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Parris a big piece for Breakers

World Team Tennis

Local 14-year-old, a rising junior tennis sensation, takes her job with the Orange County team seriously.

July 25, 2012|By Matt Szabo
  • Parris Todd, 14, said she enjoys the experience of being on the Orange County Breakers team.
Parris Todd, 14, said she enjoys the experience of being… (KEVIN CHANG, Daily…)

When Parris Todd was not quite 6 years old, she asked her parents for a tennis racquet.

Charles and Angela Todd were surprised. The request seemed odd. Neither of them played tennis.

Yet there they were less than two years later, taking Parris to the prestigious Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida.

After a day of hitting there, the request suddenly seemed to make sense.

"The first night we came back, we had dinner and she was like, 'OK, let's go hit again,'" Charles Todd recalled. "I was like, 'You trained all day, you want to go hit again?' And she was like, 'Yeah, let's go.'

"That was the time that I knew that she really wanted to do it. My whole thing was that I wanted to take her down there and kind of test her, and within the first day she had already passed the test and then some. I had a revelation — this is what this girl's going to do with her life. At that point, I knew as a father, and as a family, that this is what we're going to be doing with our child."

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Things have happened quickly for Parris, an Irvine resident who just turned 14 earlier this month. She is an alternate for the Orange County Breakers. That too came quickly for Parris, who was hitting at UC Irvine earlier this summer when Anna-Lena Groenefeld of the Breakers didn't have someone to hit with.

Coach Trevor Kronemann asked Parris to step in. The next day, he called her on the phone.

"I just kept up so well that he asked me to be on the team," Parris Todd said. "It's a great experience, just seeing the level [of play] and being able to support them."

Parris has been on the team for all of the Breakers' home matches this season. They have three more this week at UC Irvine's Bren Events Center, starting with Wednesday night against Sacramento.

Yes, she is young. If she gets into a match, she would set a league record for the youngest participant in World Team Tennis history. But her job supporting her teammates, including former world No. 1 Lindsay Davenport, is no less important.

Prior to Monday's match, Parris warmed up her teammate, the 2011 NCAA singles champion Jana Juricova. Juricova proceeded to win in women's singles and doubles as the Breakers beat Springfield, 24-17.

Kronemann said he is impressed with Parris' professionalism. After all, the Breakers are a professional sports franchise.

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