By Sally Milano, USTA.com
Boys' world No. 1 Alexander Zverev of Germany and 2013 US Open girls' finalist Tornado Alicia Black of Boca Raton, Fla., are among several of the world's top junior tennis players who will be competing in the 67th Metropolia Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships.
The tournament will take place Dec. 9-15 at the Frank Veltri Tennis Center in Plantation, Fla.
The Orange Bowl, which is regarded as the longest-running international junior tennis tournament in the world, features singles and doubles competition for boys and girls in 18-and-under and 16-and-under divisions. It will be contested on clay – the surface on which it was played from 1947 to 1998 – for the third straight year. (The event was held on hard courts from 1999 to 2010.)
In addition to Zverev, a 2013 French Open finalist, the boys’ 18s field includes No. 7 Johan Sebastien Tatlot of France and No. 8 Filippo Baldi of Italy.
No. 13 Stefan Kozlov, a 15-year-old from Pembroke Pines, Fla., who made his ATP main-draw debut at Newport, R.I., in July and pushed No. 113-ranked Michal Przysiezny, leads the American contingent, along with No. 19 Michael Mmoh (15, Temple Hills, Md.) and No. 38 Francis Tiafoe (15, College Park, Md.). That trio comprises three of the four 15-year olds in the Top 40 of the boys' world junior rankings.
Russia’s Varvara Flink, ranked No. 5 in the world, tops a girls' 18s field that includes No. 10 Ivana Jorovic of Serbia and the 15-year-old Black. Currently ranked No. 11, Black made headlines in September for her run to the final of the US Open Junior Championships as an unseeded wild card.
Martin Redlicki (18, Hawthorn Woods, Ill.), Spencer Papa (17, Edmond, Okla.), Danny Kerznerman (17, Brooklyn, N.Y.), Dennis Uspensky (17, Atlantic Beach, N.Y.), Alex Rybakov (16, Coral Springs, Fla.), Julian Zlobinsky (17, Greenvale, N.Y.) and Henrik Wiersholm (16, Kirkland, Wash.) are also slated to play in the boys’ 18s main draw, along with wild-card selections Taylor Fritz (16, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.), Tommy Paul (16, Coconut Creek, Fla.) and Alex Knight (16, Miami Shores, Fla.).
Other Americans in the girls’ 18s main draw include Johnnise Renaud (17, North Miami, Fla.), Katrine Steffensen (17, Scarsdale, N.Y.), Dasha Ivanova (17, Beaverton, Ore.), Michaela Gordon (14, Los Altos Hills, Calif.), Usue Arconada (14, College Park, Md.), Rianna Valdes (17, Boca Raton, Fla.), Kaitlyn McCarthy (15, Cary, N.C.) and Madison Bourguignon (16, Boynton Beach, Fla.), as well as wild-card selections CiCi Bellis (14, Atherton, Calif.), Katerina Stewart (16, Miami), Ellie Halbauer (16, Boca Raton, Fla.), Sofia Kenin (15, Pembroke Pines, Fla.) and Gabby Castaneda (17, Miramar, Fla.).
Founded by Eddie Herr in 1947, the Orange Bowl is one of the premier international junior events in the world. 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.
Past winners of the Orange Bowl 18-and-under singles titles include Chris Evert (1969, 1970), Bjorn Borg (1972), John McEnroe (1976), Ivan Lendl (1977), Gabriela Sabatini (1984), Mary Joe Fernandez (1985), Jim Courier (1987) and Anna Kournikova (1995). Roger Federer (1998), Elena Dementieva (1998), Andy Roddick (1999), Vera Zvonareva (2000, 2001), Marcos Baghdatis (2003) and Caroline Wozniacki (2005) all won the event on hard courts.
For the latest news, photos, information and more on the 2013 Orange Bowl, visit www.orangebowltennis.org.