Junior Orange Bowl tennis event preparing for 50th anniversary

By John Maxsween….
Every December for the past 49 years, the world’s best 14 and under (U14) and 12 and under (U12) tennis players have gathered in South Florida for the annual Junior Orange Bowl International Tennis Championship.

The Junior Orange Bowl International Tennis Championship has a rich history of attracting the most promising young tennis players from around the world and the 2011 Championship promises to be no different. In 2010, the prestigious junior tournament attracted more than 1,250 entrant applications from 75 countries and 40 U.S. states. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Championship and the Junior Orange Bowl Committee (JOBC) is poised to make it a memorable one.

The tennis committee wants to improve the overall quality of the tournament and make the 50th anniversary extra special. One of the major goals for this year’s tournament is to involve past winners and participants who have gone on to have successful professional tennis careers. By involving these athletes, the JOBC will continue to inspire future generations to strive for greatness.

Past participants of the Junior Orange Bowl International Tennis Championship include Juan Martin Del Potro, who won the 2002 Boys 14 and under championship and is the 2009 U.S. Open champion, as well as Justine Henin, who won the 1996 Girls 14 and under championship and is a seven-time Grand Slam winner.

Other notable past participants are recent inductee to the Tennis Hall of Fame, Andre Agassi; Andy Roddick; Bernard Tomic; Caroline Wozniacki; Kim Clijsters; Monica Seles; Chris Evert; Jim Courier, and Mary Joe Fernandez. Mary Joe Fernandez already has pledged her support of the 50th anniversary celebration.

The Junior Orange Bowl is soliciting the help of Florida’s tennis community in order to highlight the athletes that have moved on to great success. If you know a professional tennis player who participated in the Junior Orange Bowl International Tennis Championship, the JOBC would greatly appreciate your help in reaching out to him or her. Contact Jodi Steinbauer, tennis director, at 305-662-6072 or by email at tennis@jrorangebowl.com if you have any information that may be helpful.

For more information on the Junior Orange Bowl Committee, call 305-662-1210 or visit the website at www.jrorangebowl.org.

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