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Midwest Juniors Journey to the US Open

Photo courtesy of Bill Kallenberg

Paul Oosterbaan and Ronnie Schneider Earn US Open Wild Card

By winning the USTA Boys 18s Doubles National Championship in Kalamazoo, Mich., Ronnie Schneider (Bloomington, Ind.) and Paul Oosterbaan (Kalamazoo, Mich.) earned a Wild Card entry to the main doubles draw of the US Open.  It is a dream achieved for these two Midwest junior players who will continue their tennis careers after their US Open experience at the University of North Carolina and the University of Georgia respectively in the fall.  Follow their experience below with their first hand account of participating on the biggest stage of tennis:

Thursday, August 29, 2013
Ronnie Schneider:

Unfortunately this is my last post everyone! Paul and I lost a tough one to Raj and Bakes today. It was an awesome experience, and we were right there in the 2nd set. Just a point or two was the separation.

Overall, this week here in New York was so awesome. Everything about it was amazing, and I am even happier I got to go through it with Paul. No matter what the rest of out tennis careers have in store for us, this will be something I will never forget. That being said, all of this makes me want to be able to come back here again even more.
Thank you all do much for the support from Kalamazoo to here!  All the kind messages and write ups mean so much to me. Hope to talk to you all again soon!




Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Ronnie Schneider:

Hey everyone! Going to keep this one short because I just got back to the hotel at 11:30 pm and I have to get up early tomorrow. I found out Paul and I play tomorrow 4th match on Court 10. It should be a ton of fun and I know we are ready.

Before I go, big shout out to the reason I got back so late, Rajeev Ram, on his big win over 16 seed Fabio Fognini tonight! He absolutely crushed him and played great. Here's to hoping he got all the good playing out of his system in time for tomorrow match! (Just kidding Raj, if you're reading this...you're the man)


  Ronnie taking a practice break with Thursday's doubles opponent Brian Baker
Paul Oosterbaan:
Howdy. Today was my favorite day in NYC. I practiced with John (Isner) this morning. Not only that... We practiced next to Rafa on the left and Serena on the right. Needless to say I was a little nervous about shanking a ball. Overall it was an incredible experience. Still waiting on the schedule to come out for tomorrow. Can't wait to get my turn on the courts!
Former and soon-to-be University of Georgia Bullbogs enjoyed a practice session together on Wednesday.


Tuesday, August 27
Ronnie Schneider:
What's up everybody? Hope you had a great day. I had another fun one here in New York!
My day started off hitting with my coach Bryan then practicing with former NCAA champ and Stanford grad Bradley Klahn, who won his first round match the day before. I hit again in the afternoon with the rising star Brit Dan Evans, who qualified and then thumped the 11 seed Kei Nishikori yesterday. Funny little side note, we were also scheduled to hit tomorrow afternoon, but I was told right before I left for the day that he had to cancel the hit because Roger Federer asked if he could practice. That's probably the most understanding I've ever been with someone canceling on me.
I'm really pumped for tomorrow because I get to watch the legend Rajeev Ram take the court against Fabio Fognini 4th on Court 17. Possibly the best part is I get to be in his "box" since Court 17 is a stadium-type court. If you're watching and see some guy down on court level going nuts when Raj wins a big point, that'll probably be me.
Paul Oosterbaan:
Today was a great day. I practiced for a few hours in the morning then Hung out with my family for the rest of the day. I also got to sit in John Isner's box today during his match. It was an awesome experience being so close to the court. I have received a few messages about my entries being to short from one of my coaches. I try to keep them short because I know that he can't read very well! Looking forward to the last day of practice tomorrow, before I get to play on Thursday. Talk to y'all tomorrow.



Monday, August 26, 2013

Ronnie Schneider:

Today was a long and busy day. I had hits lined up from 8:30-11:00 am, and then I hit with world #35 Julien Benneteau at 1:45 pm. Practicing with someone as good as Julien is always a great experience. Paul and I also got to play some doubles for the first time since we've been here.

I was also able to get in some good watching in-between hits. I was able to catch the 5th set of Tomis-Ramos and Sloane Stephens' 3rd set. Both those matches were highly entertaining an nerve wracking, especially Sloane's 3rd set tiebreak.
Once we found out that we don't play tomorrow (Raj and Bakes are scared), the search began again for practices, and it looks like it'll be another busy day. I made sure to plan a large time gap right in the middle though from 11:00 am - 4:0 pm so I can watch some.

Paul Oosterbaan:

Today started very early because there were limited courts because of matches starting today. I got some great hits in and even played some practice dubs with Ronald. We found out that we do not play until most likely Wednesday. Tomorrow I'm going to watch John Isner play in Arthur Ashe Stadium. Really looking forward to watching him play and looking forward to getting on the court myself.



Sunday, August 25, 2013

Ronnie Schneider:

Hey all, hope you are doing well! Today was a pretty busy day at The Open practice-wise. I hit at 9:00 and 9:45 in the morning, took a little break then hit at 1:00 and 1:45 pm.

For the 1:00 pm practice, I hit with fellow Hoosier Rajeev Ram, who also has the same coach as me, Bryan Smith. As it turns out, right before we head out to hit we find out we're playing each other in doubles! What are the chances? At first I was a little hesitant to hit with him since he could be secretly figuring out my many weaknesses during our session, but after he begged and pleaded for a long while, I graciously relented. (Note: EVERY word of that last sentence is 100% true).

Today was also the first time I'd ever been inside Arthur Ashe Stadium. Wow, that place is humongous. Hopefully one day I can have the honor of playing a match inside it.

Tomorrow should be an equally as busy day, and Paul and I should also find out when we play our first round doubles match. I'll get back with you tomorrow!


Paul Oosterbaan

Very exciting day in NYC. We found out that we will play fellow American's Rajeev Ram and Brian Baker. Ronnie and Raj are good friends so it'll be a fun match. Today I practiced with Austin Kracjek for a few hours. Then Ronnie and I hit a few balls later in the day. I let him win today because I thought he needed a confidence booster before we play in a couple days. Talk to you tomorrow.


Paul's corner of the locker room


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Ronnie Schneider

Hey everyone! Happy to be blogging for the USTA/Midwest Section during my trip to NYC for the US Open. I'm so excited to be here and share some of my experiences with you.

Today was my first day on site, and it was a lot a fun getting everything set up in the locker room and around the grounds. I hit a few times as well, two of the times with my doubles partner Paul Oosterbaan (who I hear is also blogging as well. Don't expect too much out of him though considering he's a Georgia Bulldog and all).
Joking aside, Paul is a fantastic guy and winning Kalamazoo this year with him was one of the greatest moments of my life so far. This is my 3rd year in a row here, but first time in the men's division. I know this is Paul's first of, hopefully, many trips to the US Open, so I think he is eating the experience up as I am.  
Tomorrow I will be starting nice and early with a 9:00 am hit. I will hopefully accumulate a couple pictures tomorrow to share with you. Until then have a great night and talk to you soon!

Paul Oosterbaan:
This morning I arrived in NYC at 9:00 am and headed straight to the courts to practice and check in. After getting my locker all set up and meeting a past Georgia Bulldog (John Isner), I went out to the courts a few times to practice with Ronnie. The first hit we were all the way on Practice Court 11. It took us about 20 minutes to walk there from the locker room. The second hit we got to hit on Court 7 and there was a small crowd watching the whole time. I'm looking forward to tomorrow to get to spend more time around the pros.


Friday, August 23, 2013

Ronnie Schneider (video via University of North Carolina):

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