Archive for Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Local tennis star honored by USTA

November 22, 2006

A year filled with trips to Wimbledon and the U.S. Open was capped off with being named the best tennis player in a five-state region.

Baldwin City's Chloe Jones was recently honored as the 2006 United States Tennis Association Missouri Valley Junior Female Player of the Year. That section of the USTA covers Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

The news surprised Jones and her mother.

"They sent me a letter in the mail a couple weeks ago," Jones said. "I thought it was cool, but I wasn't like ecstatic. I was very happy, though. I had a lot of great opportunities in the past year."

Jones' mother, Cindy Jones, was happy for her daughter.

"That was a nice honor," Cindy Jones said. "She didn't play any Missouri Valley tournaments because she was traveling internationally, so we were surprised by it. They did give her a lot of attention for everything she did."

In the past 10 months, Chloe Jones has traveled to two continents and two other countries in North America.

She visited Southeast Asia for several tournaments during March. During the trip, she went to Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines. In late June, Chloe Jones traveled to England to play in the Wimbledon girls' junior championships.

"Going to Wimbledon was amazing," Chloe Jones said. "I was able to see many of the professional players, which was pretty cool. I sat center court and watched them play. Other than a slight groin injury I had, it was awesome."

Chloe Jones exited early from the tournament, but she was invited to travel to Belgium as a practice/hitting partner for the U.S. team a couple weeks of later.

In May she played in Mexico, before she traveled to Canada in August.

At the end of the summer, Chloe Jones played at the U.S. Open junior tournament. She didn't last long in the tournament, but she was able to watch tennis legend Andre Agassi play in his final tournament.

"I had a tough draw in the tournament," she said. "It was cool that I got to see two of Andre Agassi's matches. Plus, we stayed at a nice hotel where all of the pros stayed also, which was cool."

Despite all of the traveling, Cindy Jones isn't too worried about her daughter, but she does miss her.

"I used to travel with her a lot, but I don't very much anymore because she goes with USTA or her coach," Cindy Jones said. "That's probably how it is going to continue to be. We miss her when she is gone, but she knows what we expect from her. She is responsible.

"She has her phone to call us," she said. "She is in contact with us quite a bit, but it's harder for her to call us when she is overseas. She also brings her laptop to e-mail us."

Chloe Jones left Tuesday to go train in Florida for a week or two while living with her aunt. She will also be playing in two tournaments while there. She is unsure of her plans for the rest of the upcoming year, but she hopes to continue traveling internationally.

She will be presented with her player of the year award at the 2006 USTA Missouri Valley Annual Awards and Hall of Fame Luncheon on Dec. 9 at the Sheraton Hotel in Overland Park.

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