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
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.