BARCELONA, SPAIN: They’re all 16-years-old or slightly younger and they’ve traveled to Barcelona from all points around this great, big, wide world. Representatives from 21 different nations -- Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Brazil, China, Eygpt, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Mexico, Morocco, Paraguay, Peru, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and the USA -- are in this majestic Catalana locale to compete in the 2012 Junior Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Finals.
This prestigious international team event is designed to offer premiere up-and-coming juniors an opportunity to vie against each other. It also provides a sense of how special it is to be included -- when ready -- in the full-on Fed Cup by BNP Paribas teams when the time comes.
On a beautiful September afternoon at the Real Club de Polo de Barcelona where tennis adjoins polo and hockey fields as well an inviting pool area, the draw for this year’s event orchestrated how the round-robin portion of the competition will commence on Tuesday morning.
Both the Junior Fed Cup and Junior Davis Cup, which takes places simultaneously, have 16 nation participants that are broken up into four groups of four for the round robin portion of the competition. Eight nations are seeded and an effort is made to group the nations with countries that are not from the same region to make for an interesting event.
In both events, the USA is the top seeds. In the girls’ the USA has Taylor Townsend, the No. 1 player in the ITF Junior Rankings. In the boys’ the USA has No. 16 Noah Rubin in their corner.
Other top 25 ranked juniors competing here are No. 7 Elizaveta Kulichokova for Russia in the girls’ event and No. 4 Gianluigi Quinzi of Italy and No. 20 Hyeun Chung of Korea in the boys’ competition.
The Junior Fed Cup four groups are as follows (seeding in parentheses): (1) USA, Spain, Korea and (7) Egypt in Group A; (3) Brazil, Japan, Belarus, and (5) Italy in Group B; (4) Latvia, Mexico, Paraguay and (6) Australia in Group C; and (2) Russia, Germany, South Africa and (8) China in Group D.
The first and second nations listed and the third and fourth nations listed in each group will square off in the opening day action.
Italy’s Junior Fed Cup captain Antonella Serrazanetti, who like Woodforde played on the pro tour and had a career high ranking of No. 60, believes her team is ready to get started.
“We’ll be playing Belarus in the first round tomorrow,” “I think it’s a tough group but everyone can win, so we’ll see what happens. My girls are ready and very happy to be here.”