Reece Carter will finish her big tennis year by playing in one of the world’s biggest junior tournaments.
The Manitoban will compete in the Junior Orange Bowl International Tennis Championship, December 13-22 in Florida. Carter, a member of the national U12 team, will be joined in the Sunshine State by three other girls and four boys her age (born in 2004) from Canada. In Florida, the Canadian contingent will meet up with four girls and four boys (also born in 2004) from the USTA national team for a training week before competing in the Orange Bowl.
According to its website, the Orange Bowl brings together over 1,500 12-and-under and 14-and-under tennis players representing more than 76 countries. The event is in its 54th year, and has showcased such stars as Chris Evert, Jimmy Connors, Monica Seles, Andre Agassi, Steffi Graf, Maria Sharapova, Roger Federer and Andy Murray.
Carter was named to the Canadian U12 team after a strong showing at a Tennis Canada U12 National Team Camp in October at Aviva Centre in Toronto. Aviva Centre, formerly known as Rexall Centre, is where either the top ATP or WTA players play each summer in the Rogers Cup.
“We got to hit a few balls on the stadium court so it was fun,” said Carter, who celebrated her 11th birthday on the first day of the camp.
Carter, who has been coached since the age of six by Peter Otto at the Winnipeg Winter Club, spends about three-and-a-half hours a day on court and works with a personal trainer from Sport Manitoba. She also excels as a golfer. Carter wasn’t even 11 yet when she won the Manitoba junior girls’ Bantam (14 and under) championship at Tuxedo Golf Course this past summer. Her closest competitor was 10 shots back.
Carter, a member of Larters at St. Andrews Golf & Country Club, once shot a 72 at a tournament in Calgary. She was invited to compete in the world junior golf championships in San Diego this past July but turned it down to play the Stanley Park Open tennis tournament in Vancouver. The decision paid off as Carter won the girls’ U12 event, beating No. 1 seed Chloe Suh Yoo of Vancouver 6-4, 6-0 in the final.
“I wanted to win that so bad,” Carter said.
Carter took up tennis at the age of five, taking her first lesson with Jared Connell at Taylor Tennis Club. At about the same time, Carter’s younger sister Ryan began to play the sport at age three. She was five years old when she played her first competitive tournament in Florida.
Ryan Carter, also an accomplished golfer, has won a number of U10 tennis tournaments in Florida. This past summer she became the youngest to ever play in the Canadian junior tennis nationals, competing as an eight-year-old in the U12 category.
Reece Carter, meanwhile, already has her sights set on next year’s U12 nationals. She placed sixth in the girls’ U12 at the 2015 event in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec in August.
“My goal next year is to win it, or at least get to the final,” said Carter.