February 11, 2008

ICTA Christian Pro Tennis Team Journies to Nigeria

Posted in Africa Tennis, anastasia kharchenko, Athletes in Action Tennis, Christian Discipleship, christian tennis, Christian Tennis Academy, Christian Tennis Mission Trips, Christian Tennis Outreach, Christian Tennis Player, Christian Tennis Ukraine, Coaching Articles, Cult Buster, Florida Tennis, ICTA Tennis, ICTA Tennis Ministry, ICTA Women's Christian Pro Tennis Team, IMG, International Christian Tennis Association, Junior Tennis, Leadership, melody snelen, Nigeria Tennis, scott paschal, Scott Paschal Tennis, Tennis Missionary tagged , , , , , , , , at 11:16 pm by Scott Paschal

The ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team is preparing for a 2 tournament tour of Nigeria, Africa.

Leaving this Wednesday, February 13, this special five member Christian tennis team will fly to Atlanta and then on to Lagos Nigeria arriving in the morning. From Lagos the team will fly to Benin City, Nigeria where they will stay for 2 weeks.

I’m going, too!

We have started a blog for you to follow the action in Nigeria. Click here. dscf3856.jpg

In other ICTA news, I thoroughly enjoyed Sarasota, Florida this past week as my student and “adopted daughter” Anastasia Kharchenko competed in a tournament in which the winner receives a main draw wildcard into an ITF $25,000!

Ana competed well. She won 5 matches before falling in the final.

A highlight for me was Ana’s semifinal victory over Courtney Vernon.

dscf3863.jpgCourtney was #13 G18 USTA before going on to a celebrated college tennis career at USF where she reached a national ranking of #54 in Division 1 and went 20-0 last season.

Courtney has a career highest WTA ranking of 637, and has recent straight set wins over top WTA players, such as WTA #239 Melissa Torres-Sandoval.

Ana won her semifinal match against Vernon 6-1, 6-3.

The wildcard tournament was a grueling event for all the girls. In order to compete, each entrant had to agree to play 2 singles matches per day.

Competing at the pro level is often more difficult than competing at the junior level. Players put more into each shot, and the strategies and tactics are more advanced.

I was highly impressed with Anastasia’s focus, drive, and determination as she competed in 6 matches in 3 days.

dscf3884.jpgEach match was a learning experience for Ana.

I would study her strengths and weaknesses during the match, then after the match ended we would spend some time on court talking and discussing ideas on what she did well and what needed to improve.

Ana and I have a very good friendship and bond. This helps tremendously as she knows she can trust that I always have her best interest at heart.

Though the semifinal match against Courtney Vernon was fun to watch, I really enjoyed the final!

Even though Ana lost in straight sets, I had a blast watching her compete against Alexis Gordon. If you don’t know Alexis, think nationally ranked #1 NCAA D1 player in 2004 and a perennial top 15.

dscf3874.jpgAlexis played an amazing match against Ana with blistering lefty forehands that painted the lines and a consistent 115 mph serve.

I was particularly impressed with Alexis’ ability to bring her best game to the final. She played by far her best tennis against Ana.

Though Ana lost in straight sets and only won 3 games total, I counted over 20 deuces and felt Ana improved from the experience…

…especially considering Alexis has had literally thousands of high level tennis matches to Ana’s dozens… and the 8 year age difference.

Ana’s ICTA Pro Team co-captain, Melody Snelen, drove Ana to the event.dscf3883.jpg

They both stayed with a friend, who we’ll call Nancy, who is arguably one of the best tennis agents in America.

Nancy has over 20 years of experience working for IMG with some of the most famous WTA and ATP players in the world.

It is so great for Ana to have a friend and mentor like Melody. And it is so great for Melody to have a friend like Nancy who loves her and believes in her ministry.

The whole experience in Sarasota is a great warm up for the outreach and matches to come in Africa.  I had a great time in Sarasota and can’t wait for the flight to Nigeria!

I’m excited God is using me to mentor and disciple such great people as are on our pro tennis team. I realize this is such a privilege and cherish this season of my life.

Just thinking about God growing my big ICTA dream he placed in my heart nearly 10 years ago leaves me humbled and in awe. Now, ICTA is traveling to Africa on an outreach to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Wow. I’m beyond excited to meet as many players and coaches as possible.

I look forward to giving them Christian gifts and offering for them to join the International Christian Tennis Association membership.

dscf3859.jpgPlus, I so look forward to seeing what God has in store for His will in Nigeria. Please keep our missions outreach in your prayers.

The 5 member ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team is such a rare group of missionaries.

They love Jesus and yearn to reach the players on the WTA tour with His love and grace.

I’m fortunate to be their coach and grateful to be their friend.

Our little team is going to Africa… awesome!

God bless,

Scott Paschal

International Christian Tennis Association

Advertisements

2 Comments »

  1. Coach J said,

    Tell the girls we will be praying for you all as you travel. Congrats to Ana on a great tournament! I am looking forward to see how the Lord wants to use you all in Nigeria.

    CJ

  2. ahavens said,

    good luck ladies!
    My wife and I will be praying for you!
    If you’d like, join us as we talk about our walk with God online.
    aaron


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: