Published On: Mon, Jul 11th, 2022

Day One At USTA Clay Court National Championships

Negotiates Mother Nature’s Heated Personalities

264 Tennis Matches Completed as Nation’s Best Vie for Gold Ball

Delray Beach, FL – It was a typical sonic backdrop to Sunday Funday at USTA National Clays at “The Beach” – Cracking thunder and lightning sirens out west while host site Delray Beach Tennis Center was serenaded by the revelry of live music on downtown Atlantic Avenue. The athletes, a mix of undeterred and energized by the soundtrack of the day, played captivating tennis for the fans and coaches in attendance and for their efforts, we’re proud to feature our Day 1 Players of the Day…

Ethan Green lives in Utah where ski slopes far outnumber tennis courts, especially clay courts. But the Salt Lake City native seems to have adjusted quite nicely to that somewhat foreign surface here in South Florida. 

Green, 18, arrived here a couple days early to get some practice on clay in preparation in preparation for the USTA National Clay Court Championships, which began Sunday at five various venues in Palm Beach County. His crash course paid off on Day 1 of the weeklong tournament, as the unseeded Green defeated No. 33 seeded Jackson Morash of Dallas, Texas, 6-4, 1-6, 6-1 in the first round of the Boys 18-and-under singles bracket at the Delray Beach Tennis Center. For his epic transition from the slopes to the sand, Green was selected the Baptist Health Orthopedic Care 18s Player of the Day. 

Green, whose mother and sister both like to ski, said his concern of getting injured on ski slopes prompted him to become interested in tennis about 10 years ago. 

“I’ve had a lot of friends get injured (skiing), so it wasn’t something I wanted to get into,” Green said, chuckling when asked if he also liked snow skiing. 

Green said he had no expectations of how he would play here, especially since this is the first clay courts tournament he’s ever entered. He said he had to buy shoes more suitable to a clay surface just last week before leaving Utah for the heat and humidity of summer in South Florida. 

“The second set I was definitely feeling the heat and humidity,” Green said of his three-set victory Sunday. “The third (set) I didn’t focus on it as much. Back in Utah I barely break a sweat. I’m 6-3, 155 (pounds), so I can’t afford to lose much weight. I just drank a lot of sports drinks (to stay hydrated).” 

Green also quickly learned that he needed to make a couple adjustments in his game approach on a clay court at a near-sea level locale. 

“I have a high altitude game, so the ball basically flies way more in that high altitude,” Green said. “A slice in Utah is going to go right through the court. I had to make some adjustments, and it was all good.”

Green, a recent high school graduate who will attend and play tennis at Denison College in Ohio this fall, said that the scores of the final two sets against Morash are not indicative of how competitive the match was. 

“I had not heard of Jackson before, but he’s a super nice kid, good player,” Green said. “Every game was close. I don’t think we had one game where either won with a love score.” 

Next up for Green, who also is entered in the doubles competition here, is a matchup against Mitchell Lee of Oakland, Calif., who also advanced Sunday with a three-set win. Green said he will approach his next singles match on Monday the same way, with “nothing to lose.” 

The third time definitely was a charm for Clayton Anderson on Sunday. The Rochester Hills, Mich., native had not won a first-round main draw match at the two previous clay court tournaments he’s entered, but that changed Sunday at the Palm Beach Gardens Tennis Center. 

Anderson, 16, notched his first win of the weeklong USTA National Boys Clay Court Championships with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 victory against Patrick Kenny of Bronxville, N.Y., advancing him to the second round of Boys 16-and-under winners bracket for the first time in three tries on a clay surface.

Anderson said he still “definitely” prefers hard courts over clay, but seems to be adjusting to the clay the more he plays on it. He said has aspirations of playing in college and perhaps beyond, and wanted to expand his game by entering some clay court events this year. 

Anderson was encouraged when he was 8 years old to start playing tennis by his father, Greg Anderson, who played collegiately at Butler University. 

“It was really the only sport I was interested in,” said Anderson, who is a rising junior in high school. 

After taking the first set Sunday, Anderson found himself struggling against Kenny in the second set before rallying to reel off six straight games in the decisive third set. 

“The second set he started to attack and hit a ton of angles and run me off the court, and I was struggling,” Anderson said of Kenny’s strategy. But Anderson quickly turned things around after dropping the opening game of the third set and registered his initial first-round win on a clay surface. For finally dealing defeat to the dirt, Clayton Anderson is our South Florida BMW Centers Boys 16s Player of the Day.

Anderson also had no problem adjusting to the tough heat and humidity that is so prevalent in South Florida this time of year. 

“Actually, I would say I just like it,” Anderson said of somewhat sweltering conditions. “It didn’t bother me that much today.” 

Anderson, who is a No. 33 seed here this week, will try to add another first to his resume on Monday when he attempts to win his first second-round match of a clay tournament, taking on unseeded Jagger Leach of Laguna Beach, Calif., who breezed to a straight-sets win Sunday in his first-round match. 

Baptist Health will be participating as the official Healthcare Partner for the tournament for the second consecutive year. As the largest not-for-profit healthcare organization in South Florida, Baptist Health will provide medical services and support for the players all week and Baptist Health Orthopedic Care will be presenting the daily Boys 18s Player of the Day.

BMW, the official automobile of the USTA National Clay Court Championships, will feature a 2022 M3 and M4 edition vehicle on-site at the Delray Beach Tennis Center and South Florida BMW Centers will be presenting the daily Boys 16s Player of the Day. Next to the display cars, fans can enter a contest to win four box seat tickets to one session of the 2023 Delray Beach Open.

Singles action continues on Monday at 8 a.m. EST. Doubles will not begin before noon EST. For complete draws, including match times, locations and results, click here. For all other tournament related information, visit YellowTennisBall.com/NationalClays. Media interested in covering the event can contact John Butler to arrange coverage and interviews, 561-350-6795, Jbutler@YellowTennisBall.com.

Official 2022 Sponsors

City of Delray Beach

VITACOST.com

Baptist Health South Florida

South Florida BMW Centers

Palm Beach County Sports Commission

Renaissance Boca Raton

Florida Sports Foundation

One Tennis Academy

GAMMA Sports

Complete Performance

Swing Vision

Wilson

Wyndham Boca Raton

USTA

About The City of Delray Beach: In southeast Palm Beach County, along the Atlantic seashore, a Village by the Sea that began as an agricultural community in 1895 has become one of Florida’s most popular destinations for visitors, new families and seasonal residents. The City of Delray Beach encompasses slightly over 16 square miles with a permanent population of nearly 65,000 and growing. The city’s charm continues to garner national awards. In 2017 alone the city received three awards: the “All-America City” award from the National Civic League (NCL) for literacy strides (the NCL also recognized Delray Beach in 1993 and 2001), a “Playful City USA” designation for providing 24 playgrounds for residents, and the recognition of Atlantic Avenue as one of the “10 Great American Shopping Streets” by USA Today. In 2012 during the nationally televised “Best of the Road” special, Delray Beach was chosen by Rand McNally, USA Today and the Travel Channel as the “Most Fun Small Town” in America. In 2014, USA Today named Delray as one of the “Best Atlantic Beaches in Florida.” 

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