HOW CAN ANDY RODDICK PLAY THE JUNIORS?
August 30, 2000
Andy Roddick received a wildcard into the U.S. Open men's singles draw and lost in the first round to Albert Costa of Spain, 6-3,6-7(5),6-1,6-4. He has now decided to play the junior tournament next week and many people have questioned how he can do this since he has not retained his amateur status.
Though Andy Roddick turned professional in January, he is still eligible to play the U.S. Open Junior Championships. Roddick lost his eligibility to play USTA Junior tournaments when he declared himself a professional, however, ITF (International Tennis Federation) rules maintain that he may play their junior events (including the U.S. Open) as long as he maintains their age eligibility -- remaining 18 within the calendar year of the event. Roddick turns 18 today, so he still meets that requirement.
The reason for the confusion, according to Dede Allen, Administrator of USA Tennis Junior Competition for the USTA, is because "the U.S. is the only country that has a distinction between professional and amateur." While Roddick will be playing the U.S. Open junior event and accumulating ITF Junior Ranking points, Ms. Allen points out that he "is not receiving any USTA National Junior Ranking points for his participation because he is a professional."
Perhaps the only reason there are questions surrounding Roddick's eligibility is the fact that he has been in the public eye so much in recent months as an up and coming professional player. The publicity surrounding him can only do some good to raising the attention around the Junior Championships. After all, the U.S. Open Junior Championships is the place to see the stars of tomorrow today.
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