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Junior tennis star rubs elbows with Serena Williams

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Tue. April 2, 2013 | Matt Baker | Email

Junior tennis star rubs elbows with Serena Williams

Noah Makarome received the perfect birthday present for a tennis phenom.

The Wesley Chapel resident traveled to Miami on March 18 to film a TV commercial with three other adolescent tennis stars — and No. 1-ranked pro Serena Williams.

“How often do you get to spend your birthday with Serena Williams?” said Makarome’s father, James. “It was an experience of a lifetime.”

Makarome, one of the country’s top junior players, celebrated his 14th birthday around the Sony Open. He had a speaking role in the Wilson commercial, which honors the tennis company’s 100th anniversary and will air on ESPN and the Tennis Channel.

Other tennis stars at the shoot included two-time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka, eighth-ranked Petra Kvitova and top-40 male players Feliciano Lopez and Kei Nishikori.

Wilson’s marketing manager had another treat in store for the Makaromes. Noah was to hit with Nishikori and Lopez, and his older sister, Star, was going to practice with Williams and Azarenka — but rain began to fall just before they planned to take the court.

“It just kept going,” their father said. “But that’s how it goes.”

Noah is in the middle of a three-week stint in California, including an ITF event and a week of training with renowned coach Jose Higueras.

Star won the USTA National Open in Mississippi in February. The Wiregrass Ranch sophomore was the Class 4A state runnerup last spring.

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