©Colette Lewis 2005
I watched junior tennis today, but I also spent significant time promoting it, with the help of American Express radio. They were looking for juniors to interview for a live show before the evening session, and because I had Sam Querrey’s cell phone number, he and I were both recruited.
I was also asked to join Barry McKay at the top of Ashe Stadium to do a primer on Kalamazoo. At the Open, American Express card holders have free use of radios, allowing them to follow the CBS (or USA Network) commentary while watching matches on other courts. During the TV commercial breaks, McKay provides updates on other matches and chats with guests. Monday was junior day, and I was given plenty of time between the Davenport and Agassi matches to explain some of the history of the Kalamazoo tournament, and provide some background on players to watch in the junior event. I don’t think I stumbled too many times, and my confidence in my knowledge of the topic kept my nerves at bay.
And as I watched and listened to the evening live show, with Holden Seguso, Sam Querrey and Tim Neilly answering the often pointed questions of Nick Bollettieri and Jimmy Arias, I was impressed, again, by the poise of these teenagers and their willingness to put themselves out there, for no more payment than a US Open sweatshirt.
It was also interesting to be told by the producer that last year’s junior radio show, which featured Scoville Jenkins, Scott Oudsema, Brendan Evans and Phillip Simmonds, was the most popular of all the shows they did. So despite the general so-what attitude toward junior tennis of the majority of tennis writers in the media center, at least it has the support of American Express radio.
As for the tennis played in the almost boringly perfect weather, the U.S. boys had another good day. Querrey and Seguso won in straight sets, Seguso taking out the eighth seed, Niels Desein of Belgium, despite a nervous stomach that found him doing an Andy Murray imitation prior to the match.
Qualfier Matt Bruch, who enters Stanford in a few weeks, also eliminated a seed, taking out Andre Miele of Brazil in three sets. He and Seguso also teamed to take their doubles match later in the day.
Jesse Levine, the 16th seed and a recent semifinalist in Kalamazoo, also was a straight set winner.
The only American boy to lose Monday was Kalamazoo 16s champion Nate Schnugg, who fell to International Grass Court champion and lucky loser Rupesh Roy, 6-3, 6-4.
Top seed Donald Young and wild card Jamie Hunt play their first round matches on Tuesday.
The U.S. girls had a less successful day, with only four of the ten playing Monday leaving the court winners. The most impressive victory was posted by Vania King, who won three qualifying matches and one in the women’s main draw last week. She didn’t let up when she returned to the juniors, winning 6-0, 6-0 this morning. Also advancing to the second round were Julia Cohen, who upset 16th seeded Amina Rakhim, Mary Gambale, the reigning girls national champion and fourteen-year-old Gail Brodsky.
Lauren Albanese, a finalist at the Canadian Open completed on Saturday, and wild card Jamie Hampton are scheduled to play their first round singles matches on Tuesday.