Dennis Afanasev, right, who grew up on the Peninsula, poses with legendary tennis coach Nick Bollettieri after winning the Nick Bollettieri Discovery Open's boys 15-and-under crown at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. (IMG ACADEMY/COURTESY OF ANDREI AFANASEV / June 16, 2013)
Because of his long-held skill of stringing rackets quickly and properly, Onoff used to work at the U.S. Open, where elite players in many divisions provide a constant demand for efficiency.
Catching up with Dennis
Dennis Afanasev of Leesburg, who spent much of his childhood on the Peninsula but has been training in suburban Washington for the past few years, is starting to gain national attention.
About two weeks ago, Afanasev won the boys 15-and-under championship at the Nick Bollettieri Discovery Open.
He defeated four opponents -- all from outside the U.S. -- in straight sets, including a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Pedro Uribe of Colombia 6-1, 6-1 for the championship.
Thanks to Afanasev's father, Andrei, a professor at George Washington University, for that update.
According to the Tennis Recruiting Network, Afanasev is ranked 54th nationally, ninth in the Mid-Atlantic Section and first in Virginia among rising 10th-graders (the senior Class of 2016). He got as high as No. 52 on Feb. 26.
A host of local junior tournaments are being conducted this summer.
Among the recent champions was Kristin Dantzler in the girls 16-and-under "A" category of the William and Mary Junior 16s Smash Singles tournament, held at McCormack-Nagelsen Tennis Center.
Dantzler, who battles diabetes and deals with all of its attendant blood-sugar checks, joined York High newcomers Teresa Alvarez and Gaby Tersigni in providing the Falcons a potent top three this season.
Dantzler won the seven-player bracket in exciting fashion, taking a pair of match tiebreakers after splitting sets before beating Lindsay O'Neill of Glen Allen 6-4, 6-1 in the final. In her semifinal, Dantzler edged top seed Morgan Fuqua 6-4, 0-6, 1-0 (10-6).
Fuqua turned out to play a crucial role in Mills Godwin's march to the state Group AAA team championship, winning a three-set match on line 6 as the Eagles beat rival Deep Run 5-2 earlier this month at Huntington Park.
Programs to come
Hampton Tennis Center:
HTC has scheduled tennis camps for eight weeks: June 24-28; July 8-12, 15-19 and 22-26; July 29-Aug. 2; and Aug. 5-9, 12-16 and 19-23.
They are for ages 4-18 and will emphasize eye-hand coordination, ball control and consistency, and match play and formulating a game plan.
HTC also offers adult clinics, private, semi-private and group lessons, developmental tennis and an academy program.
For more information, call 757-727-1193 or 781-526-2196, or access hamptontenniscenter.com or jtitennis.com, Jennifer Itonyo's website.
Centre Court Racquet Club:
Centre Court's summer junior clinic will run from June 17 to Aug. 23. It will be held Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9-10:30 a.m.
The cost is $90 for six sessions or $18 per session, and attendance can be flexible. For more information, call Russell Nevins at 757-344-6263.