Monday 11th December
Todor Enev has been playing in the Orange Bowl since he was 13. At 14, he made the 16 & under finals. Now, the No. 2-ranked junior in the world is the favorite to win his first OB title.
A year ago, Enev was a semifinalist in the 18s, losing to eventual champion Andy Roddick. With Roddick playing his final junior event last week in the Sunshine Cup, the Bulgarian finds himself the Orange Bowl©ös number one seed. "Everyone is playing great tennis," he says. "Every match is important."
He mentions Sweden's Joachim Johansson, No. 3 on the current world list and the tournament's No. 2 seed, as a player who could challenge him for the title. The two have split matches in their four head-to-head meetings. Enev won the last match-up in April in the first round of the Japan Open Junior Championships, 6-4, 6-3.
You won't catch the 18-year old frolicking in the waters off Key Biscayne this week, but he has returned to Miami for each of the last six years because of the weather. "It's nice here," he says in the broken English he has picked up through his tennis travels. "December is perfect. Not like in Europe. It's cold, snowy for sure."
Enev has been a fixture at the on-line computer in the Players Lounge at the Crandon Park Tennis Center, staying in touch with friends through the internet during his two-week stay. But he still must dial up his parents to report on his matches. Says Enev, "They don't know how to use the internet. I have a computer at home but they can't use it."
Will his six-year
streak of coming to Miami during the winter come to an end now that he is
playing his final junior tournament? Maybe not. The Orange Bowl 18s winner
gets a wild card entry into the Ericsson Open qualifying tournament next March
right here at the Tennis Center on Key Biscayne.
Todor Enev checks out itfjuniors.com