Rising tennis star Akasha Urhobo, 15, turns pro and gets her own day in Fort Lauderdale – Sun Sentinel


The city of Fort Lauderdale joined friends and family at the Jimmy Evert Tennis Center to celebrate the accomplishments of 15-year-old tennis star Akasha Urhobo.

The city designated May Day as Akasha Urhobo Day, which was celebrated by a few hundred well-wishers at the Holiday Park tennis court. Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis made it official with a proclamation honoring the rising tennis star.

His list of accomplishments on the tennis court is impressive as Urhobo’s resume continues to grow. Winning his first tournament at the age of 5 was just a taste of things to come.

Urhobo is the only two-time consecutive “Little Mo International Slam” champion and became the youngest ever USTA Women’s National Champion on clay, which she won as a 12-year-old at the Jimmy Evert Tennis Center. At age 14, she added another singles and doubles title at the USTA Clay Court.

Other impressive victories for the Lauderhill resident include winning the ATA 18 and Women’s National Championship and the 2021 FHSAA State 2A title as a student-athlete at Pine Crest High School.

Earlier this year, the big announcement was Urhobo joining the pro ranks. She qualified for her first professional tournament of the ITF World Tennis Championship and advanced to the quarter-finals.

The special event included tennis exhibitions featuring doubles play with Urhobo teaming up with fellow 15-year-old Yubel Ubri against Daniel Luptak and Lauren Cooper.

Later, Urhobo and his partner Luciano Muscella had an exhibition match against Junior Ore and Sathi Chirala. With the Fort Lauderdale Air and Sea Show, spotlighted by the US Air Force Thunderbirds, putting on a spectacle above the head, the tennis players put on their own impressive performance on the clay courts.

As a tennis player, Trantalis said he deeply appreciates what Urhobo has achieved at such a young age and what the future holds for him.

“It’s an amazing day here in Fort Lauderdale with the air show on the beach with thousands of people, the start of fleet week with our military, and today we recognize Akasha Urhobo, who is a young amazing person who has impressed everyone with her tennis skills,” he said. “To see a youngster apply her talents with her commitment is great and we hope to see her achieve great success at a high level at the national level. future. Her father TJ is very proud. That’s where Chrissy Evert started and so many others and the Jimmy Evert Tennis Center is a pool of talent. Fort Lauderdale is the best place for tennis.

TJ Urhobo is the head tennis professional at Jimmy Evert Tennis Center and owner of Tennis Prodigy, Inc. He has coached and coached his daughter Akasha since she started wielding a racquet at age 2 years old.

“Akasha is very excited to turn professional and played and beat some very strong players in her first tournament in Naples,” TJ said. “I’m mostly happy because she still loves the game and wants to do it. Akasha is the driving force in this pursuit and it is she who takes me to the tennis court. She stays committed to the sport and just enjoys the experience.

In many ways, Urhobo is a typical teenager who enjoys the company of her friends where they can share laughs and enjoy the simple things in life. Having the fanfare and the attention can be overwhelming at times, but the Lauderhill resident handled all photo requests and meet and greets with patience and grace. Its most comfortable setting remains on the tennis courts.

“Being around friends and family gives me a sense of security as I strive to achieve my goals,” Akasha said. “Their support allows me to stay on track knowing that there are people behind me who support me constantly. Today’s events made me feel a lot of gratitude to those who put the event together and to my coach/dad for guiding me to where I am now and where I will be eventually.

Fort Lauderdale recreation program supervisor and director of tennis Sean Rogers has followed Akasha’s career. It has been an integral part of the Jimmy Evert Tennis Center for over a decade.

“Because of all of her accomplishments and career path, we surprised her with Mayor Trantalis’ proclamation recognizing Akasha Urhobo Day. We had a few surprises for her today,” he said.

What started with a child following his father around the tennis courts has turned into a tennis journey that hopes for a fairy tale ending.

“The relationship between Akasha and his father is so dynamic and different from what most junior players experience,” Rogers said. “Akasha is the one who pushes her father to come and play tennis. It’s not the norm and it’s usually the parents who push their children to train and play every day. At a very young age, Akasha told his father that she wanted to be a tennis pro, which is part of the reason why she is so successful right now.

The members of Jimmy Evert Tennis Center have become Akasha’s biggest fans and are there to celebrate every big win. She won over the tennis public and non-athletes alike with the way she behaves off the court as well.

“She has the physical and all the intangibles. Akasha has courage and wants to win every point. She turns into a pretty remarkable young woman who hasn’t sacrificed her friends or social circles. To have a potential crush twice in the same place here at the Jimmy Evert Tennis Center is remarkable. We had that with Chris Evert. Akasha has that potential to do that. We will support her to cross the finish line.

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