Claire Liu helped lead the girls' team to victory in 2013.
© Cynthia Lum
By Sally Milano, USTA.com
Six of the country's top young tennis players have been named to compete for the United States in next week’s World Junior Tennis Finals, the premier world team competition for players aged age 14 and under, taking place Aug. 4-9 in Prostejov, Czech Republic.
The U.S. girls' team will be looking to win its second straight title at the event, having won the championship in 2013.
Named to represent the girls are Elysia Bolton of Lake Forest, Ill., who trains with coach Mark Bey; Rachel Lim of Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., who trains at the USTA Training Center – East; and Claire Liu of Thousand Oaks, Calif., who trains with personal coach Mike Gennette and USTA national coaches Leo Azevedo and Adam Peterson. USTA national coach Jamea Jackson will travel will the girls and serve as coach of the team.
The boys' team will include Roscoe Bellamy of Pacific Palisades, Calif., who trains with coach Bobby Berger; Keenan Mayo of Roseville, Calif., who is coached by Vahe Assadourian; and Steven Sun, who trains with coach Antonio Fernandez. USTA national coach Jay Devashetty will serve as coach of the boys' team.
Sixteen nations are scheduled to compete in the World Junior Tennis Finals. Each country will be drawn into four round-robin groups, with the winner of each group advancing to the semifinals and competing in a knock-out bracket to determine the champion.
Liu is competing to win her second consecutive World Junior Tennis crown, having helped the U.S. win its sixth girls’ title last year, along with CiCi Bellis, now the No. 2-ranked junior in the world, and Michaela Gordon. All three girls traveling to the Czech Republic next week played for the U.S. in World Junior Tennis qualifying in May in Montreal, with Liu and Lim each going 3-0 in singles play.
Mayo and Sun each helped the U.S. qualify for the boys' World Junior Tennis final this year, with Sun winning all three of his singles matches in qualifying.
Overall, the U.S. has won six World Junior Tennis girls’ titles, the most of any nation (1992, 2007-10, 2013), as well as four World Junior Tennis boys’ titles (2002-03, 2008, 2012), two Junior Davis Cup titles (1999, 2008) and two Junior Fed cup titles (2008, 2012). The Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup are for those 16 and under.
Former U.S. junior international team members include Jim Courier, Andy Roddick, James Blake, Lindsay Davenport and Sloane Stephens. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic also represented their countries in junior international team play.