The first major 14-and-under tournaments of 2012 start in less than two weeks, with the Aegon International Teen Tennis and Les Petits As scheduled for back-to-back weeks beginning on January 16th in England.
The eight players--four boys and four girls--selected by the USTA are identified in the slideshow below. Last year three American boys, Stefan Kozlov, Francis Tiafoe and eventual champion Henrik Wiersholm, were in the quarterfinals in Tarbes, with Julia O'Loughlin making the quarterfinals in the girls draw at Les Petits As. The boys finished 1,2,3 (Kozlov, Wiersholm, Tiafoe) at Teen Tennis and O'Loughlin finished fourth there.
Tiafoe and Nicole Frenkel are making their second trip to these two tournaments this year. Kozlov, who is still age-eligible, decided against participating for the third straight year.
The complete list of acceptances for Teen Tennis and Les Petits As can be found by clicking on the tournament name, which takes you to the Tennis Europe site.
As I was watching the Fiesta Bowl the other night, I saw what I had read was a new advertisement for Gatorade, using its new theme, "Win from Within." Having seen Allie Kiick play many, many tennis matches over the past four years, I was certain she is the featured tennis player (Serena Williams is seen, very briefly, at the end)--the body language alone looked very familiar to me. Having confirmed it is Kiick, I'm including it below. It's great to have tennis included, especially with the focus on the less glamorous side of the sport.