PROSTEJOV, CZECH REPUBLIC: USA are the top seeds in both the boys' and girls' events at the World Junior Tennis Finals which got underway on Monday in Prostejov, Czech Republic. It's the 14th consecutive year that the club will host the competition for boys' and girls' aged 14 and under.
The USA boys' team of Michael Mmoh, Francis Tiafoe and William Blumberg got their campaign off to a great start when they defeated Switzerland in their opening match. Tornado Alicia Black, Nicole Frenkel and Emma Higuchi will represent USA in the girls' competition and also secured a win in the first round after they defeated India.
Defending champions and second seeds Korea, Republic also start among the favourites for the boys' title. They won the Asia/Oceania qualifying event earlier in the year and started with a win against France on the first day.
The girls’ event will see a new champion crowned as last year’s champions, Serbia, failed to qualify for this year’s Finals. Asian Champions and third seeds Australia, will be hoping to take a step or two further up towards the podium, having finished in sixth place last year and face Russia in the first round.
Sixteen boys’ and 16 girls’ teams, from a total of 26 countries, have fought their way through tough regional qualifying competitions for the chance to compete in the Finals. This year saw 176 teams contest the competition from a total of 94 countries.
The event begins with a round-robin competition, where teams are divided into four groups of four teams. The winner of each group qualifies for the semifinals, while the remaining nations go into play-offs and fight for position.
The draw took place at TK Prostejov on Sunday evening with all teams attending the ceremony and eagerly awaiting their fate.
The opening ceremony took place on Court 1 with all teams marching onto court in their national tracksuits. For the first time the players oath was read out. Jorge Nunez (MEX) read the oath to the other players at the ceremony promising to adhere to the spirit of sportmanship through the competition.
Past competitors in this competition include Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Kim Clijsters and Vera Zvonareva. All players this week will be hoping to emulate their sporting heroes and take their first steps along the road to become champions.
Full draws can be found by clicking the following link: