“I can’t wait to eat an orange,” said the petite and feisty Abigail Desiatnikov of the U.S. moments after clinching her first Junior Orange Bowl International Tennis Championship win in the Girls 12 division.
Another successful tournament has come to an end after 10 days of tremendous tennis and mostly idyllic South Florida weather.
Desiatnikov defeated Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska (7-5; 7-5).
“I made it to the semi’s at Eddie Herr, the finals of Nike International, and now winning the Junior Orange Bowl,” Desiatnikov said. “That’s a lot of accomplishments this year.”
The family made a deal that if she won the tournament, the holiday celebration would mean a trip to Arizona for the upcoming Arizona Super Nationals.
Michael Mmoh of the U.S. appears to be on his way to a bright future in tennis according to Peter Van Lieshout, traveling coach for the IMG Academy.
“His dream is to win the Grand Slam,” Lieshout said. “He’s got the tools and techniques; he just needs to keep improving.”
Mmoh defeated Switzerland’s Marko Osmakcic (6-4; 7-5). “This is my third Junior Orange Bowl and it’s such a fantastic tournament,” Mmoh said after his big win. “I won’t be coming back next year and that’s a shame, but I plan on competing in the Orange Bowl.” Mmoh won the Junior Orange Bowl International Tennis Championship two years ago in the Boys 12.
“I wanted to come back this year strong and I didn’t lose a match,” he said.
Mmoh will go back to Bradenton for training with IMG Academy coach David “Red” Ayme for a few days and then to Washington, DC, for a holiday respite before the Junior Grand Slam in Brisbane, Australia.
In the Girls 14 division Maia Lumsden of Glasgow, Scotland defeated Gabriella Taylor who is also from Great Britain (6-3; 7-5). In the Boys 12 at Salvadore Park, Yshai Oliel of Israel defeated Patrick Sydow of Aruba (6-3; 6-1).
Junior Orange Bowl Committee president Don Slesnick III grew up seeing his parents involved in civic life through the Orange Bowl and decided to follow in their footsteps.
“My parents were presidents before me and I’ve always been involved with the parade; it is our marquee event,” Slesnik said.
“My daughter, Cecilia, is 2 years old now and to see her jump up and down when the bands come down the street during the parade is wonderful. The Junior Orange Bowl is a magical experience for youth.”
Tournament director Jodi Steinbauer’s team of volunteers worked from sunup to sundown over the past 10 days and somehow managed to maintain their own athletic endurance to make it another memorable event.
“Every year gets better and better,” Steinbauer said.
Slesnik wanted to give a special shout out in gratitude to the volunteers who pulled it all together.
“I want to give thanks to all the volunteers who managed 1,300 kids and parents and all that goes with that. To manage it all without a hitch is a great achievement.”
The Junior Orange Bowl Committee is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the community of South Florida and the youth of the world by providing opportunities for wholesome, competitive and multi-cultural experiences.