American mens tennis is in the crapper. Andy Roddick looks more and more like a one-slam wonder, James Blake cant stay healthy, and the next big thing, John Isner, is still merely the next big thing. However, hope always springs eternal at the Junior Orange Bowl, where the stars of tomorrow cut their teeth against the best young players in the world. Need proof? Andre Agassi and Jim Courier were both finalists, and the 2002 boys-14-and-under champion, Juan del Potro, just won the U.S. Open. So that skinny kid with the big pimples youll see loping around the University of Miami Tennis Center (5821 San Amaro Dr., Coral Gables) this Thursday in the first round of the main draw could be covered in sweat and red clay at Roland Garros by 2014. Matches begin at 8 a.m., and some are played at the Biltmore Tennis Center (1150 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables), so check jrorangebowl.com or call 305-662-1210 in advance. Watching is free, but winning as for 2008 boys-14 champ John Richmond from South Carolina requires blood, sweat, and a small entrance fee.
Dec. 17-23, 8 a.m., 2009