- Johnny Esfeller
IMG Academy’s Miomir Kecmanovic puts the exclamation point on historic 2016 season with second Orange Bowl title, finishes as world no. 1 ranked ITF junior
IMG Academy has a storied history in tennis. In its 38 years of existence, 10 ATP/WTA players to reach a ranking of world No. 1 have developed on campus. IMG Academy alumni and trainees have accumulated dozens of Grand Slam titles, countless other professional titles, Olympic medals and NCAA national championships. However, to end 2016 one member of the program has carved their name deep into the Academy’s rich history; Miomir Kecmanovic.
Kecmanovic enrolled at IMG Academy in 2013 at age 14. His primary goal was to be the number one junior in the world. Just over three years later, Kecmanovic has arrived. The native of Serbia had the strongest end of a season of any junior player since junior rankings were introduced in 1978. Kecmanovic won the last three major events of the junior season, the Abierto Juvenil, Eddie Herr International Junior Tennis Championships and capped it all off by dominating at the Metropalia Orange Bowl in Miami.
With his 2015 victory, Kecmanovic became the second IMG Academy ever to win the Orange Bowl, joining Jim Courier (1987), who would go on to reach world No. 1 and win several Grand Slams. With a second win, the 17-year old becomes only the third player ever to win back-to-back Orange Bowls, and first since 1973-74 (Billy Martin).
More impressively, Kecmanovic achieved his long-time goal set in 2013. He finished 2016 as the ITF world no. 1 ranked junior. With that accolade, he is only the second player in Academy history to achieve a no. 1 junior ranking, joining Marcelos Rios (1993), and the first since singles and doubles rankings were combined in 2004.
For more on Kecmanovic’s dominant run in Miami, check out the story from South Florida Sun Sentinel below:
In between raindrops at the Veltri Tennis Center, the top-ranked junior boy in the world confidently reaffirmed his lofty perch before moving on to the next level, while the top-ranked girl seemed to be looking ahead rather than the ball in a straight-set loss.
Once the top-seeded Miomir Kecmanovic, who prefers Misha, held serve in a competitive first set, he cruised past his tired opponent, the second-seeded Yibing Wu of China, 6-3-6-1, to become the third junior to win consecutive Metropolia Orange Bowl International tennis championships in the Boys' 18s division.
Billy Martin, now the UCLA men's head coach, did it in 1973-74, and Fort Lauderdale's Harold Solomon pulled off the Orange Bowl double in 1969-70 before finishing in the Top 10 as a professional in 1976 and 1978-80.
Kecmanovic, 17, also stroked his way to the arduous two-week sweep of the Grade 1 Eddie Herr International Tennis Championships on his home courts at IMG Academy in Bradenton, and the Grade A Orange Bowl. The last boy to do that was Austrian Dominic Thiem in 2011. Now 23, Thiem has skyrocketed to No. 8 on the ATP Tour.