, Alex Portnoy, & Harry Portnoy – Randall’s Island;  Middle States Section – Daniel Mikaul – Randall’s Island

G16s – Christina Puccinelli – Randall’s Island & Christina Sisti Lake Isle
G14s – Courtney Kowalsky – Bethpage
G12s – Merri Kelly, Francesca Karman, & Amy Delman – Bethpage; Najah Dawson – Randall’s Island
G14s – Jennifer Yu – Randall’s Island Invitational
B12s – Robbie Werdiger – Randall’s Island Invitational

WINNER – G14s – JMTA Randall’s Island Sasha Bekirova with her partner Anna Brylin
WINNER – G12sMackenzie Clark – JMTA Lake Isle with partner Andrea Cerdan
WINNERG16s – Eva Siskova – JMTA Randall’s Island newcomer with partner Bridget Harding

Finalist – B14s – Sean Patrick Hannity – Bethpage with partner RJ Freisen
Finalist – B16s – Cameron Daniels from Bethpage with his partner Chris Auteri

SF – B12s – Benji Grossman – Bethpage with partner Patrick Sebastian
SF – B12s – Neel Raj – Bethpage with partner Ronan Jachuck
SF – G16s – Christina Sisti – Lake Isle with partner Taylor Cosme

QF – B16s – Lubo Cuba – Bethpage with partner Edan Sossen
QF – G12s – Diana McCready – Randall’s Island with partner Christina Huynh
QF – G12s – Najah Dawson – Randall’s Island with partner Marie Ivantechenko
QF – G16s – Elizabeth Tsvetkov – Randall’s Island with partner Madison Battaglia
QF – B12s – Kabir Rajpal – Bethpage with partner Jack Flores
QF – B14s – Alan Delman – Bethpage with partner Calvin Chung
QF – B14s – Sean Wei – Lake Isle with partner Tomas Kopczynski

Winner – Brandon Cohen(2)
– L1B East Hampton, NY – B12s – 8 draw
Winner – Carolyn Brodsky
– L1B East Hampton, NY – G12s – 4 draw
Winner – Gillian Perrotta
– L1B Fresh Meadows – G18s – 16 draw
Winner – Serge Ushkevich(1)
– L2O Long Beach – B14s – 4 draw

Finalist – Rebecca Fisch – L1B Fresh Meadows, NY – G12s – 16 draw
Finalist – Julia Zbarsky(1) – L1B East Hampton, NY – G16s – 4 draw
Finalist – Elizabeth Schlossel(1) – L2O Randalls – G12s – 8 draw

SF – Alyssa An – L2O Randalls – G12s – 8 draw

QF – Ben Kantor(2) – L1B Bronx, NY – B10s Green Ball – 32 draw
QF – Charlie Levinson(5) – L1B Fresh Meadows, NY – B12s – 32 draw
QF – Sid Chawla – L2O Bogota, NJ – B12s – 32 draw

JMTA Randall’s Island Invitational Players doing well –
SF – Farris Nathoo – L1B Lake Isles – B16s – 32 draw
SF – Lorraine Bergmann(4) – L1B Fresh Meadows, NY – G12s – 16 draw 

Fritz Buehning

Fritz Buehning
JMTA Associate Academy Director

A big WELL DONE to all our players!
Please note:  We do our best to post everyone’s results, but with so many players competing each week we may miss a result and apologize for any oversights.  For corrections, you can email –

Mentor and Mentee Collide

Sloane Stephens

Sloane Stephens makes the semis
Photo: Tennis World

19 year old Sloane Stephens, played in the most important match of her young career. She shined last night in a 3 set win over her mentor, the 31 year old Serena Williams.  Going into the Australian Open, Serena’s odds of winning the tournament were 1/1; I.e. odds makers gave her and the field even odds of winning the title.  Sloane, on the other hand, came into the tournament at 300/1.  Now, Sloane moves onto the semis to face the favored Victoria Azarenka.

Going into her match versus the heavily favored Williams, Sloane said she is trying to think of it as the “quarters of a Grand Slam” which “just happens to be Serena” (her idol).  Later, in a press conference, Sloane said, “This morning when I got up, I was like, ‘Look, dude, like, you can do this. Like, go out and play and do your best.”  Then, after shocking Serena and the rest of the tennis world, the first thing Sloane did, like any other teen, was take out her phone and tweet about it.  In a post-match interview with Rennae Stubbs, Stephens seemed to be as excited about doubling her twitter followers as she was about beating a tennis legend.

Bonnie D. Ford, of ESPN, described Sloane’s reaction after the match as, “endearingly young and wide-eyed – a teenager shredding her learner’s permit and taking firm hold of the steering wheel, alone in the car for the first time.” Click Here to read Bonnie Ford’s full article on Stephens victory.

JMTA player Jamie Loeb to Wear North Carolina Blue

Jamie Loeb

Loeb commits to UNC

Jamie Loeb‘s consistent placing in the top five of the recruiting rankings is not something anyone has ever questioned.”  As noted in Marcia Frost’s recent article from, Jamie has trained in and around her home state of New York for her entire junior tennis career. Most recently, Loeb has been training with Coach Felix Alvarado of the John McEnroe Tennis Academy in Manhattan. Under the guidance of Coach Alvarado, “Loeb’s success was even brighter in 2012. After sweeping the USTA National Winter Championships (this time in 18s), she won the Delray Beach ITF, the USTA International Grasscourts (where she took singles and doubles), and was a finalist at the USTA National Girls’ 18 Clay Courts.  She’s been looked at as a blue chip recruit even before she was officially given that label and the University of North Carolina Tar Heels will happily welcome her onto their team next fall.”

Click Here to read Marcia Frost’s full article on Jamie’s college commitment.

Featured JMTA Pro – Peter Fleming


Peter Fleming

Peter Fleming
JMTA Associate Academy Director

The John McEnroe Tennis Academy would like to wish a very Happy Birthday to Associate Academy Director Peter Fleming.  Peter turned 58 earlier this week (January 21) and in honor of his birthday, he is the subject of this week’s “Get to know the Pro”!

Peter, a native of Chatam, NJ, has been a highly successful tennis professional, as a player, coach and commentator, for over 40 years. He teamed up with John McEnroe to become one of the greatest doubles teams in tennis history. The duo won 54 doubles titles together, including four Wimbledon and three U.S. Open Grand Slam championships. The pair was named ATP Doubles Team of the Year in 1979, 1981 and 1983-84. Fleming played on three American Davis Cup winning teams 1979, 1981-82 and compiled a Davis Cup doubles record of 14-1, all with Johnny Mac. He reached the world No. 1 doubles ranking in 1984 and had a career high singles ranking of No. 8 in 1980. Prior to turning professional, Fleming played collegiate tennis for Michigan and UCLA; in 1976, he won the NCAA doubles title and led the Bruins to the NCAA team championship. Since retiring as a player, he has become a lead commentator for Sky Sports and relocated back to New York in 2012 to again team up with partner John McEnroe as Associate Academy Director of JMTA, at both Randall’s Island and Lake Isle.

Peter is now splitting his time between SPORTIME Randall’s Island and SPORTIME Lake Isle, where he is working both with JMTA’s top junior players as well as adult members.


The John McEnroe Tennis Academy would like to give a shout-out to the following Academy students: Jamie Loeb, Brianna Williams, Chelsea Williams, and Justin Lee for their outstanding performances in Tucson, AZ and Scottsdale at the National Winter Championships!!!  Results below:

Chelsea Williams

JMTA Student Chelsea Williams

G12S West Draw Finalist – Chelsea Williams (Brooklyn, NY)

B14S Gold Draw Champ – Justin C. Lee (Cos Cob, CT)

B14D 3rd Place – Justin C. Lee (Cos Cob, CT)

G14S North Draw Finalist – Brianna Williams (Brooklyn, NY)

G18S Champ – Jamie M. Loeb (Ossining, NY)

G18D Finalist – Jamie M. Loeb (Ossining, NY)

JMTA’s Jamie Loeb’s Australian Open comes to an End

Aussie Open

Jamie Loeb beat Rosatello first round

Jamie Loeb’s 2013 Junior Australian Open came to an end on Monday when she lost to the #7 seed, Anna Danilina of Kazakhstan, in the 2nd round.

Jamie’s rolled through her 1st round match on January 19th against Camilla Rosatello of Italy.  Jamie won that encounter 6-1, 6-2 in just 55 minutes.

Jamie also participated in the Australian Open doubles tournament, partnering with Rebecca  Peterson of Sweden. Jamie and Rebecca were matched up against the event’s #8 seeds, Italy’s Rosatello and Ipek Soylu of Turkey, and they ended up losing a heart-breaking seesaw match.  After winning the 1st set 6-2 and losing the 2nd set 6-0, Loeb and Peterson dropped the super-tiebreaker, and the match, 10-5.

In her 2nd round singles match versus the #7 seed, Danilina from Kazakhstan, Jamie lost the 1st set 6-3, and was down 2-4 in the 2nd. But she battled back to win the 2nd set, 7-5.  Danilina then picked up her game in the 3rd set and won the decider, 6-1.

Overall, Jamie’s JMTA coach Felix Alvarado was happy with his student’s performance in her first appearance outside of the United States.  “Jamie played very well and utilized her powerful forehand and serve wisely throughout her singles and doubles matches.  She used variety and attacked each player’s weakness until it broke down.  Unfortunately, Anna was too strong for Jamie.  We’ll get her next time though.”

Jamie’s plans for the coming year, barring injury, are to compete in this year’s French Open, Wimbledon, and U.S. Open Junior Tournaments, along with various other junior tournaments throughout the season.  Starting in the fall 2013, Jamie will be attending the University of North Carolina as a member of its Division I Women’s Tennis Team.

Aussie Open Re-Cap: Day 5

Djokovic wins 17th straight Aussie match

Novac Djokovic
Photo: Associated Press/Dita Alangkara

Djokovic wins 17th straight match at Aussie Open

“Djokovic broke the 34-year-old, 34th-ranked Stepanek late in each set of a 6-4, 6-3, 7-5, extending Djokovic’s winning streak to 17 matches at the Australian Open.

Djokovic was troubled at times against Stepanek, who mixed up the tempo with a lot of serve-and-volley and some unorthodox shot-making. “Absolutely it was great. Great match and great fun,” Djokovic said. “It’s always tricky to play Radek. He’s a talented player. Skillful player.”

Told about the statistics, Stepanek won 36 of the 67 points he played at the net, Djokovic wasn’t surprised at all.”He’s skillful on the net and he was not giving me a lot of rhythm, he was changing up the pace on the ball,” Djokovic said. “Nowadays everything is based on the baseline. It’s nice to see somebody coming to the net….” Read Full article here.

An Associated Press Article by Dennis Passa

Aussie Open Re-Cap: Day 4

Roger Federer

Photo: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Murray, Federer, Serena all advance. Kvitova loses a heartbreaker.

While top seeds advance, Petra Kvitova [8] of the Czech Republic lost a heartbreaker to 18 year old British up-and-comer Laura Robson.  Robson is playing in her 2nd Australian Open (lost 1st Round in 2012).  Robson’s ranking, currently 53, has been on the rise ever since reaching the 4th round of the U.S. Open this past September.

Her match against Kvitova came down to a 3rd set where Robson was down 3-0 before battling back to be on serve again at 2-3.  Kvitova double faulted 18 times in this 3 hour epic, 8 of which occurred in the 3rd set. After the match, Kvitova said, “I don’t think that I ever had a worse serve than today.”

Click Here to read Bleacher Report’s full recap on Day 4 of the Australian Open (including the upset of Kvitova [8]).