Nasdaq-100 adds junior event
Nasdaq-100 adds junior event
By Charles Bricker
Posted March 17 2002
KEY BISCAYNE · For the first time since its inception in 1985, the tennis world's unofficial fifth Grand Slam will put on a junior event the second week of the tournament on Key Biscayne.
"We needed some more excitement that second week, some new matches," said Cliff Buchholz, director of the Nasdaq-100, which begins Wednesday at Crandon Park.
Putting many of the world's top juniors on display in the first Target Cup is something Buchholz and his brother, tournament chairman Butch Buchholz, have talked about for years. This year they are making it happen, even if it is on a small scale and not on the regular calendar for the ITF, which runs the juniors rankings.
Nasdaq has invited 12 top boys and girls, including several players living or training in South Florida. The top four seeds will receive byes into the second round.
The top seeds probably will be Luka Gregorc of Slovenia in the boys' tournament, and No. 11 Ashley Harkleroad of Wesley Chapel in the girls' event.
Other South Florida-based players participating: No. 26 Josh Cohen of Westin; No. 382 Brendan Evans of Boca Raton; No. 38 Ally Baker of Boca Raton; No. 56 Shadisha Robinson of Boca Raton; No. 166 Bethanie Mattek of Boca Raton; and unranked Katia Afinogenova of Pompano Beach.
"The quality of junior tennis today ... it's just so good we thought it would be entertaining," Cliff Buchholz said.
Buchholz says the Nasdaq-100 feels no pressure to turn this into a full-scale 64-draw junior event with doubles to emulate the four Slams.
"But if it does grow, we'd be fine with that," Buchholz said.
It's another step in the continued growth of the tournament that began as the Lipton, changed to the Ericsson and which now has its third name.
It expanded to 12 days last year and a few years earlier added a wheelchair tournament in the second week.
The juniors will be using the same locker rooms as the ATP and WTA pros.
"It's not so much chatting with the pros as watching them and learning how they prepare for matches that will help these young players," Buchholz said. "Just being in the same environment with them and getting the same treatment. How to schedule massage therapy. How to prepare in the locker room before a match."
And, of course, there is always the possibility that a young American will get a chance to pick up some advice from Venus and Serena Williams, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi or Jennifer Capriati.
Other players participating include: No. 11 Brian Baker of Nashville; No. 19 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic; No. 21 Franco Ferreiro of Brazil; No. 24 Robert Yim of Glendale, Calif.; No. 68 Horia Tecau of Romania; unseeded Alexandre Scripko of Belarus; No. 13 Gisela Dulko of Argentina; No. 15 Maria Sherapova of Bradenton; No. 27 Tatiana Golovin of France; No. 34 Salome Devidze of Georgia; No. 36 Cory-Ann Avants of Gastonia, N.C.; No. 61 Jamea Jackson of Bradenton; and No. 69 Carly Gullickson of Brentwood, Tenn.
Gullickson is the daughter of former major league pitcher Bill Gullickson. Afinogenova is the sister of Buffalo Sabres winger Maxim Afinogenov.
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