Australian Open Junior Championships Acceptances; Mitchell Frank Joins George Mason Staff; USTA Junior Competition Changes
The acceptances for the Australian Open Junior Championships were announced last week, with seven US girls and eight US boys earning places in the main draw of the first junior slam of 2017.
As is customary for the Australian Open, the fields are not strong compared to those at the other junior slams, but three 2016 junior slam champions are currently entered in the draws.
2016 US Open girls champion Kayla Day, who will be in Australia for the women's main draw after winning the USTA's wild card in the fall, is entered in the juniors, with her participation no doubt contingent on her performance in the main draw. 2016 French Open champion Rebeka Masarova of Switzerland, who has not played a junior tournament since the European Championships in July, is also entered. Bianca Andreescu of Canada, who has not played a junior event since losing in the semifinals to Day at the US Open, is also on the acceptance list.
The other US girls entered (the withdrawal date is January 10th) are Claire Liu, Taylor Johnson, Ellie Douglas, Caty McNally, Carson Branstine(who could be playing for Canada by then), and Natasha Subhash. US girls in qualifying are Victoria Emma, Hurricane Tyra Black, Nicole Mossmer, Dalayna Hewitt and Elysia Bolton.
The third 2016 junior slam champion entered is Denis Shapovalov of Canada, who won the boys title at Wimbledon. Shapovalov has not played at all, pro or juniors, since losing in the first round of the Fairfield Challenger back in early October. Australian Alex De Minaur, who Shapovalov beat in the Wimbledon boys final, has also entered.
US boys accepted into the main draw are Trent Bryde, Oliver Crawford, Danny Thomas, Patrick Kypson, Alexandre Rotsaert, Alafia Ayeni, Brian Cernoch and Andrew Fenty. Lukas Greif is the only US boy accepted into qualifying.
Two young Australians won entry into the Australian Open women's main draw, with 16-year-old Destanee Aiava getting a wild card for winning the National 18s title over Jaimee Fourlis. Fourlis managed to secure her spot by winning the Tennis Australia wild card playoff last week. For more on Fourlis's win, see this Guardian article. For more on the crop of young Australian women, see this Tennis Australia article.
The men's Tennis Australia wild card was won by 2014 US Open boys champion Omar Jasika, who beat former Tennessee All-American JP Smith in the final.
Division I George Mason University announced earlier this month that former University of Virginia All-American Mitchell Frank has joined its men's staff as an assistant, along with Vinh Do, a prominent player development coach in Virginia. For more on the two new assistant coaches, see this release.
Lisa Stone at ParentingAces.com has posted details on the 2017 USTA Junior Competition changes that all coaches, parents and players should familiarize themselves with. I'm sure we're all suffering from whiplash from the changes over the past several years, but we can hope this iteration will be the last for a while.