©Colette Lewis 2009--
We arrived in Bradenton early this afternoon, with the registration for 18s qualifying underway and 14s and 16s qualifying matches filling the nearly three dozen courts at IMG/Bollettieri Tennis Academy.
There have been some changes here since last year's Eddie Herr, with a general sprucing up of the grounds, court resurfacing, and even space devoted to a player's lounge. There was no escaping the usual chaos of nearly 2000 players--as well as parents, siblings, coaches--trying to register, get racquets strung, obtain information, find draws, learn results and double check match times.
But once I went out into the cool but pleasant late afternoon air, everything seemed under control. I watched a few games of Daniel Kerznerman's 6-4, 6-1 win over Dylan Gee of Great Britain, chatted with several coaches, players and junior circuit regulars, and even heard rumors of Jelena Jankovic, Maria Sharapova and Melanie Oudin sightings, although I didn't see any of the WTA stars myself. It took me only ten minutes to see my first pair of Oudin "Believe" shoes on a 16s competitor, however.
Eventually the sun set, and the accompanying temperature drop drove me back inside, where there was less activity than earlier, but still an occasional score reported or question posed.
The 18s qualifying begins on Saturday, and the main draw of the boys and girls 12s starts, with the girls scheduled for 8 a.m.
I've previewed the 16s and 18s for the Tennis Recruiting Network in a post today. It might not be entirely up-to-date with withdrawals, wild cards, etc., since it was written earlier in the week.
For qualifying results from today and the draws, see the tournament website.