Top U.S. juniors set to compete
in World Junior Finals
Sally Milano | July 29, 2016
Six of America’s top 14-and-under juniors, including 2016 USTA National Clay Court singles champions Zane Khan (pictured above) and Alexa Noel and 2016 Les Petits As champion Stefan Leustian, will look to lead the U.S. in the upcoming World Junior Tennis Finals competition.
The world’s premier 14-and-under team event will be held Aug. 1-6 in Prostejov, Czech Republic.
Each three-player team will compete with 15 other nations from around the world, first in round-robin matches, then in a knockout bracket.
Representing the U.S. on the boys' team are 14-year-old twin brothers Faris and Zane Khan of New Braunfels, Texas, and Leustian, also 14, from Mather, Calif. The American girls' team includes 13-year-old Noel of Summit, N.J., and 14-year-olds Whitney Osuigwe of Bradenton, Fla., and Vanessa Ong of Oklahoma City.ADVERTISEMENT
USTA National Coaches Eric Nunez and Jean Desdunes are traveling with the players. Nunez will be working with the boys' team and Desdunes with the girls'.
The Khan brothers played each other in the Boys’ 14s USTA National Clay Court Championship singles final last weekend, with Zane (pictured above) winning; the two then teamed to win the doubles title. Leustian won the singles title at the prestigious Les Petits As tournament in Tarbes, France, in February.
Noel captured the singles title and reached the doubles final last week at the USTA Girls’ 16s National Clay Court Championships, where Ong was a quarterfinalist in both singles and doubles. Osuigwe reached the final of the USTA Girls’ 16s National Hard Court Championship last summer and made singles final and semifinal appearances at two ITF junior tournaments this May, in Plantation and Delray Beach, Fla., respectively.
The U.S. girls finished in second place at last year’s World Junior Tennis Finals, while the boys came in third. Overall, the United States has won six World Junior Tennis girls’ titles (1992, 2007-10, 2013) and four World Junior Tennis boys’ titles (2002-03, 2008, 2012).
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 have also represented their respective countries in junior international team competition.