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Thursday, December 17, 2020

Orange Bowl 16s Recap; Australian Open Moving to February; ATP Announces 2021 Calendar Update, Including Delray in January; USTA Adding National Level 2s

2020 hasn't been a great year for junior tennis in the United States, but last week's Orange Bowl 16s championships provided an big opportunity for Americans, who swept all four titles in Plantation Florida. If you weren't able to follow my daily coverage last week, check out my recap, posted today at the Tennis Recruiting Network.  The 18s recap will be out on Friday.  

I would be remiss if I didn't thank the USTA's Dan Pyser for all his assistance in getting interviews during the tournament. I really wanted to be there, and am still getting over my disappointment that a false positive covid-19 test kept me from covering it in person, but having live scoring, and someone to organize interviews, made it possible for me to cover it remotely, and for that I am grateful. Thanks go to Bill Kallenberg of CapturedInAction.com too, who was able to provide me with a number photographs from his time on site. 

Although there is nothing currently posted on the Tennis Australia website, many media sites, including the BBC, are reporting that the tournament will indeed be pushed back by three weeks, starting on February 8th, due to quarantine requirements in Victoria, the state where Melbourne is located. Other tournaments will take place in Melbourne in the two weeks prior to the slam, but qualifying has been moved to the Middle East, with women in Dubai and men in Doha. 

Tennis Australia announced a few weeks ago that its Junior Championships will not be played this year. (CORRECTION: the Junior Championships will not be played at the same time as the professional event. TA is still considering holding the event later this year).

The ATP has officially announced its schedule for the first seven weeks of 2021, with the Delray Beach Open kicking off the year. Usually in February, the 250-level tournament will run from January 5-13, which is oddly Tuesday through Wednesday. Another ATP 250 tournament is being held on those same days in Istanbul, followed by the Doha Australian Open qualifying and then the Melbourne events. Although the announcement does not get into March, I've read several reports stating that Indian Wells will be postponed, possibly until next fall.

The ATP also announced the first Challenger events for five weeks beginning Monday January 18, 2021; unfortunately none are being held in the United States, with Turkey, France, Italy and South Africa the countries hosting those ten events. 

As of today, the WTA has yet to officially announce any dates for its 2021 tournaments. See this post from Stephanie Myles for the likely schedule.

Lisa Stone of Parenting Aces spoke with Dan Holman, the USTA's National Manager for Youth Tournaments today, with that interview available now on YouTube. The focus of their conversation is the USTA's new national junior tournament structure for 2021, but Lisa reports that due to the cancellation of the Winter Nationals, the USTA will now double the number of Level 2 events scheduled for February 6-8, in part to provide more geographically regionalized options for top juniors.

For more resources regarding the upcoming changes, see Parenting Aces.