Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Elias Signs With IMG

Gastao Elias of Portugal has signed with IMG and will train at the IMG/Bollettieri Academy in Bradenton Florida. The announcement was released Monday by IMG; no terms were disclosed.

I've seen Elias play, primarily in Carson this spring, where he defeated Dennis Lajola and Wil Spencer before losing to Clint Bowles in the quarterfinals. (I missed him at this year's U.S. Open Juniors, where he lost to eventual winner Dusan Lojda in the second round). I was impressed with the great variety in his game, but not surprised that someone on the level of Dmitry Tursunov would overwhelm him, as The Blog King did in Estoril, Portugal just a few weeks later. Elias was given a wild card into qualifying and made the main draw as a lucky loser, falling to Tursunov 6-2, 6-1.

Here's Tursunov's account of that match, one his first wins on clay:

IT HAPPENED!!! They told me, “Just keep pluggin’ alone and you will win a match!!!” and it happened! Of course the kid was 15 but c’mon! I’m blond! We all have our excuses… I don’t care what anyone says. I matched my best clay court season record so from now on it can only get better! The match wasn’t too long and I tried to work on some things as it progressed. It was a bit tough, though, because the crowd reacted to every mistake by me as if the guy hit the shot of his life, so you don’t want to lose a single point because they are eating you alive. I guess that kinda goes with the territory when you play a local kid and they want to show him that they are backing him up!

Elias is scheduled to play both the Eddie Herr and the Orange Bowl, so I'll get a chance to see him play again soon.


Anonymous said...

Elias shows promise. Saw him play last week at Bolletieri's in a tournament closed to Bolletieri kids. He handled Chekov no problem in the semis but had more difficulty with Dadamo in the final. He's got talent and is a very good mover - very mature for his age (turns 16 this month). He doesn't have a "big" game but is very solid. A good move by IMG to sign him.