Delray Beach Welcomes Usta Boys’ 18 & 16 National Clay Court Championship 

Over 450 Players will compete for coveted USTA Gold Ball 

Delray Beach, FL – The USTA Junior Boys National Clay Court Championships have served as a steppingstone to college  scholarships and professional success for a lengthy and impressive list of American players over the past 54 years, including one of  the all-time greatest in Hall of Famer John McEnroe, who claimed the Boys 18s title in 1976, a year after winning the 16s title.  

Current ATP Tour American stars Taylor Fritz, Jenson Brooksby and 2016 Boys 18 champion Sebastian Korda also honed their games  while competing in the National Clay Court Championships in Delray Beach. Fritz, the top-ranked American in the world, this week  gave Rafael Nadal — the all-time leader with 22 Grand Slam titles including 14 French Open titles on the clay at Roland Garros — all  the Spaniard could handle before falling in an epic five-setter at Wimbledon.  

Brooksby, the 21-year-old Californian who has climbed the ATP Tour ladder to No. 34 in the world rankings, made it to the 3rd round  at Wimbledon this month. Korda, a finalist at the 2021 Delray Beach Open who is ranked No. 46 in the world, reached the  quarterfinals last year in his debut at the All-England Club but had to pull out this year because of injury. Other notable Americans  who played in the National Clay Court Championships as teenagers include Tommy Paul, who recently reached the round of 16 at  Wimbledon, as did Frances Tiafoe, who was a champion in Delray Beach at the ATP Tour level at the 2018 Delray Beach Open. Paul  was the 2013 National Clay Court champion in 16s and took the 18 title in 2014, defeating Reilly Opelka in the final of both events.  

So who among today’s elite American Junior players might follow in the footsteps of Fritz, Brooksby, Korda, Paul and Tiafoe? We  could be given some clues next week during the 2022 Boys 18 and 16 National Clay Court Championships in Palm Beach County.  More than 450 of the nation’s elite young players will descend on Delray Beach and surrounding communities for the week-long  tournament July 10-17. The singles and doubles quarterfinals, semifinals and finals in both age groups will culminate July 15-17 at  

the Delray Beach Tennis Center, site of the ATP Tour’s Delray Beach Open. Both finalists in the 18s singles competition will earn  entry into the DBO’s pre-qualifying Survivor Series event while the champion will also receive a 2022 US Open Juniors Main Draw  Singles Wild Card. 

Lucas Brown of Plano, Texas, the USTA No. 2-ranked player, will be the top seed in the Boys 18 singles draw. Brown, who has made a  verbal commitment to the University of Texas, arrives here with a 52-19 overall record. Jelani Sarr, another rising high school senior  from Pooler, Ga., who is committed to the University of South Carolina, will be the No. 2 seed and is No. 6 in the USTA national  rankings.  

The Boys 16 singles top seed is Andrew Ena of Rego Park, N.Y. He’s ranked No. 2 nationally by the USTA. Ian Bracks of Tulsa, Okla., is  the No. 2 seed and ranked No. 4 nationally. The No. 4 seed in the Boys 16 draw is No. 8-ranked Asor Ismoilov of Delray Beach, who  should have a strong local contingent cheering him on in his quest to claim the singles title in that age group. Another local entry  from Delray Beach is Alex Ekstrand, who will compete in the Boys 18 singles.  

Both Boys singles draws each will have 224 players competing in front of family and friends from as far away as California and  Hawaii. Ivan Baron, tournament director and former USTA Gold Ball champion at USTA National Hardcourt Championships, said  more than 100 college coaches are expected to attend the event that will be contested the first five days at five different venues,  including the Delray Beach Tennis Center, which has 14 clay courts. The other venues are One Tennis Academy at Boca Lago, Boca  West Country Club, Boca Raton Racquet Club and Palm Beach Gardens Tennis Center in northern Palm Beach County. Admission is  free to all matches all week.

“The atmosphere is electric all week. And it’s a great chance for fans see some incredibly impressive tennis before you have to start  buying tickets in just a couple years to see these guys play” Baron said. 

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. 

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. 

“As leaders in healthcare and sports medicine, we are incredibly excited to partner with the USTA Clay Court National  Championships again,” said Reggie Laroche, Assistant VP at Baptist Health. “By joining this prestigious event, Baptist Health will not  only support top-ranked elite tennis athletes in USTA Clay Court National Championships and the Delray Beach Open, but also the  Delray Beach community at large, creating a safe, entertaining and memorable week for all.”  

Singles action begins on Sunday at 8 a.m. EST. Doubles will not begin before noon EST that same day. For complete draws, including  match times, locations and results, click here. For all other tournament related information, visit Media interested in covering the event can contact John Butler to arrange coverage and  interviews, 561-350-6795,  

  • Official 2022 Sponsors 

– City of Delray Beach  – – 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.”

By Steve Dorsey  

About the Author

Discover more from The Boca Raton Tribune

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading