The Day Before With Three Qualifiers-to-be
By Tom Kosinski

What a difference a day makes. Literally. Seen wandering the grounds of the U.S. Open the day prior to the start of the Junior Qualifying tournament were three promising juniors, Adam El-Midawy, Attila Bucko and Christopher Racz. Today they were soaking in the atmosphere, catching matches of their favorite players and dreaming of the day their names appear on the main draw of the big tournament. In between catching matches and watching Roger Federer on the practice courts (and checking out some young ladies who were checking them out) I had a chance to get their take on the Junior Qualies and their chances of making it into the main junior draw.

First up was Chris Racz, from Philadelphia, PA (pictured right). A veteran of the Junior Qualifying, Chris said he was psyched to be here. Chris is about to start his freshman year at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and will be coached here by his college coach, Chris Mahony. After the Open Chris will be heading to Knoxville, where he will be rooming this year with Nick Annacone. (The name might sound familiar, as Nick is the son of former Volunteer star player and professional coach Paul Annacone.)

Homegrown Queen's resident El-Midawy (pictured left) was just as awe struck by the tournament. Fresh from an appearance at the International Hardcourts at the Atlantic Club in Manasquan, NJ, Adam said that he is ready for his sophomore U.S. Open junior qualifying, and that he has been doing extra practice to get ready. Adam said one day he would like to play doubles at the Open with Tim Henman, who happened to be practicing right behind him at the time of the interview. "The level of the juniors here is just huge," Adam said.

Attila Bucko (pictured middle) will be taking his maiden voyage into the Open Junior Qualifying. A resident of West Palm Beach, FL, he was very excited to be here. Attila compared the International Hardcourts to the Open as well. "The atmosphere here is just totally different," Bucko said. "There is just no comparison. It's just cool to be here." Bucko mentioned that he just recently has been working with Tarik Benhabiles. Attila also had his trusty iPod in hand, and was playing his new favorite song Face Down by the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus.

Racz and El-Midhawy were also quick to reveal their iPods as well. Racz most played song was Start the Machine by Angels and Airwaves, while Adam had Survivor's Eye of the Tiger on a perpetual loop. All agreed that the iPod was mandatory equipment for any junior player's bag.

Good Luck Chris, Adam and Attila. We'll be watching to see if you to make the main junior draw and go all the way.



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