The Junior Tennis Champions Center (JTCC) of College Park will host the second-annual International Tennis Federation Grade 1 Junior International Hard Court Championships Aug. 19-24. The Grade 1 tournament will feature 64 boys and 64 girls in the expanded draw, including some of JTCC’s top talent. The tournament also features girl’s and boy’s doubles. This is the first time the Junior Tennis Champions Center will host a USTA Grade 1 tournament.
“It is an honor to host the Prince George’s County International Hard Court Championships,” said Ray Benton, chief executive officer of the Junior Tennis Champions Center at College Park. “In just its second year, the tournament is already a must-play for junior tennis players. With its designation as a Grade 1 tournament, this year’s championship has attracted top junior talent. We are thrilled to be chosen by the ITF and USTA to host this event.”
The upgrade to a Grade 1 event makes JTCC one of only three ITF Grade 1 tournaments within the United States. The Junior Tennis Champions Center hosted the inaugural Prince George’s County International Hard Court Championships (Grade 2) last year when Jamie Loeb won the girls singles and Wayne Montgomery won the boys singles. This year’s finals will be held Saturday, Aug. 24 at noon. All tournament sessions are free and open to the public.
“The USTA is pleased that the USTA Hard Court Championship is returning to the Junior Tennis Champions Center – this year as an International Tennis Federation Grade 1 tournament. The field was strong in 2012 and will likely be stronger this year,” said Lew Brewer the director of junior competition for the USTA. “The facility is outstanding and staff at JTCC do a great job making the players feel special. We think the tournament has found a great home at the JTCC in College Park and we hope to keep the tournament here for many years to come.”
Participating in the tournament are a number of JTCC athletes, including:
- Francis Tiafoe, of Hyattsville, Md., is currently ranked No. 89 in the ITF rankings. The 15-year-old started playing tennis at age five and has become a rising star on the junior tennis circuit. Last year, he was the nation’s top-ranked boys player in his age group and earlier this year, he won the USTA Regional Tournament and helped Team USA secure a spot in the Junior Davis Cup Finals in September.
- Jordi Arconada is currently ranked No. 109 in the ITF rankings. In April, the 16-year-old won the boys 18s doubles competition at the Easter Bowl Championship and is currently competing in the USTA Boy’s 16 National Championships.
- AJ Catanzariti, of Mt. Lebanon, Penn., has led a successful career while at JTCC. The 17-year-old most recently made it to the boys finals of the USTA Regional Tournament before falling to Tiafoe.
- At only 14-years-old, Usue Arconada is currently ranked No. 108 in the ITF rankings. She recently won her first WTA match at the Citi Open qualifiers and is the reigning 18 and under USTA Regional Tournament Segment Champion.
“I want to welcome players, parents, and visitors from around the tennis world to Prince George’s County for this incredible ITF Junior Tournament,” said Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III.
“The Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park is an amazing asset in Prince George’s County. With the JTCC’s successful teaching, training, and developing of future tennis champions, College Park and Prince George’s County are becoming an international tennis ‘hotspot.’ I want to wish all the competitors best of luck in this tournament and hope they, along with their families, enjoy their visit to College Park and Prince George’s County.”