(August 31, 2015)FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Flashback to a year ago – 15-year-old Sofia Kenin lost in the first round of the US Open Juniors on Court 6. Move forward to this year, when Kenin, the No. 8 ranked junior girl, loses a first round match on the same court, but this time, it’s the main draw at Flushing Meadows to Mariana Duque-Marino of Colombia 6-3, 6-1. Kenin won the USTA Girls’ National 18s singles title in August to receive a wildcard into the US Open.
“I won seven matches,“ Kenin said about the national event. “In the final, I beat (No. 1 seed) (Tornado) Alicia Black. It was a very tough match so I knew if I’d win I’d be here and I was just so happy, took it one match at a time there. Played my game and tried to get to this position.”
Despite her main draw loss, the Floridian, who was born in Moscow, remained upbeat.
“So different playing in a major. The fans out there were just cheering me on. It was such an amazing experience, I was unfortunate to have lost but I knew it was going to be tough.”
“Best experience, just going, staying in the tournament hotel and having those cars take me here is just a different experience. It’s so great.” (Main draw singles players get access to cars to take them where they want to go, in addition to transporting them to their matches.)
Kenin who’ll be practicing between now and when the Junior competition begins on the weekend has not decided whether or not she’ll turn professional.
“I think I’m going to have to decide after this tournament,” said the 16-year-old.
Kenin began playing tennis at a very young age.
“When I was little I was always playing with (tennis) balls and my Dad and my Mom decided to see if I’m good at tennis and I went and I had massive talent,” she said Ok let’s try. I trained at Rick Macci (Tennis Academy) when I was little and he got me the strokes and the motion.”
Kenin said that Macci said that “wow she’s learning real fast” and she just continued on to the point in her career. She is primarily coached by her father
Kenin, whose tennis role model is Serena Williams said: “I hope to be No. 1 in the world,” but would be happy being in the Top Ten. “She’s always winning and trying hard,” she said of Williams.
What’s next for Kenin after the US Open Junior tournament? She plans on playing some ITF events in the US and in the winter the Orange Bowl. She won the Orange Bowl last year.
Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama at the US Open.