Nick Bollettieri wanted to try something a little different, and the 1st Annual Nick Bollettieri Discovery Open tennis tournament, June 1-4, definitely is different.
It’s for juniors only, it’s unsanctioned and you’re not guaranteed a spot because of a ranking. But you do have to send in a DVD of your recent tennis highlights, a brief biography and an explanation of why you think this is the tournament that could get you recognized.
It’s for teenagers who haven’t compiled much notoriety and who have talent that has gone largely unnoticed by teaching pros in their areas.
It is, in short, a chance for some emerging young boys and girls to get discovered.
It’s by invitation only and staff members at the Bollettieri IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., will make the call on who plays — 32 draws for boys and girls in 11-under, 13-under and 15-under tournaments. Singles only. Winners get a free one-week camp at the Bradenton academy and an evaluation by Bollettieri teaching pros.
It doesn’t matter if you live in Kiev, Ukraine, or Lodi, Calif. Send in your tape, make your pitch and, if you’re accepted, all expenses are on you and your family, including discounted hotel rates and a $50 entry fee.
There will be expenses, but this is a chance for some 10-year-olds to get off those mandated 10-under short courts with the big foam ball and play on a regular sized hardcourt with real tennis balls. They will need to turn 11 during 2012.
For 15-year-olds, there’s less chance one of these kids has “fallen through the cracks.” At 15, a young player has probably played a number of tournaments and has been seen to teaching pros, who should have a pretty good idea of what he can do.
But of course there are always late developing players at 15, who have been playing tournaments since 11 or 12 but who just weren’t fully “into” tennis. Maybe something fired them up at age 14 or 15 and now they’re ready to combine talent with motivation. It’s one of those teens who might get discovered at the Bollettieri Discovery Open.
Entries close May 15. For more information on where to send DVDs and applications, go to nickbollettieridiscovery@
Charles Bricker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org