June 7th, 2016
Preview: Tennis Jrs. Attempt to Follow Courier, Evert at 68th Florida Junior State Singles
Future college and pro tour stars will be crowned when the 68th USTA Florida “Bobby Curtis” Junior State Singles Championships are held on June 11-15, 2016, in age divisions 18-12 at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach (18-16s divisions) and at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs (14-12s divisions).
In 2012 the tournament was renamed the USTA Florida “Bobby Curtis” Junior State Championships in honor of legendary Florida junior tennis organizer Bobby Curtis. Babolat and Tennis Warehouse are official tournament sponsors of the 2016 USTA Florida “Bobby Curtis” Junior State Singles Championships.
Last year’s returning champions and runners-up:
Boys’ 16s champion Michael Heller (Weston) this year competing in the Boys’ 18s
Boys’ 16s runner-up James Ignatowich (Wellington) this year competing in the Boys’ 18s
Boys’ 14s runner-up Dylan Breslaw (Port St Lucie) this year competing in the Boys’ 16s
Girls’ 14s champion Nina Gulbransen (Boca Raton) this year competing in the Girls’ 16s
Girls’ 14s runner-up Rosie Dickson (Bradenton) this year competing in the Girls’ 16s
Boys’ 12s champion Michael Nicholls (Aventura) this year competing in the Boys’ 14s
Girls’ 12s champion Charlotte Owensby (Boca Raton) this year competing in the Girls’ 16s
Girls’ 12s runner-up Emily De Oliveira (Bradenton) this year competing in the Girls’ 16s
Boys’ 10s champion Alexander Di Staulo (Weston) this year competing in the Boys’ 12s
Boys’ 10s runner-up Francisco Montana (Cutler Bay) this year competing in the Boys’ 12s
Girls’ 10s champion Lilly Pleasant (Daytona Beach) this year competing in the Girls’ 12s
Girls’ 10s runner-up Grace Levelston (Vero Beach) this year competing in the Girls’ 12s
Participants that are children of former ATP World Tour players include Emma Shelton (G16) and Ben Shelton (B14), daughter and son of Bryan Shelton, the University of Florida men’s tennis coach; Martin and Max Damm (B14), sons of former US Open doubles winner Martin Damm; and Mirabelle Tahiri (G12), the daughter of former Davis Cup player Mehdi Tahiri of Morocco.
A Pizza Party/Pasta Party and College Information Session will be held on Friday, June 10 from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Florida Tennis Center, where players can receive information on the ins and outs of college tennis from elite coaches and players. Presenters include Kelly Jones, former ATP player and men’s coach at Furman University; Phil Girardi, men’s and women’s coach at St. Peteresburg College; Tim Pleasant, men’s and women’s coach at Bethune-Cookman University; Keith Puryear, women’s coach at Naval Academy; and Jenna Kelly, former varsity player at the University of Central Florida.
Upwards of 50 of the country’s top tennis coaches and scouts are expected again this year at the Florida Tennis Center location. At the Sanlando Park site there will be an Early Check-In, Pizza Party and Practice on Friday, June 10 from 4-7 p.m.
Additionally on the line for Florida’s top juniors beginning this weekend, each division winner will automatically qualify for the USTA National Hard Courts tournament later this year in their age division, and each semifinalist in the 12s-18s divisions will receive a $350 stipend to assist with travel costs for a future National level 1 or 2, or Zonal tournament.
The USTA Florida “Bobby Curtis” Junior State Championships is the most competitive USTA Section junior championships in the U.S., spawning the most players of any USTA Section to go on to the professional circuit and rank No. 1 in the world. Former “Bobby Curtis” champs who have gone on to rank No. 1 in the world on the ATP and WTA rankings:
* Chris Evert (1971 Girls’ 18, 1970-69 Girls’ 16, 1968 Girls’ 14, and 1966 Girls’ 10 champion)
* Jennifer Capriati (1986 Girls’ 12 champion)
* Jim Courier (1986 Boys’ 18 champion)
* Andy Roddick (1996 Boys’ 14, 1994 Boys’ 12 champion)
Other notable winners over the years have been current WTA player Bethanie Mattek-Sands (1998 Girls’ 14 champion); three-time Grand Slam runner-up, two-time Olympic gold medalist and current U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez (1983 Girls’ 14, 1982 Girls’ 12); former world No. 8-ranked Carling Bassett (1980 Girls’ 12); former world No. 7 and current USTA National Coach Kathy Rinaldi (1980 Girls’ 14, 1979 Girls’ 12); former world No. 7 and current USTA National Coach and U.S. David Cup Coach Jay Berger (1985-84 Boys’ 18, 1983 Boys’ 16); former world No. 3 and two-time Slam doubles winner Brian Gottfried (1970 Boys’ 18, 1966 Boys’ 14, 1963-64 Boys’ 12); former world No. 5 and two-time French Open semifinalist Eddie Dibbs (1969 Boys’ 18, 1967 Boys’ 16, 1965 Boys’ 14); and former ATP player and legendary tennis organizer Charlie Pasarell (1958 Boys’ 15, 1957 Boys’ 13).
The USTA Florida website at www.ustaflorida.com will feature daily results coverage, along with additional news and player features on the official tournament website at www.ustaflorida.com/bobbycurtis2016. Players on social media can follow the action or post on Twitter with the hashtag #bobbycurtis2016, and also follow the action via the USTA Florida Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ustaflorida.
For more tournament info go to www.ustaflorida.com/bobbycurtis2016.
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