Thrilling tennis on display this week at Orange Bowl
Dec 07, 2023
The Florida tennis scene is buzzing right now. The Eddie Herr International at IMG Academy in Bradenton just wrapped up and recently announced big changes. I drove up to Palm Beach Gardens on Monday and witnessed 8-year old Mausia Toli from Wellington win the 2023 Little Mo Slam. And yesterday I stopped by the legendary USTA Orange Bowl in Plantation, Florida.
The Orange Bowl is taking place this week at the Frank Veltri Tennis Center and is scheduled to wrap up on Sunday, December 10th.
I caught a few matches during my visit yesterday including Florida's own Akasha Urhobo taking out Nellie Taraba Wallberg in a thrilling match 6-7(7) 7-6(7) 6-2 in the girls 18s draw. After the match, an exhausted Akasha gave a big hug to her father TJ. It was a moving moment as the crowd cheered for a hometown favorite.
Above: Akasha Urhobo at the Orange Bowl
On the men's side of the 18s draw, I watched Danil Panarin upset the sixth seed Adhithya Ganesan 7-6(1) 6-4. Afterwards, I spoke with TJ Pura, Assistant Coach at Vanderbilt, who explained, "It was a great match between Adithya and Danil. Danil has a very precise understanding of his tennis identity and what he is trying to do out there on court. He is fun to watch and I cannot wait to see him develop as a player and student in his four years at Vanderbilt."
Overall, the tennis was fast and furious at the Orange Bowl and the competition looked fierce out there.
The rites of passage in junior tennis include a pilgrimage to the Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships, according to iconic Hall of Fame tennis journalist Bud Collins.
For many foreign players, their first visit to the U.S. is to play in the Orange Bowl. For many American players, the tournament is their first taste of international competition.
The Orange Bowl was founded in 1947 by Eddie Herr of Miami Beach. The list of past champions include Bjorn Borg, Jim Courier, Chris Evert, Roger Federer, Mary Joe Fernandez, Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe, Andy Roddick and Gabriela Sabatini.
More recent champions of the Orange Bowl include some of the top stars in tennis including Coco Gauff (as seen in the top photo), Sofia Kenin, Bianca Andreescu, and Miimir Kecmanović.
Written by Florida Tennis' Executive Editor and Publisher Matt Pressman. Photos and content courtesy of: USTA Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships.