SoCal Gears Up for North/South Wheelchair Team Challenge

USTA Southern California is currently accepting applications for the annual North South Wheelchair Team Challenge, which will take place October 24-25 at Sunnyside Health and Tennis Club in Fresno, California.

Now in its fifth year, the event offers a unique opportunity for local wheelchair players to team up and compete against our friendly rivals to the north! The teams include two players from each section in the following divisions: Open, A, B, C, Women, and Quad.WC 3

Team captains for the 2015 Challenge include Todd Hanover and Jerry Russell for Southern California and Mike Yousefi and David Van Brunt for Northern California.

Russel has been competing in this event since its inception in 2011 and is an active member of the wheelchair tennis community in Southern California.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Russel said. “I have played in many tournaments all over the place, but this is something special. It’s the closest thing we have to Davis Cup. It’s been a great way to get people together in a different atmosphere.”

Northern California has a 3-1 team record over Southern California in the North/South Wheelchair Team Challenge. The Challenge Cup has not seen the Southern California coastline since the tournament’s first year, when the SoCal team captured its first and only title.

“Our team is definitely anxious to bring the cup back to Southern California where it belongs,” Hanover said.

And you can expect the SoCal team to give it their all this year, as they always do.

“It’s a friendly rivalry, but we can get extremely competitive on the court.” Russel commented. “All of the players know each other pretty well, but we really get behind each other when the matches are out. We’re playing for the team, not just ourselves.”

WC 2Hanover enters into his second year as a player in the event and is taking the reins as co-captain. He encourages all Southern California wheelchair tennis players to take note and support the cause.

“This is one of the most unique and fun events I have ever played and I can’t wait to do it again.”

Matches will begin Saturday at 12:00 p.m. followed by dinner for all of the players at the club. Sunday matches will begin at 9 a.m. and will be followed by lunch and awards.

October 5th is the deadline to apply as a Southern California team representative. Players will be chosen based on their 2015 record and availability.

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