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For the first time in Northern Arizona history, a 16-year-old tennis player has qualified for what is the largest and most prestigious junior tennis tournament in the United States
By Brian Bergner Jr.
Larson Newspapers
For the first time in Northern Arizona history, a 16-year-old tennis player has qualified for what is the largest and most prestigious junior tennis tournament in the United States.
Sedona’s Alexander Lineberry left for host city Kalamazoo, Mich., for the United States Tennis Association Boys 16 and Under National Championships, to be held Saturday, Aug. 2 through Sunday, Aug. 10..
On Saturday, July 26, a tennis round robin was held at the Sedona Racquet Club for Lineberry to help raise funds for the trip.
“I’m very excited. I can’t wait to get there and start playing tennis,” Lineberry said in a phone conversation while getting off the plane in Kalamazoo.
His father, tennis coach and director of tennis at SRC, Larry Lineberry, put on the round robin tournament to help raise funds for Alexander Lineberry to go to Kalamazoo.
Approximately 40 players of all levels of play participated throughout the day, playing men’s, women’s and mixed doubles in a round robin format in recognition of Alexander Lineberry’s accomplishment.
“The outpouring for Alex [Lineberry] was overwhelming and very gratifying,” Larry Lineberry said.
“The Verde Valley tennis community demonstrated wonderful support for Alex [Lineberry] in celebration of his accomplishment. Many of the players have known Alex [Lineberry] for years and have seen him work hard and progress in his tennis.”
Each participant paid an entry fee, and many others made a non-playing donation on Alexander Lineberry’s behalf. A well-organized bake sale was also held.
The entry fees, donations and the bake sale earned over $1,100 toward Alexander Lineberry’s considerable expenses to Kalamazoo.
Alexander Lineberry will compete in the Boys 16 and Under singles and doubles events. First round singles play is set to begin on Saturday, Aug. 2.
The prestigious tournament features the top 192 players in the nation who qualified for the main draw, either by their high national ranking or their USTA sectional endorsement.
Alexander Lineberry earned one of the two Southwest section endorsements based on his playing results over the past eight months of competition within the Southwest section and his national tournament results.
Representing Mingus Union High on April 26 in the 4A-II state championship singles match against Daniel Plasencia of Arcadia High, Alexander Lineberry fought hard but lost a heartbreaker and the title, 6-2; 6-4.
When asked how playing for an Arizona state high school singles championship compared to playing the national tournament in Kalamazoo, he had this to say:
“Playing in Kalamazoo is like playing in the Super Bowl in football. And playing in the high school state championship game is like playing in a state championship football game. That’s how big this tournament is.”
In preparation for this prestigious tournament in Michigan, Alexander Lineberry has a tight workout schedule with tennis almost every day at the SRC.
He was no stranger to playing in tournament after tournament during the past few months to even get in this position to represent Northern Arizona in Kalamazoo.
“There was a lot of tough matches I had to go through and win. We hit when we can when I’m not playing in tournaments, and I always find time to get in the gym,” Alexander Lineberry said.
As the round robin benefit tournament came to an end on Sunday, players shook his hand and wished him luck for his journey to Michigan has made family, friends and other tennis players proud, no matter the result.

Brian Bergner Jr. can be reached at 282-7795, Ext. 131, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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