U.S. Junior Davis Cup, Fed Cup teams look to defend titles

September 24, 2015 02:26 PM

By Sally Milano, USTA.com

Sixteen-year-old Sam Riffice of Greenville, N.C., the top-ranked player in the boys' 16s national rankings, and 15-year-old Claire Liu of Thousand Oaks, Calif., the No. 2-ranked player in the USTA Girls’ 18s, will help lead the defending champion U.S. in the Junior Davis and Junior Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Finals, the premier 16-and-under world team competitions.

The competition, which will take place Sept. 29-Oct. 4 on red clay courts in Madrid, Spain, includes 16 nations on both the boys’ and girls’ sides, competing first in round-robin groups, then in a knockout bracket to determine the winner.

In 2014, the U.S. swept both titles for the second time in seven years.

Joining Riffice on the Junior Davis Cup team are Vasil Kirkov, 16, from Tampa, Fla., and Patrick Kypson, 15, from Greenville, N.C. Sixteen-year-old Kayla Day of Santa Barbara, Calif., and 16-year-old Michael Gordon of Los Altos Hills, Calif., will play with Liu (pictured above) on the Junior Fed Cup team.

USTA National Coach Sylvain Guichard will coach the boys in Junior Davis Cup competition, while USTA National Coach Adam Peterson will lead the girls in Junior Fed Cup play.

Riffice swept the USTA Boys’ 18s National Clay Court singles and doubles titles this summer. He also led the U.S. to the 14-and-under World Junior Tennis finals in 2013. Kirkov advanced to the Boys’ 18s Clay Court singles semifinals and won the doubles title (with Riffice), while Kypson is the 2015 USTA Boys’ 16s National Hard Court singles champion.

Liu and Gordon won World Junior Tennis gold together in 2013. Gordon is now ranked No. 24 in the world among all juniors ages 18 and under, while Liu made history this past March by winning a USTA Pro Circuit $10,000 event in Orlando at 14 years old, becoming the youngest female player to win a USTA Pro Circuit singles title since Anna Kournikova in 1996. Day, a former USTA national champion, is currently ranked No. 51 in the world among juniors.

The U.S. has won three Junior Fed Cup titles (2008, 2012, 2014) and three Junior Davis Cup titles (1999, 2008, 2014).

Former U.S. junior international team members include Jim Courier, Andy Roddick, James Blake, Lindsay Davenport and Sloane Stephens. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic also have represented their respective countries in junior international team competition.

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