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St George JTT Players work the Family Circle Cup

(Left to Right): Coach Dion Straub, Tiffany Wallace, Emily Floyd, Maia Wilson,Courtney Simmons, Angel Shuler, Michael Chassereau, Blair Floyd,  and Nassim Benaissa.
by Daniel Walters
The 41st Family Circle Cup Tournament was especially memorable for eight teenagers from St. George Jr Team Tennis, who were fortunate enough to serve on the 2013 FCC Ball Crew.   Between March 30 and April 7, these junior players saw first-hand just how much work goes into a professional tennis tournament.  Featuring 17 of the top 40 women in the WTA, the 2013 Family Circle Cup was an exciting event for everyone, but especially these young volunteers.
"Being on the ball crew at Family Circle Cup was humbling. To be that close to some of the greatest players in the world was truly inspiring," said Emily Floyd of the St. George 18 & Under Team.
Courtney Simmons
Testing their ball crew skills for the first time were St George players: Nassim Benaissa, Michael Chassereau, Blair Floyd and Emily Floyd.  They were joined by their friends who returned for a second year of service as FCC "Veteran Ball Crew," including: Angel Shuler, Courtney Simmons, Tiffany Wallace, and Maia Wilson.  These kids were thrilled to finally be on-court with some of today’s biggest tennis stars, but getting the honor of serving on the ball crew didn’t come to them easily.
The weekly trainings began back in February and the sessions were strenuous.  These kids would face big responsibilities and had to be trained accordingly.  Their most important job is to keep the flow of the matches going. Stand only in these places, toss a ball there (only one bounce!), roll a ball here, hold your hands this way, not that way…it’s no wonder the training is so thorough.  Let’s not forget the other ball crew responsibilities.  Though they may be less physically-demanding jobs, they were perhaps even more intimidating tasks, such as handing Jankovic her towel, holding the umbrella over Stosur and presenting flowers to Serena.   By the end of the tournament, these St George players were overwhelmed by all they had seen and accomplished as members of the FCC Ball Crew.
Apart from the excitement of working the matches, another special perk these kids got were autographs and pictures with many of the WTA players.  Courtney Simmons (St George 14 & Under Team) didn’t miss an opportunity to get a player autograph.  By the end of the week, she was running out of space for signatures.  Although each of the ball crew members have special highlights from the tournament, St George 14 & Under player, Blair Floyd, summarizes the entire week with:
Emily Floyd
 "The Family Circle Cup was awesome!  Being a part of the Ball Crew was great because I could be a part of the matches, see the players and take mental notes on how they played.  I really enjoyed myself.  On top of that, I made some cool new friends and even got a tan!"