Reigning Orange Bowl champion Francis Tiafoe is the top seed in the boys' 18s draw.
© Michael Baz
By Sally Milano, USTA.com
Eight of America’s top young juniors will travel to Europe to represent the United States in two of the most prestigious 14-and-under tournaments in the world -- Nike Junior International Teen Tennis, which will take place Jan. 12-17 in Bolton, England, and Les Petits As, which will be held Jan. 20-26 in Tarbes, France.
Thirteen-year-olds Roscoe Bellamy of Pacific Palisades, Calif.; Andrew Fenty of Washington, D.C.; Keenan Mayo of Roseville, Calif.; and Axel Nefve of Hinsdale, Ill., were named to the boys' team. They will be coached by USTA National Coach Jay Devashetty, who works out of the USTA Training Center – East in Flushing, N.Y.
Elysia Bolton, 14, from Lake Forest, Ill.; Abigail Desiatnikov, 12, from Gates Mills, Ohio; Grace Joyce, 13, of Newton, Mass.; and Claire Liu, 13, of Thousand Oaks, Calif., will compete on the girls' team. They will be coached by USTA National Coach Jamea Jackson, who is based at the USTA Training Center – Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla.
Both Nike Junior International Teen Tennis and Les Petits As feature some of the world’s best players ages 14 and under, with a number of former Les Petits As champions going on to become No. 1 in the world, including Rafael Nadal, Kim Clijsters and Martina Hingis. Former American winners include Michael Chang, Donald Young and Bethanie Mattek-Sands, while Lindsay Davenport was a finalist at the event.
An American boy or girl has won the singles title in at least one of the two tournaments each of the last three years. Last year, CiCi Bellis swept the girls' singles and doubles titles at both events, while in 2012, Francis Tiafoe, who is now ranked No. 7 in the ITF World Junior Rankings, won both boys’ singles titles.
Both the boys and the girls will play warm-up matches against the team from Great Britain prior to the start of Teen Tennis. Liu, who won the Junior Orange Bowl 14s singles title in December, will be competing in each event for the second straight year. Fenty and Mayo won their way onto the team through a tournament held at the USTA Training Center – Headquarters in November.
Follow the results of each tournament at TennisEurope.org.