17th Annual 'Little Mo' Internationals in Florida
Nov 30, 2023
The Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation (MCB) is proud to present the 17th Annual "Little Mo" Internationals tournament in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida and final leg of the 2023 "Little Mo" Slam! This prestigious event will be held at the Palm Beach Gardens Tennis Center (host site), PGA National Resort, The Tennis Club of Palm Beach, Jupiter Bay Tennis Club, Marshall and Vera Lea Rinker Athletic Campus, The Benjamin School, and Indian Spring Country Club from Friday, December 1 - Wednesday, December 6, 2023.
Approximately 700 players from over 60 different countries and territories worldwide will be featured in this international tournament. With so many talented players from around the world, it should prove to be a fantastic week filled with new friendships, great sportsmanship, and competitive tennis. In addition, this year is a special milestone for the Foundation — the 70th Anniversary of Maureen Connolly's Grand Slam win in 1953.
Sponsors this year include: Jersey Mike's Subs (JMS - Title Sponsor), Tennis Competitors of Dallas (TCD), Wilson Sporting Goods (Official Ball and Racquet), Lucky in Love Kids (Official Apparel), and Palm Beach County Sports Commission (PBCSC).
Over the years, many famous tennis names have participated in the "Little Mo" tournaments including Andy Roddick, Coco Gauff, Taylor Fritz, Tommy Paul, Belinda Bencic, Madison Keys, Leylah Fernandez, Dominic Thiem, Emma Raducanu, Sebastian Korda, Christopher Eubanks, Jenson Brooksby, Brandon Nakashima, Vasek Pospisil, Borna Coric, Mackie McDonald, Denis Kudla, Ryan Harrison, Taylor Townsend, Donald Young, Steve Johnson, Sofia Kenin, CiCi Bellis, and Ana Konjuh among many others.
MCB has promoted the development of junior tennis for over 55 years and continues to benefit countless numbers of young players worldwide.
Schedule of events
The festivities will begin on Friday, December 1 with a fun complimentary tennis clinic with drills, games, and prizes for all players hosted by Wayne Bryan (father of Bob and Mike Bryan) at the Palm Beach Gardens Tennis Center from 1:00-3:00pm.
The spectacular Opening Ceremony will begin at 4:00pm with the players parading onto the center court carrying their country flags. The national anthem and "America the Beautiful" will be sung by Micaela Bryan, daughter of Bob and Michelle Bryan. Chelsea Reed, the Mayor of the City of Palm Beach Gardens, will welcome the players and parents.
Recently named captain of the U.S. Davis Cup team, Bob Bryan of the famous Bryan Brothers doubles team, will be the featured Guest Speaker.
Considered by many to be the greatest doubles team of all time, Bob and Mike Bryan have shared a remarkable career together and achieved almost everything our sport has to offer: a record 16 Grand Slam men's doubles titles (2 French Open titles, 3 Wimbledon titles, 5 US Open titles, 6 Australian Open titles), 118 career titles, an Olympic gold medal together (London 2012), and an unprecedented 438 weeks in total as the #1 doubles team in the world.
Cindy Brinker Simmons, MCB President and daughter of Maureen "Little Mo" Connolly Brinker, will give an inspirational message on her mother's legacy as well.
Following the ceremony, a special Group Photo will be taken at 5:00pm. Matches will begin on Saturday, December 2 and continue through Wednesday, December 6. The winner of each division will be crowned a "Little Mo" Internationals champion.
For all draws and results, please visit: www.littlemoflorida.com.
On Sunday evening, a fun Player Party will be held for all of our families at the Palm Beach Gardens Tennis Center from 5:30-8:30pm. There will be many exciting activities for the players including a rock wall, laser tag, videogame van, foam pool, bubble machine, face painting, balloon twisting, "Mo Money" machine, pizza, popcorn, cotton candy, snow cones, bounce house, fun house maze, inflatables, DJ playing music, dancing contests, pickleball, and other games. There will also be a Silent Auction featuring autographed memorabilia, limited edition experiences, and exclusive vacation packages hosted by GSM Auctions, Inc.
Two sisters will compete this year
Mausia Toli (Girls 8) and her sister Inie Toli (Girls 10) from Wellington, Florida are still in the running for the 2023 "Little Mo" Slam after winning their age divisions at the "Little Mo" Internationals in Colorado and New Jersey earlier this year! These talented sisters will be competing in the "Little Mo" Internationals in Florida next week for a chance to take home the tallest trophy in junior tennis.
Mausia is in the third grade and Inie is in the fifth grade, and they both go to Florida Virtual School. Mausia's favorite subject is math and science, and her sister Inie's favorite subject is also math. They both train at the Rick Macci Tennis Academy in Florida. They enjoy spending time with their family and swimming. Inie also enjoys music and dancing while her little sister Mausia enjoys art and coloring.
"Meeting new friends from all over the world," is Inie's favorite thing about the "Little Mo" tournaments. Mausia said, "I like to collect 'Mo' Coins to buy toys. I also like meeting new friends." When asked what winning the "Little Mo" Slam would mean to you, Inie replied, "It will be very special. I've always loved the 'Little Mo' tournaments."
Mausia said, "It will mean so much. My older sister (Inie) wants to win it so I want to do the same." Mausia and Inie are both very excited to try and win the "Little Mo" Slam!
About "Little Mo"
The "Little Mo" tournaments are hosted by MCB in memory of its tennis champion namesake, Maureen "Little Mo" Connolly Brinker. Born in San Diego, Maureen became the first woman to achieve the Grand Slam of tennis in 1953 by winning all four major championships (Australian, French, Wimbledon, and US Open) in the same year. She was well known for her powerful groundstrokes from the baseline, which earned her the famous nickname "Little Mo" - a comparison to the explosive firepower of the battleship USS Missouri, also known as "Big Mo".
Only five players in the history of tennis have won the calendar Grand Slam, and Maureen is still the only American woman and the youngest at age 18 to have accomplished this magnificent feat. She won an amazing nine consecutive championship titles (three US, three Wimbledon, two French, one Australian) - undefeated in 50 matches.
Unfortunately, her spectacular career would be short-lived due to a horseback riding accident in 1954. While she could no longer compete at an elite level, Maureen's legacy as a legendary tennis star would continue through the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation (MCB). Founded in 1968 with her dear friend Nancy Jeffett, MCB's mission would be the promotion and support of junior tennis development worldwide. That same year, she was inducted into the prestigious International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island. Sadly, Maureen lost her valiant battle with cancer the following year and passed away at the young age of 34.
Although her tennis career only spanned three years, many premier sportswriters consider Maureen Connolly to be the finest of all female players for her achievements on and off the court. In 2019, she was honored by the United States Postal Service with her very own "Little Mo" Commemorative Forever Stamp.
Promoting sportsmanship and kindness
Maureen Connolly was known for her outstanding victories, but more importantly for her exemplary sportsmanship and kindness on and off the court. In turn, it is the mission of MCB to provide a special and meaningful experience at their events while also inspiring outstanding attributes at a young age such as fair play, good character, integrity, sportsmanship, kindness, giving back, and an attitude of gratitude.
To honor the legacy, the "Little Mo" offers special "Mo" Coins to players who display good sportsmanship and who are respectful and kind to others. The referee, officials, and tournament staff will have the colorful "Mo" Coins in their pockets to give to players during the event. All players will be able to trade in their coins for prizes. Sportsmanship and Kindness Awards will also be given to four deserving players selected by the officials during the tournament.
Source: MCB Tennis Foundation. MCB is led by its directors: Cindy Brinker Simmons (President), Brenda Brinker Bottum (Vice President), and Elizabeth Jeffett (Vice President). Carol Weyman (Executive Vice President), Matthew Cody (Tournament Operations Manager), and Tiffany Hollebeck (Tournament Operations Coordinator) organize the “Little Mo” tournaments. For more information about the “Little Mo”, please visit our website at: www.mcbtennis.org and click on “Tournaments”. Bob Bryan photo courtesy of ATP Tour. Other photos courtesy of MCB Tennis Foundation.