USTA Boys & Girls 12s National Spring Championships Tournament Wrap Up

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When the best 256 12-and-under boys and girls tennis players in the country gather for a USTA National Championship, expectations are the week’s incredible tennis won’t be trumped. While it would be going out on a limb to say the magic performed by the tournament’s field of stars had a co-star, it did have a wonderful supporting act in Mother Nature who, for the first time this tournament has been played in Delray Beach, played a negligible role in the week’s activities. Perhaps that was part of the reason for the high level of tennis throughout the week. Players stayed in rhythm and focus and produced a display of the sport that was something to be proud of, on and off the court. This was ideal timing as the tournament welcomed a new presenting sponsor, Swiss watchmaker Longines, to a powerful sponsorship family that includes the City of Delray Beach, Palm Beach County, Prince and more. To the point of the week – The Gold Ball, which is the Holy Grail of junior tennis in the U.S. For #1 Boys seed Brandon Nakashima (San Diego, CA), the Gold seemed a formality as he cruised through the week without dropping a set, and losing more than three games only twice. Unknown to Nakashima, a Floridian with clay court prowess was plowing through the other side of the draw, matching the Californian’s results set-for-set. #9 seed Adam Neff (Bradenton, FL) entered the final with more than a little confidence, and his bigger game and experience on the dirt proved to be too much. He earned a 6-1, 6-4 win over Nakashima, the Gold Ball, and personally autographed Andre Agassi memorabilia from Longines. And perhaps the bigger prize: a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Paris to play in the Longines Future Tennis Aces event at Roland Garros (the French Open) against qualifiers from 16 other countries. “Congratulations to Adam and all of the impressive young athletes who competed for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Jennifer Judkins, Longines U.S. Brand President. “At Longines we encourage the development of talented young tennis players and look forward to watching Adam represent the U.S. at the Longines Future Tennis Aces Tournament in Paris.” For Neff it’s a shot at Parisian redemption as his last visit greeted him with a 10-day illness, nixing his ability to compete before he could swing a racket. Good luck Adam…and pound those Airborne chewables! In Boys Doubles, local fans were rewarded as Boca Raton’s Christian Alshon teamed with Thomas Jahn (Montgomery, AL) to defeat the #2 seeded Yu brothers, Tomas and James (Bellevue, WA), 6-3, 6-0. Girls #1 seed Sophia Edwards (Sarasota, FL) took a more circuitous route to the final than her boys’ counterpart. Three 3-set wins made Edwards the iron horse of the event; she would incredibly bounce back to the tournament desk like a rabbit with each win. The final proved to be a bounce-free zone as the week’s toll caught up with her, as did #3 seed Amanda Anisimova (Hallandale Beach, FL). Anisimova, no stranger to these Delray courts, could count the number of games she lost going into the final on her two hands (if she had 13 fingers). The fresher and stronger star took advantage playing first-strike tennis when serving and returning. With precision and power that was too much for the top gun, Anismova won 6-3, 6-1 in front of a crowd that included John McEnroe’s agent and the US Fed Cup team, preparing for their tie against Sweden. It was first-time Gold for Girls Doubles Champions Malkia Menguene (College Park, MD) and Natasha Subhash (Fairfax, VA). The #3 seeds played traditional doubles and with an aggressive net game beat #1 Dasha Kourkina (Brooklyn, NY) and Michelle Sorokko (Little Neck, NY), 6-2, 6-0. “It was a great week of tennis capped off by two champions that deserved their wins. And they’re both great kids off the court as well” said tournament chairman Ivan Baron, a Gold Ball winner as a junior. “Delray Beach and the local businesses continue to be the best hosts these players and families experience anywhere and we want to thank them for their hospitality. “With our new sponsors, Longines, Evert Tennis Academy, Athletic DNA, Academia Sanchez-Casal and an enhanced program with Prince who will be active at all 26 of our junior events, and our amazing core of sponsors beyond them, the tennis future is very bright here.” A highlight program featuring the Boys and Girls Finals was produced by Mobile Content Providers and will air three times on CSS. The final installment can be seen Sunday, May 5, 2013 at 12pm ET. For complete tournament results and information:Click Here 2013 Tournament Fun Facts

  • Players represented more than 30 states, plus Puerto Rico
  • Boys Sportsmanship Award winner: Jackson Ross (San Antonio, TX)
  • Girls Sportsmanship Award winner: Chloe Beck (Watkinsville, GA)
  • Tournament played on 89 courts at five premier clubs in South Palm Beach County: Delray Beach Tennis Center (host), Delray Swim & Tennis Club, Evert Tennis Academy, Boca West Country Club and Swim & Racquet Center (Boca Raton)
  • Semifinal and Final matches were played at the Delray Beach Tennis Center while the US Fed Cup team (Serena & Venus Williams, Sloane Stephens and Varvara Lepchenko) practiced and an operations crew set-up facilities for the US vs Sweden match the following weekend
  • Girls’ competitor Ali Despain (Murrells Inlet, SC) played 11 hours of tennis in one day! Singles match for 4 hours 15 minutes, doubles match for 3 hours 30 minutes and a doubles match for 3 hours 15 minutes.
  • Tournament used 2,592 tennis balls
  • All used tennis balls are donated to local youth tennis programs. The plastic tennis ball cans and cardboard cases are recycled