24 Apr Tournament wraps with powerful message
2013 USTA Boys’ & Girls’ 12 National Spring Championships hosted by City of Delray Beach
Presented by Longines
Tournament wraps with powerful message from the future of American Tennis
April 13,2013; Delray Beach, FL – When the best 256 12-and-under boys and girls tennis players in the country gather for a USTA National Championships you don’t expect the week’s incredible tennis to be trumped by anything. I won’t say the magic performed by the tournament’s field of stars had a co-star but it had a wonderful supporting act in Mother Nature who, for the first time this writer can recall, barely played a role in the week’s activities. Perhaps that was part of the reason for the level of tennis we saw. Players stayed in rhythm and focus and produced a display of the sport that was something to be proud of, on and off the court. And ideal timing this was as we welcomed a new presenting sponsor, Swiss watchmaker Longines, to a powerful sponsorship family that includes the City of Delray Beach, Palm Beach County, Prince and more.
To the point of the week – The Gold Ball. The Holy Grail of junior tennis in the United States…
For #1 Boys seed Brandon Nakashima (San Diego, CA), the Gold seemed a formality as he cruised through every match without the loss of a set, losing more than three games only twice. Unknown to Nakashima, a Floridian with clay court prowess was plowing through the other side of the draw, matching the Californian’s results set for set. Though only the #9 seed, Adam Neff (Bradenton, FL) entered the Final with more than a little confidence. His bigger game and experience on the dirt proved to be too much, earning a 6-1, 6-4 win, the Gold Ball and from Longines – personally autographed Andre Agassi memorabilia and a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Paris to play in the Longines Future Tennis Aces event during the French Open against qualifiers from 16 other countries.
“Congratulations to Adam and all of the impressive young athletes who competed for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Jennifer Judkins, Longines U.S. Brand President. “At Longines we encourage the development of talented young tennis players and look forward to watching Adam represent the U.S. at the Longines Future Tennis Aces Tournament in Paris.”
For Neff it’s a shot at Parisian redemption as his last visit greeted him with a 10-day illness, falling his ability to compete before he could even swing a racket. Good luck Adam…and pound those Airborne chewables!
In Boys Doubles, local fans were rewarded as Boca Raton’s Christian Alshon teamed with Thomas Jahn (Montgomery, AL) to defeat the #2 seeded Yu brothers, Tomas and James (Bellevue, WA), 6-3, 6-0.
Girls #1 seed Sophia Edwards (Sarasota, FL) took a more circuitous route to the final than her boys’ counterpart. Three 3-setters and more hours logged on court than the net made Edwards the iron horse of the event, who would incredibly bounce back to the tournament desk like a rabbit with each win. The final proved to be a bounce-free zone as the week’s toll caught up with our iron horse, as did the #3 seed, Amanda Anisimova (Hallandale Beach, FL). Anisimova, no stranger to these Delray courts, could count the number of games she lost going into the final on her two hands (if she had 13 fingers). The fresher, stronger star took advantage playing first-strike tennis when serving and returning. With precision and power that was too much for the top gun, Anismova won 6-3, 6-1 in front of a crowd that included John McEnroe’s agent and the US Fed Cup team practicing on-site.
It was first-time Gold for Girls Doubles Champions Malkia Menguene (College Park, MD) and Natasha Subhash (Fairfax, VA). The #3 seeds played traditional doubles and with an aggressive net game beat #1 Dasha Kourkina (Brooklyn, NY) and Michelle Sorokko (Little Neck, NY), 6-2, 6-0.
“It was a great week of tennis capped off by two champions that deserved their wins. And they’re both great kids off the court as well” said Tournament Chairman, Ivan Baron. “Delray Beach and the local businesses continue to be the best hosts these players and families experience anywhere and we want to thank them for their hospitality” continued Baron, a Gold Ball winner himself. “With our new sponsors, Longines, Evert Tennis Academy, Athletic DNA, Academia Sanchez-Casal and an enhanced program with Prince who will be active at all 26 of our junior events, and our amazing core of sponsors beyond them, the tennis future is very bright here.”
A highlight program featuring the Boys and Girls Finals will air three times on CSS. The final installment can be seen Sunday, May 5, 2013 at 12pm ET.
For complete tournament results and information click here.
2013 Tournament Fun Facts…
- Players represented more than 30 states, plus Puerto Rico
- Boys Sportsmanship Award winner: Jackson Ross (San Antonio, TX)
- Girls Sportsmanship Award winner: Chloe Beck (Watkinsville, GA)
- Tournament played on 89 courts at five premier clubs in South Palm Beach County: Delray Beach Tennis Center (host), Delray Swim & Tennis Club, Evert Tennis Academy, Boca West Country Club and Swim & Racquet Center (Boca Raton)
- Semifinal and Final matches were played at the Delray Beach Tennis Center while the US Fed Cup team of Serena and Venus Williams, Sloane Stephens and Varvara Lepchenko practiced and an operations crew erected facilities for their match against Sweden the following weekend
- Girls’ competitor Ali Despain (Murrells Inlet, SC) played 11 hours of tennis in one day! Singles match for 4 hours 15 minutes, doubles match for 3 hours 30 minutes and a doubles match for 3 hours 15 minutes.
- Tournament used 2,592 tennis balls
- All used tennis balls are donated to local youth tennis programs while the plastic tennis ball cans and cardboard cases are recycled
2013 Tournament Sponsors..
HOST CITY: City of Delray Beach
PRESENTING SPONSOR: Longines – Official Watch Sponsor
- Palm Beach County Sports Commission/Palm Beach County TDC
- Prince – Official Racket, String and Grip Sponsor
- Academia Sanchez-Casal – Official Tennis Academy of the Girls’ 12s Division
- Athletic DNA
- Enterprise Rent-A-Car
- Evert Tennis Academy – Official Academy Sponsor of the Boys’ 12s Division
- Wilson – Official Ball