Florida players Alexandra Yepifanova (16, Bradenton) and Martin Damm Jr. (16, Bradenton) are some of the headliners scheduled to compete at the 73rd Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships, held Dec. 9-15, 2019 at the Frank Veltri Tennis Center in Plantation, Fla.
This summer, Alexandra Yepifanova became the first qualifier to reach the girls’ singles final of a Junior Grand Slam, doing so at the US Open Junior Championships in New York. Currently ranked the No. 20 junior girl in the world, the 16-year-old also competed in this year’s The Junior Championships, Wimbledon after qualifying for the main draw.
Martin Damm Jr., the top-ranked American junior boy, was a semifinalist at the Roland Garros Junior Championships and The Junior Championships, Wimbledon this year. In addition to competing in the US Open Junior Championships this summer, the Bradenton native alongside doubles partner Toby Kodat (16, Bradenton), became the youngest men’s doubles team to win a US Open main draw match in the Open Era after earning a wild card into the men’s double main draw.
Regarded as the longest-running international junior tennis tournament in the world, the Orange Bowl features singles and doubles competition for boys and girls in 18-and-under and 16-and-under divisions. It will be played on clay — the surface on which it was played from 1947-1998 — for the ninth straight year. Founded by Eddie Herr in 1947, the Orange Bowl quickly became one of the premier international junior events in the world and an annual showcase for the global scope of the game. Players from more than 50 countries have competed in the tournament, and champions have emerged from 28 different nations. A number of Orange Bowl champions have used the occasion to announce plans to turn professional.
Last year’s tournament saw the rise of Florida’s very own Coco Gauff, who in her final junior tennis match of her career, claimed the girl’s 18s singles title. The then 14-year-old Delray Beach native became the youngest Orange Bowl girls’ 18s singles champion in 15 years.
Past winners of the Orange Bowl include: Chris Evert (1969, 1970), Bjorn Borg (1972), John McEnroe (1976), Ivan Lendl (1977), Gabriela Sabatini (1984), Mary Joe Fernandez (1985), Jim Courier (1987), Anna Kournikova (1995), Roger Federer (1998), Elena Dementieva (1998), Andy Roddick (1999), Vera Zvonareva (2000, 2001), Marcos Baghdatis (2003), Nicole Vaidisova (2003) and Caroline Wozniacki (2005).
For more information about the event, visit www.ustaorangebowl.com.