Bartow teen competing in Orange Bowl tennis qualifier
by David Royal
Dec 12, 2013 | 907 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Emma McCary has a big test this weekend.

The Cartersville 13-year-old will be seeing how she matches up against some of the best tennis players around the world in her age group.

McCary, the daughter of Scott and Julie McCary, will be meeting them through playing in the qualifying round of the Orange Bowl International Tennis Tournament, considered one of the most prestigious events in the world.

She knows players in such tournaments are very competitive and winning is just one of her goals.

“Playing against players my level and better has taught me a lot of how to get better and where I am in my game,” McCary said.

She also is pleased that she was chosen to participate in the qualifying round. If she wins enough in those rounds, she qualifies to play in the tournament, potentially through the end of next week.

“I don’t know what to expect in the tournament, but I’m really excited,” she added.

Some things are given, though, such as the level of competition she will be facing while making her first trip to Miami.

McCary said she set her sights on the tournament about a year ago.

“I’ve been hearing about it for several years,” she said. “I’m really excited and very humbled to be accepted.”

The youth has been playing in USTA tournaments in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina for several years and gained enough points through them to apply for the Orange Bowl event. She is ranked in the top 60 among 14-and-under Georgians who play tennis.

McCary said tournaments pit her against players who are very skilled and from around the world. “Once you start traveling to compete in tennis tournaments, you face better and better competition.”

JP Vidour, her coach the past three years who also is the Cartersville Parks and Recreation Department tennis director, said McCary takes her tennis very seriously and is a good student with a lot of tennis skills.

“She’s a great student, the perfect student,” Vidour said. “She gives 100 percent effort every day. She’s also a great person to be around and has great, positive energy.”

He said she’s also a formidable opponent.

“She’s a very strong player offensively. She is a very powerful player,” Vidour said. “She is very competitive and tries for every ball.”

He said she also represents Cartersville well when she competes, both in her performance and through her actions.

Vidour said he’s pleased McCary is competing in Miami because it is “one of the most prestigious tournaments for juniors all over the world. It’s an honor for her to participate. It’s also a great opportunity for her to test herself and see where she’s at.”

The coach said even the Orange Bowl tournament will help further McCary’s tennis game.

“We’ll try to build on what she learns there,” he said. “This is a stepping stone.”

It’s not just about learning for McCary.

“My dad played when he was my age,” she said. “Once I started out, I never quit.”

She said she keeps playing because she enjoys the game. “It makes me feel happy doing something I enjoy.”