TULSA SIGNS TOP TENNIS PLAYER SPENCER PAPA
Nov. 21, 2013
TULSA,Okla. - Blue Chip Tennis juniors player Spencer Papa signed a national letter-of-intent to play collegiate tennis at The University of Tulsa, Director of Tennis and Head Men's Tennis Coach Vince Westbrook announced today.
Papa gets a Blue Chip ranking from Tennisrecruiting.net and has been widely considered the No. 1 tennis recruit in the nation.
Papa was first ranked as the nation's No. 1 player at the age of 12. He was chosen as one of only 12 players between the ages of 12 and 18 to train at the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Training Center in Boca Raton, Fla., when he was 13-years-old. This past year, Papa played at both the prestigious Wimbledon Junior and French Open Junior Tennis Tournaments. In 2011 and 2012, he also competed at the U.S. Open Juniors, but did not compete in the 2013 Open due to injury.
Papa is rated by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) as the seventh-ranked U.S. player and is No. 56 in the World for the Under-18 age group, while his season-best World Juniors Ranking has been 15th by the ITF.
"We're extremely excited to have Spencer join our program. It's always exciting to get the level of recruit that Spencer has become. Since the age of 12, he has been one of the top Americans in the country," said Westbrook. "Ranking-wise, Spencer was No. 1 in 12's and No. 1 in 14's and when he was put on the USTA national team, he was sent all over the world to compete. What's also exciting about Spencer joining our program is that he's an Oklahoman and he's coming back to the state of Oklahoma."
"Spencer has played in quite of few of the Futures events and has represented the United States on the national team for the last four years. He is the No. 1 American. He'll come to Tulsa with a ton of experience," added Westbrook.
Papa was recognized by tennis legend Patrick McEnroe as the USTA Player Development Player of the Year as he captured the singles crown of the Banana Bowl ITF Tournament and the Copa Milo ITF Tournament in 2012. Also in 2012, Papa reached the semifinals in the Pan America ITF Tournament and the Asuncion Bowl ITF Tournament, while making the quarterfinals of the Eddie Herr ITF Tournament.
The Edmond, Okla., native advanced to the quarterfinals of the Pan America ITF Tournament held at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center on the University of Tulsa campus in October, 2013. Papa also advanced to the quarterfinal round of the USTA International Spring Championships ITF Tournament in Carson, Calif., in early April, 2013, and at the USA Futures ITF Tournament in Palm Coast, Fla., in January 2013.
Papa has not only enjoyed success in singles competition, but doubles play as well. In 2013, Papa partnered with Stefan Kozlov to win the doubles crown at the Asuncion Bowl ITF Tournament and the Banana Bowl ITF Tournament and was a doubles finalist with partner Alexander Zverev at the Copa Gerdau and the USTA International Spring Championships ITF Tournament. He also was the doubles champion with partner Jordi Arconada at the Easter Bowl ITF Tournament and doubles finalist with partner Danny Kerznerman at the Pan America ITF Tournament.
"I think he's the next American hopeful on the professional circuit," said Westbrook. "He'll have a few years for his mind and his body to catch up, but he's capable of beating anyone right now. We believe that his experience at Tulsa will tremendously enhance and benefit his jump from the collegiate system to the professional circuit."
"We believe Spencer is the missing link for next season. He will add to an already very, very good team returning in 2014-15," said Westbrook.
Papa began playing tennis at the age of 5 and started playing tournaments at age 7. At the age of 8, Papa was the No. 1 player in the 10-and-under age bracket in the Missouri Valley as he registered an undefeated record.
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