THE J.O.B. STAR-MAKING MACHINE
Following the Eddie Herr and the Orange Bowl, the year-end junior tournament march continues this week with the 55th Annual Junior Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships, featuring more than 1,500 of the top-ranked 12- and 14-year-olds from across the globe.
Played at four clubs/facilities in and around Miami, the JOB hosts players from more than 70 countries. The 2016 Honorary Chair is John Isner, who said, “I am proud to support all of you, the rising stars who represent the future of the game.”
How influential is the JOB on the tennis landscape? Past winners making a big impact on the pro circuit include Juan Martin del Potro (2002, B14), Andy Murray (1999, B14), Tommy Haas (1992, B14), and Jimmy Connors (1964, B12) on the men’s side, and on the women’s side Madison Keys (2007, G12), Justine Henin (1996, G14), Jennifer Capriati (1986, G12), Monica Seles (1985, G12), Steffi Graf (1981, G12), Mary Joe Fernandez (1982-83, G12,G14), and Andrea Jaeger (1975, G12). For more info go to http://jrorangebowl.org/tennis.
FLORIDA TENNIS YEAR IN REVIEW
Florida USTA League teams recorded a record three first-place finishes at USTA League Nationals since the expansion of league age groups. We lost some legendary Florida players and organizers, and gained a 10 and Under Youth Tennis Tournament Pathway, and a 10-and-under Green Ball Sectionals.
USTA Florida broke ground on a new headquarters to be completed next year, right next to the 100-court $100 million USTA National Campus in Orlando. The Bryan brothers (above) pitched in for kids’ day at the Miami Open. Florida tennis centers continued to garner national awards and recognitions, while in addition to USTA Florida League teams, other teams and individuals showed their drive to be No. 1. Check out the Florida tennis highlights from the year gone by.
A fixture for years on the USTA Florida junior tournament circuit, Pembroke Pines 18-year-old Stefan Kozlov is poised to crack the Top 100 on the ATP World Tour Rankings. “I played pretty much everything — the Super Series, the designateds, the regionals, state closed, everything,” Kozlov said of his junior tournament days. “I played the state closed [now called the USTA Florida “Bobby Curtis” Junior State Championships] a lot when I was younger.”…We’re only weeks away from the beginnings of tennis innovations and growth with the opening of the USTA National Campus in Orlando. USTA Florida is also gearing-up for the move…Vero Beach’s King van Nostrand is ranked No. 1 in the world in the ITF Men’s 80 singles after winning ITF Grade A events in Chile and Aregentina…Aussie Nick Kyrgios and former Aussie pro Mark Philippoussis have acknowledged they could possibly work together in a player-coach relationship…Eight Sochi Olympic Russian athlete urine samples “had salt content that was physiologically impossible in a healthy human” according to Reuters…Some of the top pro questions for 2017 are the returns of Maria Sharapova from a drug suspension, Nick Kyrgios from various suspensions, Victoria Azarenka from having a child, Serena Williams’ challenge to return to the No. 1 ranking, and the returns from injury of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal…Playing tennis in NYC just got easier — they just cut the city’ tennis permit fees in half, and doubled the number of sites where players can buy permits…NYC has also attracted former No. 1 Dinara Safina, who has made the transition to coaching.
They Said It
“He was the type of guy you either loved or hated, and I definitely loved him. In a way, my game is similar: big serve. We’re all-around players, we can do anything. I’ve learned a lot from watching his game.”
— Bradenton’s Michael Mmoh on his favorite player, Andy Roddick, speaking to Sports Illustrated
“It means a lot to me to be named ITF World Champion. I have had such a memorable year, winning again at Wimbledon, retaining my Olympic title, and clinching the year-end No. 1 ranking in the last match of the season. It is particularly special with my brother Jamie also becoming [doubles] World Champion.”
— Andy Murray, this week named the ITF World Champion for 2016
“I love team sports. I love watching and also playing. Everyone supported me this week and that makes it more fun, more enjoyable.”
— Nick Kyrgios, competing for the Singapore Slammers this week during the International Premier Tennis League season
USTA Florida wishes you more tennis, happy holidays, and a rewarding and healthy 2017!