Danil Panarin Clinches Victory at the Orange Bowl
Dec 11, 2023
Danil Panarin emerged victorious at the Orange Bowl International Championships held at the Frank Veltri Tennis Center in Plantation on Sunday. Panarin defeated Luca Preda in the boys 18's singles final in straight sets, 6-4, 6-1.
I caught up with the 18-year old Panarin after his impressive win to get the inside scoop on his strategy, mindset, and what makes Florida tennis so special.
Above: Panarin gets ready to return serve in the Orange Bowl final. Photo: Florida Tennis.
Panarin, originally from Moscow, now trains in Bradenton at the IMG Academy. When I asked about the unique advantages of training in Florida, Panarin smiled. He said, "I think it's the humidity. Usually, it's so hot. It's December right now, and we're always sweating a lot. And you have to push yourself to keep playing, to keep working. And it's really tough sometimes."
I asked Panarin what it took to win the Orange Bowl. Panarin, with a mix of exhaustion and triumph, shared, "Yeah, I think in the final, everybody's gonna be tired. So I was just trying to stay solid, stay mentally tough, and try to make it as uncomfortable for my opponent as I could. I was just trying to push him mentally and trying not to complain. Just stay in the right state of mind."
Above: After dominating the second set to close out the win, Panarin shakes hands with Preda. Photo: Florida Tennis.
Panarin's mental toughness became a defining factor in the match. When asked how he jumped out to such a big lead in the second set, he emphasized, "I was not thinking about anything. I was just trying to keep playing my game, keep my tactics, and just tried to play tennis and enjoy." This laid-back yet determined approach appeared to play a crucial role in securing his victory.
Panarin also highlighted the diversity of his shot-making in the final: "I think all my shots were working great today and not miss easy balls and to keep him behind the baseline. Keep that flow. And yeah, I think the serve was working pretty good as well. It was saving me in a few moments, but I think all the shots helped me today."
Above (from left to right): Assistant Coach at Vanderbilt TJ Pura stands with Danil Panarin as he holds the Orange Bowl trophy. Photo: Florida Tennis.
Panarin has been consistently evolving as a player. After earning first-round victories at the U.S. Open and Australian Open Junior Championships and achieving a ranking inside the ITF juniors top 25, Panarin will move on to join Vanderbilt University's men's tennis team this spring.
I spoke with TJ Pura, Assistant Coach at Vanderbilt, who said, "Couldn’t be more proud of Danil for capturing the Orange Bowl. The last several months have not always been easy for him but Danil just kept his head down and went to work. He deserves this and has an incredibly bright future ahead at Vanderbilt. We cannot wait to be a part of his academic, personal, and athletic development. Fight Dores!”
Above (from left to right): IMG Academy players* Hoyoung Roh, Danil Panarin, Atakan Karahan along with IMG coach Felip Kraljevic. Photo: Florida Tennis.
I also connected with Felip Kraljevic, Elite Group Assistant Coach at IMG, who praised Danil on his spectacular Orange Bowl performance. Kraljevic said, "I’m proud of Danil for the way he fought throughout the whole week and I’m impressed with the way he closed out the finals. He works hard and deserves this title. Best possible way to finish his junior career."
Panarin's victory at the Orange Bowl positions him as a player to watch in the tennis world. His mindset, versatility, and shot selection reflected a maturity beyond his years. As he continues to hone his skills in the Florida heat, the tennis community will eagerly anticipate the next phase of Danil Panarin's promising future.
Written by Florida Tennis' Executive Editor and Publisher Matt Pressman. *In addition to Danil Panarin becoming champion at the Orange Bowl, IMG Academy players Hoyoung Roh and Atakan Karahan (shown in the photo above) also turned out to be Orange Bowl doubles finalists. To learn more about the results at the Orange Bowl, check out their website.