By Sally Milano, USTA.com
It was a clean sweep for all four U.S. junior teams that competed last weekend at the North/Central American & Caribbean Championships in Montreal, Canada, as the 16-and-under U.S. Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup teams and the 14-and-under U.S. boys’ and girls’ World Junior Tennis teams all advanced to the World Finals of their respective world team competitions.
The Junior Davis Cup, Junior Fed Cup and boys’ World Junior Tennis teams finished in first place at the event, while the girls’ World Junior Tennis team placed second. The top two teams from each four-team round-robin pool advanced to the World Finals.
The Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup Finals will be held September 24-29 in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and the World Junior Tennis Finals will take place August 5-10 in Prostejov, Czech Republic.
In the Junior Davis Cup competition, 15-year-old Stefan Kozlov of Pembroke Pines, Fla., 15-year-old Francis Tiafoe of College Park, Md., and 16-year-old Henrik Wiersholm of Kirkland, Wash., coached by USTA National Coach Nicolas Todero, defeated Canada, Mexico and the Dominican Republic to finish in first place. Both Kozlov and Wiersholm train at the USTA Training Center – Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., and Tiafoe trains at the Junior Tennis Champions Center, a USTA Certified Regional Training Center in College Park, Md.
Kozlov is currently the youngest player in the world’s Top 20 at No. 19 in the ITF World Junior Rankings, while Tiafoe, at No. 81, is one of only nine players under the age of 15 in the Top 100. Kozlov helped lead the U.S. to a third-place Junior Davis Cup finish last year, while Tiafoe helped the U.S. to World Junior Tennis gold in 2012.
Fifteen-year-old Nicole Frenkel of Winchester, Mass., 16-year-old Jessica Ho of Wexford, Pa., and 15-year-old Katerina Stewart of Miami, coached by USTA National Coach Freddy Rodriguez, went undefeated and lost only one set in nine combined singles and doubles matches against Canada, Mexico and Cuba in Junior Fed Cup play. Frenkel also trains at the USTA Training Center – Headquarters in Boca Raton.
Last year, the U.S. Junior Fed Cup Team, led by then-world No. 1 junior Taylor Townsend and current Top-60 junior Louisa Chirico, won its second Junior Fed Cup title (the other coming in 2008) in Barcelona, Spain.
The World Junior Tennis boys’ team of Patrick Kypson, 13, from Greenville, N.C., Sam Riffice, 14, from Roseville, Calif., and Gianni Ross, 14, from Burr Ridge, Ill., coached by USTA National Coach Andy Brandi, beat Canada, Mexico and Guatemala to finish first in its pool.
The World Junior Tennis girls’ team of CiCi Bellis, 14, from Atherton, Calif., Michaela Gordon, 13, from Los Altos Hills, Calif., and Claire Liu, 12, from Thousand Oaks, Calif., coached by USTA National Coach Richard Ashby, finished in second place, defeating Mexico and Guatemala and losing to Canada.
In addition to the two Junior Fed Cup crowns, the U.S. has won two Junior Davis Cup titles (1999, 2008), four World Junior Tennis boys’ titles (2002-03, 2008, 2012) and five World Junior Tennis girls titles (1992, 2007-10).
Former U.S. junior international team members include James Blake, Jim Courier, Lindsay Davenport, Christina McHale, Andy Roddick and Sloane Stephens. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have also represented their countries in junior international team competition.
Complete results of the North/Central American & Caribbean Championships can be found at www.itftennis.com
For more on USTA Junior Competition, go to the USTA Junior Tournaments
And for more on getting started in tennis, and to find a program or facility in your area, go to YouthTennis.com