From grassroots to potential national champions.
Norwalk Grass Roots Tennis can make that leap this weekend, when its 14-and-under team plays in the USTA junior team national championships in South Carolina.
The program will send 13 young players to compete for national glory, after winning at the state level and regional level. Grassroots Tennis has never come this far.
"We never thought we'd get this far," says Yuuki Hosokawa, a 12-year-old on the team. "We thought we'd go [to Massachusetts for the sectional championship tournament] and have a good time.
Pratyusha Chintalapudi says she was "frozen" when her team secured a trip to this weekend's national tournament.
These kids train like pros -- Hosokawa says he plays "at least six" days of tennis each week.
David Kimani, the program's director of tennis, says his players fit in about 15 hours of practice per week.
"We see each other every day," Chintalapudi says. "We never get sick of each other. We always have fun."
Hosokawa says the tennis team "is like family."
"Our main interest is giving opportunities to inner city kids," Kimani says. "So they can play this wonderful game of tennis."
"We're just very excited," he says.
"I hope the team has fun," Hosokawa says. "It doesn't really matter about winning. It's more about having fun."