Weil graduate Brian Wilson finishes his junior year at Illinois with a bang by leading his team to a win over Vanderbilt in the NCAA Men's Team Championship and then turning around and winning the NCAA Men's Doubles Title with teammate Rajeev Ram. Wilson, playing number 2 singles and doubles, helped Illinois go 32-0 for the year and capture the school's first NCAA Tennis Championship.
"To be compared to the best teams in the history of the NCAA is just amazing-we had a great year and all played well at the right times. Going undefeated wasn't one of our goals, but winning the team title definitely was on the list, so we're pleasantly surprised at our results, " Wilson said.
In the Doubles, Wilson and Ram were unseeded and defeated the #'s 2 & 3 teams on the way to the final. In the championship match, Wilson and Ram faced another Weil alum and #1 seed Ryan Redondo and his partner from San Diego St. Wilson And Ram came away with a 3 set victory in the title match. For their performance at the NCAA's, Wilson and Ram received a wildcard into the Main Draw of the U.S. Open Men's Doubles Championships!
"Having Mark (Weil) at both the NCAA's and the U.S. Open was awesome. I've trained at Weil since I was 16 and use the academy as my base when I'm not in school. Being around such an intense and high performance environment is a lot of fun for me. It really gives you an edge in the big matches to know how to train and what to do in pressure situations. I'm looking forward to another big year at Illinois and repeating in both the Team and doubles championships-maybe I'll try to add the singles this year!" said Wilson.
Twelve year-old phenom Gail Brodsky, who has trained at Weil since September, won her first major title this December by winning the Eddie Herr International Championships in Bradenton, Florida. Brodsky defeated 11-year-old Maria Larcher de Brito from Portugal 6-4, 7-5 in the finals. Gail also defeated the number one players from Russia, Portugal and Japan on the road to the title.
"I am so happy to win the tournament-I couldn't have done it without my Mom and Dad and all of the coaches at Weil that helped me this year. I am so grateful for everyone's support. This is my biggest title yet and I couldn't have done it without everyone behind me! " said Brodsky after the win.
Academy Director Mark Weil was surprised Brodsky performed so well in her first international tournament: "Gail was very shaky at the beginning of the tournament-very streaky. We knew she couldn't beat all the terrific players in the draw unless she settled down and focused on her movement and consistency-the Japanese girl in the semis was especially strong. But champions improve with each match and they play big points better than the good players-and Gail did just that. When the match was on the line, Gail was bigger than everyone else. I'm so happy for Gail and her family!"
Gail moved to Weil from Brooklyn, New York where her father Edward has been her only coach. Gail will now begin training for the Orange Bowl, which will be played on clay in Miami in one week. Gail looks to be seeded in the top 4 now and will be one of the top girls to compete for the title. After the Orange Bowl, Gail will travel to Arizona to compete in the Winter Super Nationals and the Copper Bowl before returning to Weil for the spring semester.
Sesil Karatanchva - 14-year-old wonder from Bulgaria makes it through to the third round at the Pacific Life Open with a Wild Card entry. Former Weil Tennis Academy Alumni, Sesil had two stunning victories in the opening rounds of the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells. Sesil defeated American Alexandra Stevenson, ranked #119, in the first round 6-2, 2-6, 6-1. She then fought an even tougher match against #25 Seed Magui Serno from Spain 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 - What an upset! Sesil's match against #24 Seed Russian Maria Sharapova - was no less spectacular, as Maria is a veteran on the pro circuit and had to fight hard to win the match with the final scores of 3-6 6-3, 6-2. What an unbelievable showing by Sesil who trained at the Weil Tennis Academy for one and a half years upon her arrival in the United States. While she trained at the Weil Tennis Academy she won the 2001 Orange Bowl in the Girls 12s and then went on to win the 2002 Singles Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament in the Girls 16s!
We wish Sesil all the best as she has definitely stamped her name on the pro circuit tour! You can check out Sesil's latest results at: http://www.karatantcheva.com/