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The Worlds Prettiest Tennis Game Belongs To This 13 Year Old!! Wow
Take a look something is going on with this kid. The question is what?
The video you are watching is of 13 year old Deja Kitchiner. Deja's Junior tennis career is unique in many ways. For one Deja was invited to train at a world class tennis academy and she has respectfully declined. Deja's game and development has also been very visible to the public. Deja has been uploading videos of her tennis talents on you tube since she was 10 years old. The videos are often met with mixed reviews, & some have even reached over 100,000 views. Most of Deja's older videos have been taken down because they contained copy written music. Deja has decided to start fresh, and currently Deja's other live video is at 75,000 views and counting. Deja is also unique because she is blessed with tremendous athletic explosiveness, and a playing style that is beautiful to watch. While some notable tennis players have been trained by their parents, most including Venus and Serena Williams eventually went on to receive training from outside (Rick Macci and the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy)sources. Keep this fact in mind when getting to know Deja. Deja is essentially attempting to teach herself to become a world class tennis player. Other than a minor grip change at age 9. Deja's game has been untouched since age 3. At the time of filming this video Deja is 5'5 inches tall, and weighs 130 pounds. This is currently a very similar stature to that of Deja's favorite WTA tour player Justine Henin. In comparison to most juniors Deja plays a relatively small schedule. In the beginning this was due to financial reasons, now the smallish schedule is due to Deja working on her craft and fine tuning different aspects of her game. Including her serve & volley, and Steffi Graf style of play. Deja is a true all court player who on any given day might come in on virtually every serve. The fact that Deja has so many options at her disposal is sometimes both a blessing and a curse. Deja is currently the epitome of a hot and cold player who is sometimes confused at what style she should play. It is well known that many professional all court players, even Roger Federer struggled with this aspect of all court play while developing. Why should Deja be any different? If you have followed Deja's career, then you are aware that when she was 6 She played in the 10's division. When she was 10 she played in the 18s, and every since then she has registered in mainly 18 year old events. This was done purposely so that she could get used to playing against a pro style ball. Deja in fact was groomed to be a professional from the very start at age 3. When Deja's father noticed that pace and challenging pro style drills were easy for Deja, he never looked backed. Deja has been training to be a professional every since. Deja essentially skipped playing with kids her age, and rarely had to play when she was the dominant athlete. Recent struggles at the 18's challenger junior level(a level in which Deja won consistently at age 12) has helped Deja's father recall something from a book titled "Training A Tiger" The book was written by Earl Wood the late father of Tiger Woods. Earl Woods was famous for moving Tiger up to the next level when his son Tiger was unable to focus or to get up for matches when he was the physically dominant player. Deja's family is struggling with this dilemma currently and this aspect of junior tennis is proving to be one of the consequences of Deja declining the tennis academy scholarship. At the academy Deja would know for sure that on a match by match basis she would be up against people who are preparing for the same goal. Deja must certainly concentrate on this a bit, but not to the point to where she changes her game or mindset to fit the non attacking style of junior tennis. Venus & Serena Williams avoided junior tournaments all together after age 12,possibly the drastic differences between junior and pro tennis contributed to this fact. The fact that with each other the sisters could always play high quality tennis meant that they didnt have to play top junior players to gauge themselves. Deja doesnt have this luxury. For this reason the family has come to the decision that it is time for Deja to step up to the next level of Junior play which is ITF tournaments, and national events. Deja is currently working on better understanding playing styles, and what tactics are best suited to combat the different styles. When Deja gets a grasp on this aspect of tennis "look out" because as you may have noticed she is certainly equipped with every shot, style, and physical attribute to execute the game plan on the next level. In December of 2009(8thgrade) Deja decided to home school so that she could focus further on her tennis game. Feel free to rate & comment. Subscribe if you are interested in tracking Deja's quest to become a great professional.
She looks athletically built, but she trains too far behind the baseline. She is a solid 4 and 5 feet behind the baseline on balls that are being fed to her. This is not a put down in anyway, but when real players are ripping the ball at her, it will be different. Her wrist also breaks down too much on her backhand side. I have a 14 year old that is a highly touted potential professional and has just won her 5th national championship at the U.S. Hardcourt Championships. She also won two high level ITF tournaments at the end of this past year as well. She is 5'9" tall and 140 lbs at 14. There are numerous kids this good throughout the world and what seperates them is training. If she plans on stepping into the professional arena, she needs to plan on staying on top of that baseline and having a better base under her while she hits her groundstrokes. I have worked at the top two academies and I am a former tour player, so I have been around it long enough to know my stuff. Been there, done that. The young lady I work with is on full scholarship at the academy I work with and just turned down the USTA's offer of a full scholarship to their training facility (and with good reason). If this young lady in the video was offered a full scholarship to a worthy training facility, she should take it. It will allow her to train and play matches against topnotch players. Don't believe the hype about mom's and dad's training their kids beyond a certain level. I assure you, Richard Williams was taking those girls all over the place to play matches and learn from the best. Macci and Bollettieri will both tell you that. You don't learn how to win matches by just having balls fed to you. You have to learn how to compete. As for the "non-attacking" junior game, I assure you that I have juniors that will rip winners all day on Deja. That is a guarantee. The difference in the pro-level and the junior level is that the pros are more consistent and hit the ball harder. If this young lady rises to the top of the ranks in the junior level, then she should move up, but until she does, she better learn how to win in the junior divisions. Besides, if the professionals see that she doesn't play well against a softer hit consistent ball, they will adjust and hit Deja a soft, consistent ball until she misses. Better learn how to play against every style if she plans on making it to the pro ranks.
Originally Posted by Clicksports
Last edited by tennisking1; 03-11-2010 at 05:52 PM.
Funny you mention that - I play with a kid from a local University; some of the students there play 10+ feet behind the baseline! They hit the ball fairly hard but by the time the ball reaches their opponent, it's a low to medium pace rally. Oh, and they never hit 'on the rise'. The only benefit to hitting this way is to ease yourself into the court. It gives one confidence to hit the ball in stride. Starting right on or a few feet behind the baseline while hitting consistently clean 'on the rise' shots requires professional skill.
Originally Posted by tennisking1
It takes practice. You get used to doing it and it becomes second nature. If they stand that far back while hitting, they are toast. Drop shots and angles will have them scrambling all day. Add the fact that you will get tired from running down those shots all day, then you have a recipe for trouble. It's okay to hit from 3 or so feet behind the baseline and a little further on clay (red mainly, green doesn't bounce so high), but you need to step up into the court when you get the chance. The young lady in the video is a decent little athlete, but the smoothest, nicest game? I don't think so. The strokes look a bit sloppy to me actually. Wristy and she runs side to side instead of moving in to hit her strokes and then recovering back to the baseline. I would say that she doesn't want to go to an academy due to the fact that once she got there, she would be one of the many and would get beat too much by better players thus hurting her confidence. However, that is the best thing for her so that she can gauge her progress. Don't think that the Williams sisters didn't play match after match with the best juniors available. They may have held back from playing tournaments, but they played all of the juniors that were in the tournaments. They would never have learned how to compete otherwise. Richard Williams stories=Urban Legends. There is a lot of B.S. that goes with whatever that guy says........
Originally Posted by Lawn Tennis
That's exactly what I was explaining to my friend. He was impressed with how they could hold 30 shot rallies and suggested they were 4.5s. I almost laughed and explained pretty much what you said. They were more like good 3.5s assuming they had a first and second serve - not to mention volleys.
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