Remember Mia Kupres from last year? In 2018 she was the top 14-year-old in Alberta. Then she became the top 14- year-old in Canada. Yes, Canada’s top 14-year-old in 2018 is from Edmonton, Alberta. She won both the indoor and outdoor national singles titles, a rare feat. And she also won the outdoor U14 national doubles title. Three national titles in 2018. She also did very well at the U16 nationals, ending up in 3rd place. What a year for Mia.
(Photo above, Mia Kupres who is third from the right with her U18 training group at the Saville Community Sports Centre in Edmonton, before Mia’s departure to Mexico. Andrea Jones photo).
(Photo above: Mia Kupres at the U14 Outdoor Junior Nationals, 2018).
Mia had her 15th birthday this January. She moved up to the U16 category, and without missing a beat, is off to Mexico and Guatemala with a Canadian team of U16 girls. While other Alberta U14s/U18s are playing at the Royal Glenora in Edmonton this weekend as part of the Road to Nationals series, Mia will be in Mexico with her Canadian team mates, preparing for three ITF tournaments.
“After the training camp at the National Training Centre in Calgary I’m off to Mexico and Guatemala to play several ITF tournaments with Tennis Canada. There I will join a few other Canadian girls who I’ve been with on various tours before. In addition to some good competition, I’m looking forward to seeing them again.” (Mia Kupres)
Mia is a well-travelled young athlete. Before Christmas she spent one month in Florida playing at the ITF Junior Orange Bowl where she made the round of 16 in the consolation event. Also in 2018, she played two ITF events in Victoria, British Columbia; completed tennis training camps in Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary; and played at the World Junior Tennis Qualifications in Mexico.
Her best result so far at the ITF level was making the semi-finals last October at the Victoria Junior ITF Grade 5 event. Also in 2018, she made the finals in doubles at the Yonex Calgary U18 ITF Junior Event. And she made the semi-finals in doubles at the Panorama International Junior ITF Championship in Victoria, losing to the same U.S. team at both tournaments. For more on Mia’s recent ITF activities click here.
I asked Mia why she thought she had been so successful:
“I have worked hard, had good coaches, good hitting partners, and a supportive family. My family has always encouraged me, helped me work through challenges, driven me to practices and tournaments. Good time management is crucial and I rely on the help of my parents a lot. Also Carson (Bell), my coach, has been present for all of my Nationals wins and actually any time I’ve done well at Nationals. Not having him around for ITFs is challenging. I’m not sure how good at self assessment I am at this point. I don’t know if my success in 2018 was what I expected. I worked hard at improving and results came, but I am aware that there is still so much work to be done and I do have a desire to do it.”
Her mother Mila commented on Mia’s success:
“Mia always took something positive from competitions, even when she lost. She never got discouraged. Both my husband and I work, so we have been fortunate to have been supported by other families and coaches when we cannot be at the tournaments. Mia has learned to be independent at a young age. When she is away we can only talk on the phone, which is difficult for a parent.” (Mila Kupres, Mia’s mother)
(Photo above: Mia Kupres and her coach Carson Bell at the outdoor junior nationals, with her two first place trophies).
Favourite professional tennis players. “My all time favourite female player is Justine Henin, who is now retired. She had impeccable technique, an all-court game and relied on skill, finesse and overall athleticism rather than on shear size and hard hitting. My favourite male player is Novak Djokovic, and not only because I have Serbian background (Mia’s parents immigrated to Canada from Serbia in 1998). Even though he doesn’t have such broad appeal like Federer I do admire his skill on the court, his resilience and work ethic. He also appears to be going through some internal struggles, working on self improvement on and off the court, which makes him more relatable to me.”
Favourite movie and TV show. “My favourite movie would have to be Lord of the Rings. I watched it for the first time, back to back, when I was only 4 years old and I still haven’t gotten tired of it. It became Christmas tradition for my family to watch the trilogy every year. There are lots of TV shows I like. I have watched Friends many times over. My newest obsession is the Office. That particular brand of humour appeals to me.”
Favourite school subject. “My favourite subject in school is math. For me, once I understand the concept not only is it easy to further build on that, but I can retain that knowledge without having to constantly revisit it. I don’t find that with subjects that are more about memorizing facts.”
Favourite food. “Aspiring to be an athlete, my favourite food should probably involve quinoa. But at this point it is still mint Oreo blizzard from DQ!”
Why tennis is her favourite sport. I like tennis because it is an individual sport, it is just you out there.
When Mia returns to Edmonton in late February she will begin training for the indoor nationals which take place in March/April.
“I am hoping to play more ITF tournaments this year, to increase my ranking points and hopefully to graduate to a higher grade competition.”
Note that the U12 nationals will be held March 22-28 at the Tennis Academy in Calgary. The U14 nationals are in BC March 30-April 5. The U16 nationals will be in Quebec March 22-27. And the U18 nationals are in Ontario March 31-April 5.
(Photo above: Mia Kupres and her doubles partner, Reece Carter, at the outdoor nationals.)
Buena Suerte Mia!
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