Top Juniors Gear Up For Kalamazoo
Brian Baker,Nashville TN, is last year?s Super National?s 18 singles finalist and currently 12th in the world junior rankings. This spring he reached the semifinals of both the Astrid Bowl in Belgium and the Target Cup, Nasdaq-100 Open, in Key Biscayne, FL. He teamed with Brendan Evans to win the doubles at the Astrid Bowl and was a quarterfinalist in singles at the Australian Hardcourts. Baker was recently named Old Spice Athlete of the Month, an award for outstanding male amateur athletes.
Boca Raton's Chris Kwon reached the round of 16 in Kalamazoo in 2001 and has steadily improved his ranking this season. This spring, he won the Amata Cup in Thailand and was a finalist at the Japan Open. He is currently ranked 16th in the world.
Rajeev Ram of Carmel IN captured the singles title at the Target Cup and took the singles and doubles titles, with Jonathan Stokke, at the Chanda Rubin International, played in South Carolina. Ram won the 2000 singles championship in Boys' 16s in Kalamazoo.
Last year's winner of the 16s age division Super National Championships, James Wan of Woodbury NY, is playing in the 18 age division this season and won the 18 singles ES Seg I closed #1 and #2.
Local standout Scott Oudsema of Portage MI, will also compete in the 18's this year. He has been playing on the international junior circuit, winning the Gas Negara International in Indonesia and reaching the semifinals in the Malaysian International.
After finishing 2001 as the USTA's #1 ranked player in the 16's, [usta=919525246 year=2002]Sukhwa Young of Wesley Chapel FL played up a division at the Easter Bowl, capturing third place. Nick Rinks, 16, of Kalamazoo MI was a finalist in the Midwest Designated.
Most of these young players have been competing on the tennis circuit all year in International and USTA sanctioned tournaments to earn a chance to compete for the National title in either the 16 or 18 age divisions. It is the most important tournament of the tennis year as each winner in singles and doubles will hold the National title and number one ranking in the United States.
The 10-day Super National Championships will begin Friday, August 2 and culminate with the singles finals Sunday, August 11. Many of the players will arrive in Kalamazoo fresh from competition at Junior Wimbledon, the last International qualifier before Kalamazoo.
For tournament ticket information call (616)337-7343.
Source: Colette Lewis (Tournament Office)