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Friday, December 18, 2009

USTA Selects Boys for Winter Tournaments in Europe

With rain washing out the entire schedule today at the Junior Orange Bowl, there's an opportunity to pass along some news from the USTA Boca Raton Training Center. As has been done for the boys in the past, a round robin tournament was held Sunday and Monday, with two of the spots on the European Winter Travel 14-and-under team then decided by matches on Tuesday. Unlike previous years, there were many younger players invited, and all four who played on the last day are entered this year in the 12s division at the Junior Orange Bowl. Typically, the USTA has stuck to the birth year of those who will be 14 in the upcoming year. Eleven-year-old Stefan Kozlov of Florida won his group with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over North Carolina's Tommy Paul and Spencer Furman earned an invitation with a 7-5, 6-4 decision over fellow Washington state competitor Henrik Weirsholm. There are two coaches' picks, and those selections were Paul and Noah Rubin of New York. Rubin is the only player born in 1996 on the team.

While the round robin competition was going on, Andy Roddick was in Boca Raton for his annual charity event over the weekend, and he hit at the training center, on one occasion with junior Jack Sock. Both Sock and the 12-year-olds were delighted to have an opportunity to interact with the top American.

Spots on the girls team are generally not decided by a competition like the one held at Boca for the boys. Last year Sachia Vickery, Vicky Duval and Brooke Austin were on the winter team and also won the championship at the ITF World Junior Tennis competition in August, the third straight win for the U.S. 14-and-under girls. Austin is still age-eligible for 2010.

The Aegon Teen Tennis tournament in England begins on January 14, 2010. The dates for Les Petits As are January 21-31.