|2013 champion Collin Altamirano is in qualifying this year|
Most people familiar with the sectional endorsement process, after seeing what happened at the Clay Courts, are not surprised to find many of the best 18-and-under competitors in the 64-player qualifying tournament.
Those in the boys 18s qualifying draw, meaning 128 boys are considered more worthy of main draw places than they are, are:
Collin Altamirano, 2013 18s champion and ATP 847
Jared Donaldson, 2013 18s finalist and ATP 343
Eduardo Nava ATP 1143
Alex Rybakov ITF 26
Logan Smith ITF 43
Deiton Baughman ATP 1043
Noah Rubin ATP 536, 2014 Wimbledon boys champion
Others still age eligible who were not accepted and therefore will need one of the eight wild cards are:
Stefan Kozlov ITF 2, ATP 861
Francis Tiafoe ITF 6, ATP 1172
Michael Mmoh ITF 11, ATP 1149
Dennis Uspensky ITF 68
Ernesto Escobedo ATP 593
Spencer Papa ATP 1673 (will rise after reaching a Futures final last week)
Other notable names missing from the entries are Alfredo Perez, Catalin Mateas, and 2012 16s finalist Alexandru Gozun; there are probably others who have slipped my mind.
Obviously a selection process that does not take into account the ITF or ATP/WTA rankings is going to produce headaches, and it is now virtually impossible to seed the tournament until the qualifying is over, since not all of these top players can be given wild cards.
As I said over and over during the junior competition restructuring, I thought the old system, while not perfect, was good enough. It allowed the very best juniors to compete internationally and professionally to test themselves, while still recognizing their presence in the USTA national fields enhanced the competition for everyone. Now they are being marginalized, sent to a qualifying tournament where they don't belong. I'm sure they are confident of qualifying should they not receive main draw wild cards, but those who play against them are not really being given a fair chance.
Lisa Stone at the Parenting Aces blog is promising more analysis of the selection process later this week.
The complete list of competitors can be found at the TennisLink site.
The girls 18s qualifying also has some of the country's most accomplished players, including:
Brooke Austin, WTA 578 and semifinalist in San Diego last year
Louisa Chirico, WTA 250 and semifinalist at 2013 French and Wimbledon juniors
Christina Makarova, former ITF 11, WTA 594
Others who are age eligible but not among the acceptances and therefore needing wild cards if they wish to play:
Tornado Alicia Black ITF 4
Sofia Kenin ITF 30
Dasha Ivanova ITF 35
Katrine Steffensen ITF 51
Raveena Kingsley ITF 62
Johnnise Renaud ITF 80
Taylor Townsend WTA 144
Josie Kuhlman WTA 669
Ellie Halbauer WTA 701
Karina Vyrlan WTA 776
Liz Jeukeng WTA 883
Other notable names absent are: Ingrid Neel, Meredith Xepoleas, Terri Fleming, Abi Altick, Cassandra Vazquez, Brooke Broda and Madison Bourguignon.
The complete list of girls 16 and 18 competitors can be found at the TennisLink site.
Vicky Duval, the 2012 National Hard Court champion, is still eligible to play, as she doesn't turn 19 until November, but by moving into the WTA Top 100 this week, she wouldn't need a US open wild card.
Unfortunately, Duval has recently been diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and will be undergoing treatment this summer. Anyone who knows Vicky is pulling for her to make a speedy recovery and return to the game, which will miss her engaging personality.