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Bollettieri's Discovery Open offers unique opportunity

The Nick Bollettieri Discovery Open seeks to find some of the best 11-, 13-, and 15-year-old players.
The Nick Bollettieri Discovery Open seeks to find some of the best 11-, 13-, and 15-year-old players.

The inaugural Nick Bollettieri Discovery Open will certainly live up to its name. At the same time that aspiring youngsters are hoping to be noticed by some of the best coaches in tennis, including the legendary coach, tournament organizers are unsure of what they’ll find. “The interesting thing about this event is, what could be discovered is someone already known out there, maybe a highly-ranked junior,” says Blake Ulrich, Director of Events at IMG Academy. “But at the same time, we’re looking at applications of players that have little national experience.”

Such words should be encouraging to all boys and girls aged 11, 13, or 15 that hope to become a tennis player. If that’s you, get a resume and video ready before May 15, and click here for further details. IMG Academy is selecting the best candidates for the Nick Bollettieri Discovery Open, an event that will assess players both on and off the court, and award its champions a one-week tennis camp trip and a personal evaluation from Bollettieri and the IMG staff. “Kids will be going through mental sessions, vision sessions, and communication sessions to get an idea of where they stand on becoming the total athlete or the next superstar,” says Ulrich.

The on-court portion of the Open is comprised of six divisions—11’s, 13’s, and 15’s in boys and girls, who must be that exact age or turn that age in 2012—with a maximum of 32 players per group. Matches are best of three sets, on hard courts, and will take place in early June. “There are a lot of specific tournaments that are ‘under 11s’, or ‘under 13s’ where there can be a two- or three-year age gap—or even three-plus years—between people playing in the same division,” said Ulrich. “We wanted to do something to narrow that down a little bit, and we may even try to do more in the future.

Some players have already been accepted into the draw, from Americans in Rhode Island and Hawaii to international talents from Mexico, Israel, and Egypt. But the field has not yet been finalized, and the call for applicants remains.

An innovator and a teacher, Bollettieri combined his passions in establishing the Discovery Open. “[Nick] wanted to build a legacy event,” said Ulrich. It’s an event that plays to the academy’s philosophy of on- and off-court betterment, and offers kids who perhaps haven’t had the chance to be discovered an opportunity to do so. The invitation is truly open—another way the event lives up to its name.

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