Seeing players from the pro tennis tour is really nothing new for Alycia and Mikayla Parks. Since leaving the Atlanta area 4 years ago to train and expand their game in Florida, crossing paths with some of the world’s top players has become quite frequent. Their home is not far from Delray Beach, which annually hosts an ATP tour event. This year John Isner, Mardy Fish and James Blake played in the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships, but what happened last week was even more amazing.
Their father, Michael Parks says , ” Just when it seems like we have seen all the best something even better happens.” Parks was talking about Federation Cup week at Delray Beach. The United States faced Sweden at the Delray Beach Tennis Club and some of the superstars on the pro women’s tour were on the American squad. Alycia and Mikayla have seen rising American sensation Sloane Stephens training at the USTA facility in nearby Boca Raton and were happy to see her again. Clearly the big treat for the Parks sisters and all of the fans was the chance to see Venus and Serena Williams playing together for team USA. It gave the Parks sisters a chance to watch their heroes play in person when the competition got started on the weekend.
Little did they know that the excitement for them would start a bit sooner. USTA officials and Federation Cup captain Mary Jo Fernandez cleared the way for Alycia and Mikayla to come watch the team workout and talk with some of the players. Venus Williams has met the Park sisters before and took the time in between her workouts to walk over and say hello. Sloane Stephens presented them with official United States Fed Cup team shirts,while Alycia and Mikalya were the subject of pictures taken with future American Fed Cup players Madison Keys and Taylor Townsend.
It had to be an inspirational expierence for Mikayla who is now 13, an Alycia who is 12 as they continue to develop their games with an eye making their mark on the professional tennis tour one day. Speaking of development, while the stars of today were shining at Delray Beach, last weekend at Boca Raton Alycia Parks was one of only 11 girls in her age group to take part in the USTA’s National Player Development Training Camp. Alycia’s performance at USTA was consistant with her play throughout this spring which includes winning two tournaments for 16 year olds.
Yet another proud moment took place on day two of Federation Cup, when the Parks family got to meet Venus and Serena’s father, Richard Williams. Williams, who was familiar with Aliycia and Mikayla reached for his trusty camera. “I want to take a picture of you for Venus,”said Williams who also posed for a picture with the Parks sisters.
It was the perfect ending to an unforgettable week for the Parks family.