This week is pretty quiet in the tennis world, even for the juniors. In years past, the Grade A Casablanca Cup was going on in Mexico City, but the ITF moved that tournament to before the Yucatan, Eddie Herr and Orange Bowl tournaments, so this really does amount to an off-season on the ITF junior calendar, with only two Grade 4s, one in Sweden and one in China, this week. The ITF Pro Circuit calendar is even more sparse, with just one women's $10,000 tournament scheduled in Hong Kong.
While I was in Florida covering the Eddie Herr, Orange Bowl and Junior Orange Bowl, I obviously missed many articles I would usually link to, so in the next several days, I will be trying to catch up on what I've missed and pass on links.
The ITF announced its year-end champions, with Russia's Andrey Rublev and CiCi Bellis of the US winning those coveted titles. They will be honored at the ITF's ceremony in Paris during the French Open. Rublev went straight to the Dominican Republic after losing in the semifinals of the Orange Bowl and won the singles title at the $15,000 ITF Futures tournament there, beating Mitchell Krueger of the US in the final. Krueger and Sekou Bangoura(Florida) won the doubles championship.
The USTA has published its Year in Review series, with a look at Bellis' great year and the Wimbledon success of Rubin and Kozlov and a separate article on the US sweep of the Junior Fed Cup and Junior Davis Cup.
Florida freshman Brooke Austin is the subject of this feature by the Independent Alligator. (Not sure what the reference to Florida's blue clay is about).
The ATP's Josh Meiseles has written a two-part series on the rising Young Guns, with Nick Kyrgios of Australia, Dominic Thiem of Austria, Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic and Borna Coric of Croatia featured in Part 1, and Alexander Zverev of Germany, Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia, Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan, Hyeon Chung of Korea and Kyle Edmund of Great Britain featured in Part 2.
2010 World Junior Champion Daria Gavrilova, who is switching her national allegiance from Russia to Australia, won the Australian Open wild card playoff. Jordon Thompson won the men's wild card playoff for the second year in a row, defeating former Tennessee All-American JP Smith in the final.
Roger Federer discusses his parenting philosophy in this BBC interview.
Ben Rothenburg explores the ramifications of the recent ATP and ITF prize money increase announcements in this New York Times article.
Jonathan Kelley has been busy on his On The Rise blog, not only keeping his weekly career-high rankings list for Americans current, but also wrapping up the (second half of the) year in US tennis. His look at the WTA women is here, and the ATP men is here. Both have extensive coverage of juniors included.
In her new tennis blog, Just Drop the Ball, Lang features 10 American boys and 10 American girls to watch in 2015, and has posted a question and answer session with 18-year-old Californian Deiton Baughman.