We arrived at the IMG/Bollettieri just as a very dark and menacing group of clouds did, with heavy rain disrupting the boys 14s and 16s qualifying matches that were underway.
The rain didn't last long, perhaps an hour, but the humidity kept the courts from drying quickly, so many of the matches scheduled for later in the day were postponed until Saturday.
I was able to talk with a couple of players I hadn't seen in a long time--Melanie Oudin, who was getting away from the deteriorating weather in Atlanta, and Christian Harrison, whom I hadn't seen since I was last at Bollettieri's a year ago. Harrison confirmed that he had received a wild card into the 18s main draw, and said he was pleased with his play in the Amelia Island tournament, considering it was his first competition in 18 months, but felt his movement was the biggest area he needed to improve. He is also showing signs of a growth spurt. Oudin, who will be supporting friend Austin Smith when he plays in the 18s qualifying Saturday, said she was not playing any exhibitions during the off-season, but taking time off and preparing for 2011, beginning with the Hong Kong exhibition prior to Hobart and the Australian Open.
The wild cards for the boys 18s, in addition to the already announced Michael Redlicki and Harrison, are Mac Styslinger, Richard Del Nunzio, Daniel Khanin and Luke Bambridge. Ridley Seguso received a qualifying wild card. The girls 18s wild cards are Vicky Duval, Stephanie Nauta and 14-year-old Oceane Dodin of France. Skylar Morton received a qualifying wild card.
The special exemptions from the Yucatan Cup are all from doubles: Nik Razborsek of Slovenia, Frederico Silva of Portugal and Ysaline Bonaventure of Belgium.
For the 18s qualifying draws, and all the other age divisions, click here.
Friday, November 26, 2010