Filip Krajinovic. Devin Britton.
The 62nd. Orange Bowl Tournament started yesterday at Crandon Park on Key Biscayne Florida. This is the oldest and largest Junior Tennis Tournament in the world and the list of winners is like the who’s who of the tennis world. Among the winners are Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl, Jim Courier, Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Chris Evert, Mary Joe Fernandez, Gabriella Sabatini and Elena Dementieva. Famous losers include Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic, Maria Sharapova and Novak Djokovic.
Competing in all the age group divisions are 500 players from 70 countries. The 18’s group on both the boys and girls sides are where the newest crop of future tennis stars will be found, and several of the juniors already touted to be among the next player to watch will be participating.
On the boy’s side 7 out of the top 10 will be in Miami including Tsung-Hva of Taipei who won the French Junior Open and was runner-up in the Australian Junior Open. From Brazil is much talked-about junior player Jose Pereira who was a finalist in the 16’s division last year. The top Americans are Devin Britton and Chase Buchanan.
Laura Robson from the UK is among the new future stars, she has already won an ITF tournament, and she also won the Junior Wimbledon title at the age of 14. Top Americans include Mallory Burdette, Lauren Embree and Sachia Vickery who at 13 is the youngest in the 18’s division, she is already a 4 time winner on the Junior ITF circuit.
A lot of attention is being paid to young Serbian player Filip Krajinovic, he’s been singled out as the ‘one’ to watch by both Nick Bollittiera and Brad Gilbert, but it is uncertain whether he will be playing in the Orange Bowl.
The winner of the girl’s title is awarded a free entry into the qualifying round of the Sony Ericsson Tour, along with the prestige of winning this event. This is where the future of tennis begins, and many of these young participants will go one to become professional tour players or club professionals, and each of them will expand the game for us all to enjoy for many years to come.