The YTF’s 2008 recipient of the Wheelchair Award is Brittany Barrett of Brooksville. The YTF provided Brittany with a $500 award so that she could participate in her first wheelchair tennis tournament in Hilton Head, South Carolina in September.
The following email was sent to the YTF after Brittany’s experience in Hilton Head:
I wanted to thank you all for sponsoring my very first tennis wheelchair tournament. I had an amazing time. It was a great fun and learning experience! I met so many amazing players and plan to keep in contact with many of them. I met the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Silver medalist,Stefan Olsson, from Sweden. He is ranked 7th in the World. I also met Johan from Sweden who is a medalist and Taneli from Finland who is a medalist. I am keeping in contact with each of them. There was a 15 year old boy there from the US who was absolutely amazing. He is ranked 3nd in Boy’s Junior in the WORLD and 47th in Men’s. He had so much power and speed. I was amazed by all of the players. It was very interesting hearing everyone’s stories. I wish we could have stayed longer but I learned so much and I know now what it is that I need to do in order to improve my game. A lot of the players have been playing for many years and have also been in a wheelchair a lot longer than me. They kept saying how great I was for only playing tennis for 9 months but only using a real tennis wheelchair for 3 months. That felt great to hear.
I played in the Women’s A Division – two matches against very nice women. I also played in the Junior Division – two matches against two girls. The matches between my opponents and I were so close. We deuced almost every point but I need to learn how to bring it home once we are at that point. The one girl is ranked 9th in Juniors and 70th in Women’s . The other Junior is ranked 147 in Women’s. I am officially on the ITF Tennis ranking list but am unranked as for numbers. There are currently 15 girls ranked on the ITF site but as of January 2009 most of them are no longer allowed to compete in the Junior division. I met 3 out of the 15 Junior ranked players. I also met 4 other ranked Women’s players. I also met a two time Paraolympic player and she gave me tips. She said I had great potential. I love hearing that. I also played in my first all wheelchair doubles match. I had never seen 4 wheelchair players on the court at once but it was an amazing feeling. The women I played with were so great. I was the youngest player there but I didn’t mind. I watched some great players in single, doubles, Open, A, B, and C divisions.
I went to all of the events after my matches and met many more people. I met the coach for the Tennis Wheelchair Team at the University of Arizona and some of the players. I met Mr. and Mrs. Van Der Meer and they awarded me the Jana Hunsaker scholarship for all of the entry fees and part of the hotel fee. My coaches attended the coach clinic on Sunday and learned a lot. I am so thankful for the opportunity you gave to me so I can go. I had the tennis fever before but now I can’t wait to take my game to the next level. I really have the fever now! I don’t really know how to thank you for the chance you gave to me. And with the support of your foundation, my coaches, and my family this a wonderful weekend that I will ever forget!!!!
Thank-You for all of your support and help. Truely I will never forget it.
Love always with strength,
For more on Brittany, please see the following web sites:
The Youth Tennis Foundation (YTF) was created in 1962 by several tennis enthusiasts who wished to create a patrons organization.
Until recently, the YTF was the only state-wide patrons group in the State of Florida. Due to a recent bequest from a tennis enthusiast, the YTF looks forward to continuing its quest to promote and nourish youth tennis programs in the state of Florida.