I just watched the final matches of the 2011 Eddie Herr International Junior Championships. The quality of the competitions proved that the health of tennis is flourishing around the world. More than 1,400 junior players from over 90 countries traveled from near and far to compete in this week-long event. In fact, many arrived a month early to acclimate themselves to the tropical Florida heat and humidity. This tournament is undeniably one of the finest junior tournaments in the world and I am proud to recognize the selfless staff that made each and every one of the players feel comfortable and at home. The staff of the IMG Academy Bollettieri tennis program catered to every need of these young athletes. Just take the housing situation as a small example. Where else could students, coaches and parents take up residence on the grounds of the tournament site while, at the same time securing practice courts, family meals and luxury housing accommodations. Even the U.S. Open doesn't offer housing!
I've been intimately involved in the sport of tennis for more than 60 years and have had quite a few memorable moments. I must say, however, that I have never been more proud of associating myself with a tournament. Rick Workman, his staff, the concessionaires, the USTA officials and the IMG Administrators and staff deserve to be recognized for conducting what I believe is the finest junior tournament in the world. Just as importantly, I can assure you that we plan to make the 2012 event even better!