The competition is known as the nation’s most prestigious tennis tournament for boys 12 and under. But that didn’t deter two young Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis and Education (AAYTE) players from giving it a shot.
Alex Rotsaert, 11, of Villanova, and Nathan Perrone, 12, of Mount Laurel, N.J., played together for the first time last week in the USTA Boys National Clay Court Championships in Winston Salem, N.C.
They competed against 63 of the top teams in their age group from across the country and worked their way to win it all in the doubles competition.
“This was a tremendous accomplishment for Alex and Nathan,” said Jon Glover, AAYTE’s Director of Player Development and tennis coach of the winning pair, in a statement. “They showed an aggresive, precise, coordinated style of play in the final round.”
This marks the first time in AAYTE history that current participants won the highly prestigious Gold Ball.
Rotsaert, who attended the Haverford School in Havervord, Pa. last semester, has been training at AAYTE for a year. Perrone, who attends middle school in Mount Laurel, N.J. has been at AAYTE for less than a year.
Glover says the national recognition and tournament experience is just the beginning for the talented young men.
“Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis and Education encourages our young people to utilize our tennis skills as [an] entree into the college level of competition,” Glover said. “Alex and Nathan certainly have the ability to reach that goal.”
AAYTE is located on Ridge Avenue in East Falls. The organization provides tennis instruction, leadership development courses and educational enrichment programs for young people ages 4 through 18, the majority of whom come from underserved communities.