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Tournament Feature
ITF International Spring Championships Mark Decade of Excellence

Many a top professional player has found success on the hard courts of the International Tennis Federation Grade 1 International Spring Championships, which begin next week at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.

The scenic courts at the StubHub Center
© ZooTennis.com
But for all the well-known champions who have hoisted trophies in the 16s and 18s divisions since the tournament began in 2005, including Sam Querrey, Vania King, Sloane Stephens and Melanie Oudin, many other successful pros left the athletic complex near Los Angeles without hardware, determined to improve their standing among their peers.

Current ATP and WTA stars Steve Johnson, CoCo Vandeweghe and Madison Keys of the US, Milos Raonic of Canada and Belinda Bencic of Switzerland all played the tournament in the past ten years, yet were not able to add their names to the list of singles champions.

American juniors have dominated the tournament over its first decade, winning 15 of the 20 singles titles in the 18s, a result that doesn't surprise tournament director John Lansville.

"I think with it being on the West Coast, it's more difficult for European players," said Lansville, who has been the tournament's director since its move from Florida and its repositioning on the calendar in 2005. "It's a six or seven hour flight from Europe to Miami, whereas here, we're more secluded, which is in some ways a good thing for the American players."

The tournament is scheduled the week before the Easter Bowl, which became an ITF Grade 1 Closed event the same year the International Spring Championships moved from Key Biscayne, where it was played the week prior to the Orange Bowl.

"There's only this one week for the international players to be able to play," continued Lansville, the Director of the USTA Training Center-West & Player Services.

"For the Americans, it's great, because they can play this and the Easter Bowl, but a top European player is not going to come all this way, for a Grade 4 (in Claremont, the week before) and this. If they're going to come, they want to play a few events. Most of the foreign kids we get are from academies like Bollettieri's, that situation."

While the international players have not followed the tournament west, another essential group did make the journey - chair umpires.

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Page updated on Monday, March 09, 2020
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