Anisimova, Liu named to 2016 USA National Junior Team
Eight junior girls qualified for the 2016 Team USA National Junior Team, a program designed to give a collection of America’s best young players, born in either 2000 or 2001, opportunities to train together during the summer and travel to play against top junior competition from around the world.
Fourteen-year-old Amanda Anisimova of Aventura, Fla., 15-year-old Claire Liu of Thousand Oaks, Calif., and 14-year-old Caty McNally of Cincinnati qualified for the team automatically, meeting criteria that included their junior and/or pro ranking and tournament results.
The remaining girls earned a spot on the team through a qualifying playoff that was held last week at the USTA Training Center Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla. They include: Elysia Bolton, 16, from Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.; Carson Branstine, 15, from Orange, Calif.; Abigail Desiatnikov, 15, from Sandy Springs, Ga.; Ellie Douglas, 15, from McKinney, Texas; and Natasha Subhash, 14, from Fairfax, Va.
The girls were invited for the playoff based on tournament results or their USTA national or ITF world ranking.
Anisimova is currently the highest-ranked American junior girl in the world, at No. 5, and she has won two prestigious ITF junior tournaments in the last six months – the Grade A Abierto Juvenil Mexicano in November and the Grade 1 Coffee Bowl in Costa Rica in January. Liu is the youngest player in the Top 600 of the WTA rankings and won her first pro title last year at the age of 14. McNally, at 14, is ranked in the Top 25 of the USTA Girls’ 18s national rankings and in the Top 50 of the world junior rankings.
Bolton, in the last month, won the girls’ 18s doubles title at the prestigious Easter Bowl as well as the girls’ singles title at the Grade 4 ITF world junior event in Coral Gables, Fla. Branstine, No. 7 in the USTA Girls’ 16s national rankings, joins Liu as the only returning members of the national junior Team.
Desiatnikov is the reigning USTA girls’ 16s singles national champion. Douglas reached the girls’ 18s singles final at last month's Easter Bowl. Subhash, currently the No. 2 player in the USTA Girls’ 16s national standings, won doubles titles at both the Girls’ 16s USTA national hard- and clay-court championships in 2015.
USTA Player Development will provide the national junior team with training opportunities and coaching and travel assistance to select ITF junior tournaments throughout the summer, beginning with the French Open Junior Championships or the USTA Pro Circuit $25,000 tournament in Sumter, S.C., in June.