By Fairfax County Times Staff
The Article in the Times
This spring, Kent Kinnear, the head of the USTA Department of Player Development, presented the 2015 Team USA Developmental Program of the Year award to 4 Star Tennis Academy of Fairfax. 4 Star Tennis Academy was founded by Bob Pass at the Four Seasons Tennis Club in 1973. Since then, over 400 of its graduates have gone on to play in college, including 23 for UVA and 36 for Ivy League universities. Several 4 Star graduates have also gone on to play on the pro tour, competing in the Grand Slam tournaments – Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open.
4 Star Tennis Academy received this award because of the outstanding results its juniors achieved atboth the national and international levels in 2015. Collectively, 4 Star players won fourteen gold, silver and bronze balls from Level 1 National Tournaments, as well as the 2015 NCAA Division 1 men’s singles title. While playing for the University of Virginia, 4 Star graduate Ryan Shane captured the 2015 NCAA Men’s Singles Championship. Natasha Subhash was the #1 ranked singles player in the country in both the girls’ 14- and 16-and- under age divisions. Having won 5 balls, Natasha received a wild card entry into the Junior U.S. Open Junior Championships. She won her qualification matches as well as her first round match in the main draw as a 14-year- old. Natasha also went on to win the girls’ singles and doubles titles at the 2015 Atlanta ITF tournament. Reilly Tran won a gold ball in girls’ 14 doubles at the National Clay courts; Chidimma Okpara won a silver ball in girls’ 14 doubles at National Hard Courts as well as a bronze ball at National Spring Team Championships; at National Clay Courts, Benjamin Kittay won a silver ball in boys’ 12 doubles, and at National Hard Courts he won a silver ball in boys’ 12 singles and a gold ball in boy’s 12 doubles; at National Hard Courts, Evin McDonald and Richard Bell each won a bronze ball in boys’ 14 doubles, and Evin made the semi-finals in singles; and at National Clay Courts, Robert Maciag won a silver ball in boys’ 16 doubles and reached the semi-finals in singles. In addition, the joint venture USTA 4 Star/D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation Excellence team had two of its kids, Langston Williams and Mya Spencer, selected by the USTA to receive wild cards into the National Clay Courts Championships.
4 Star Tennis Academy, a USTA Certified Sectional Training Center, offers daily programs ranging from age 3 in its tiny tots program and progressing all the way to the Supernats, for juniors with the ability, desire, and commitment to play national caliber events as a prelude to college or professional tennis. 4 Star coaches do not just teach the juniors how to play the game; they forge lifelong relationships with their players and their families. The coaches are mentors, counselors, and even trusted family friends. 4 Star’s impressive results in 2015 reflect the hard work of its dedicated coaches, including Steve Miguel, Bear Schofield, Raul Iriarte, Hannah Pass, and former WTA pro Jeri Ingram.
It is 4 Star’s approach to coaching and its supportive atmosphere that made this award possible. In his acceptance speech at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, Bob Pass concluded with two thoughts. One, it is important to have a dream, because a dream — coupled with commitment, hard work, and perseverance — can come true. Two, self-confidence is ultimately the key to success. 4 Star coaches care for and believe in their students, and they strive to inspire their students to believe in themselves as well.