Homecourt Advantage for Kudla, Tiafoe and Arconada on Monday
Three JTCC players will highlight opening day action at the Citi Open Tennis Tournament at the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center in Washington, DC on Monday.
“These players who all trained at JTCC represent the most local players to have qualified for the main draw in one year in the history of the tournament,” said founder and tournament chairman Donald Dell.
Twenty-three- year old Denis Kudla, who was named on Friday to the USA Olympic tennis team, will make his fourth appearance on center court at the Citi Open Tennis Tournament against Australian John Millman, who is ranked #62 in the ATP rankings. He is scheduled not before 5 pm.
“There is no question Denis, who has been ranked as high as #53 in the ATP rankings, and John will have a terrific match,” said JTCC CEO Ray Benton.
Eighteen-year-old Frances Tiafoe, who turned pro one year ago and whose current ATP #157 ranking is a career high, was awarded a wild card into the main draw. He is scheduled as the last match of the evening session and will play #55-ranked Adrian Mannarino in the stadium.
“Frances first picked up a racquet at the age of four, and he has been totally committed to achieving his goals at every stage of his development,” said Frank Salazar, who coached Tiafoe at JTCC throughout his junior career. “This is a major milestone and opportunity for Frances.”
Kudla and Tiafoe will also play doubles together. The wild card team takes on Romanian #3 seeds Florin Mergea and Horia Tecau in the first round.
Seventeen-year-old Usue Arconada, who won the Wimbledon Girls’ Doubles Championship last week, was also awarded a main draw wild card. The world #11 ITF junior will be playing her first WTA main draw match. She is eager for a rematch against Canadian Francoise
Abanda, ranked #272, who defeated her 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 earlier this year in an epic three-set battle. They will play the final match on the Grandstand court on Monday evening.
In 2013, at the age of 14, Arconada won her first round match in the Citi Open qualifying defeating then world #182 Argentinian Maria Irigoyen 7-5, 6-3. She became the youngest player to win a WTA match since Madison Keys in 2009.
“Usue’s mother was an Olympic gymnastics coach,” explained Salazar, who has overseen Arconada’s growth as a rising international star. “Her focus and training regimen have been evident since she first arrived at JTCC from Puerto Rico to live away from her family and to dedicate herself to becoming the best player she can be.”
It’s all in the family when Tiafoe and Arconada are competing at the same tournament. Usue’s brother, Jordi Arconada, a rising junior at Texas A& M and also a JTCC alumnus, has been working with Tiafoe as his practice partner.