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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Orange Bowl Recap, Slideshow, Videos; USA Today Feature on Boca Training Center; AO Wild Card Tournament Starts Friday

My recap of the Orange Bowl is available now at the Tennis Recruiting Network. I have been asked how I feel about the new venue and from my perspective, it is an improvement over Key Biscayne for several reasons.

1. It feels like a junior tournament. Players congregate on the patio, and there is much more intimacy than at the sprawling Crandon Park site.
2. The hotels and restaurants are much closer to the site.
3. Both 16s and 18s are together throughout the tournament.
4. It is more centrally located for the South Florida tennis fan base.

I thought the tournament went well in its first year at a new site, and I expect the few glitches that did occur will be fixed when it returns to the Veltri Tennis Center in 2012, which I understand is a certainty.

And on my Christmas list for this year for every junior tournament I cover is a flat screen display that contains every result of the day. So far, it's unique to the Orange Bowl, and much appreciated, by fans, media and players alike.

Below is the slideshow from last week's Orange Bowl, and videos of the four champions. The finalists videos can be found by clicking on the player's name, which will take you to the tenniskalamazoo YouTube channel.

Dave "the Koz" Kozlowski interviewed Kontaveit after her win at the Orange Bowl, and that audio file can be found at the Tennis Channel. Actually, Kontaveit is still 15, not 16 as the caption says. She will turn 16 on Dec. 24.

Diego Pedraza

Katie Boulter
Yulia Putintseva
Patrick Ofner

I was pleasantly surprised to see, given the general lack of junior tennis coverage in print media, Taylor Townsend's picture on the front page of USA Today this morning when I picked up the paper from outside my hotel door. Townsend is part of a feature story Nicole Auerbach wrote about the USTA's National Training Center in Boca Raton.

For the story on Townsend, click here. For the story on the Player Development Headquarters in Boca Raton, click here. My favorite quote:

"Do any of us have a crystal ball and can see who the next great one is?" USTA national coach Kathy Rinaldi said. "No."

Amen to that Kathy.

The USTA's Australian Open wild card tournament begins Friday at the Racquet Club of the South. Eight men and eight women are competing for the USTA's reciprocal wild card with Tennis Australia. Townsend will kick off the action in a match with No. 1 seed CoCo Vandeweghe. For the draws and schedule, see the tournament website. A livestream will be available here.