INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (April 6, 2014) – It’s a new-look ASICS Easter Bowl this year as the junior tennis tournament has plenty of changes in store once play begins with qualifying this weekend in the boys’ and girls’ 18s division.
The location, format and draw sizes have all changed this year for the 47th annual event. The host site is the Indian Wells Tennis Garden this year where the nation’s top boys’ and girls’ junior tennis players will have a chance to play on the same courts as their favorite pro players did last month at the BNP Paribas Open. Admission is free to attend the tournament.
The 18s boys and girls main draw will start on Monday and conclude on Sunday, April 13. The 18s is an ITF Grade B1 and USTA Level 1 event. It is a closed event meaning only players from the United States can play.
For the first time the tournament will include the nation’s top 12-and-under players. The 16′s, 14′s and 12′s will be a four-day event taking place Thursday-Sunday with 64 singles draw and 32 doubles and is a USTA Level 1A designated tournament. Also new this year, there are no wild cards being admitted for these three age divisions.
“I’m excited about the ASICS Easter Bowl,” said 16-year-old Francis Tiafoe, the top-seeded player in the boys’ 18s from College Park, Md., who last December became the youngest champion in the 67-year history of the Metropolia Orange Bowl International Championships. “I’m excited about every tournament I play, but especially this one. It’s been so cold in Maryland and I’ve played the past three months indoors. I just love playing outdoors here and in the sun.”
In the boys’ 18s, Tiafoe will be the one to watch and will battle against other ITF world top-100 ranked players like Alex Rybakov, Coral Springs, Fla.; Henrik Wiersholm, Kirkland, Wash.; Logan Smith, Carlsbad, Calif.; Jordi Arconada, College Park, Md.; Taylor Fritz, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., and Daniel Kerznerman, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Keep an eye out for 17-year-old Deiton Baughman of Carson, Calif., who has turned pro and is fighting to get into the French Open juniors and Wimbledon and for 2012 boys’ 14s ASICS Easter Bowl champion William Blumberg, Greenwich, Conn.
In the girls’ 18s, top players include Sofia Kenin, Pembroke Pines, Fla.; Johnnise Renaud, North Miami, Fla., CiCi Bellis, Atherton, Fla., Michaela Gordon, Los Alto Hills, Calif., Usue Arconada, College Park, Md., Kaitlyn McCarthy, Cary, N.C., and Raquel Pedraza, Claremont, Calif.
The top-seed players in the boys’ 16s are: Evan Zhu (Greenbelt, Md.), Zeke Clark (Tulsa, Okla.), Matthew Gamble (Webster, N.Y.), William Genesen (Tulsa, Okla.), and Alex Phillips (Peachtree City, Ga.). In the girls’ 16s they are: Katerina Stewart (Coral Gables, Fla.), Alexandra Sanford (Westerville, Ohio), Bess Waldram (Portland, Ore.), Isabella Lorenzini (Clarendon Hills, Ill.), and Rebecca Weissmann (Loveland, Colo.).
The top-seeded players in the boys’ 14s are: Steven Sun (Glen Cove, N.Y.), Keenan Mayo (Roseville, Calif.), Russell Benkaim (Osprey, Fla.), Brandon Nakashima (San Diego, Calif.), Axel Nefve (Hinsdale, Ill.). In the girls’ 14s they are: Grace Joyce (Newton, Mass.), Shailla Alda (Phoenix), Rachel Lim (Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.), Alyvia Jones (Midland, Mich.), and Taylor Johnson (Redondo Beach, Calif.).
The top-seeded players in the boys’ 12s are: Harry Yang (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), Blaise Bicknell (Miami), Spencer Whitaker (Richmond, Va.), Ivan Smith (Chula Vista, Calif.), and Niroop Vallabhaneni (Paradise Valley, Ariz.). In the girls’ 12s, they are: 1. Gabriella Price (Montebello, N.Y.), Gianna Pielet (El Paso, Texas), Victoria Hu (Northborough, Mass.), Cameron Compall (Winnetka, Ill.) and Whitney Osuigwe (Bradenton, Fla.).
The featured event of the ASICS Easter Bowl this year will be the Laurel Springs School Player Dinner catered by The Old Spaghetti Factory in Rancho Mirage on Wednesday, April 9. Also, a USTA Coaches Reception that evening will feature a complimentary dinner also sponsored by The Old Spaghetti Factory for all players, parents, and the top coaches in the country.
The junior tournament started by Seena Hamilton in 1968 and now led by Tournament Director Lornie Kuhle. Long considered the Super Bowl of junior tennis, the ASICS Easter Bowl is being played at one of the biggest professional tennis facilities, the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
The Tennis Garden features 29 hard courts and hosts a number of tournaments and special events including the Big West Conference Championships, World Team Tennis National Championships, and USTA National Championships.
The tournament was started in New York City by Hamilton and has been played in Florida, Arizona and California.