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Florida Jr. Tennis Profile: Miami's Gonzales Austin

November 18, 2009 06:00 PM
by Colette Lewis, zootennis.com

 

 Gonzales Austin (photo: Colette Lewis, zootennis.com)

Gonzales Austin of Miami will look back on the summer of 2009 as one of his best. After winning the USTA Florida Jr. Closed 18s, the 16-year-old left-hander chose to play the 16s division at the USTA Boys Nationals in Kalamazoo, and it proved to be a smart decision. Austin, known as AJ to his friends and family, won the tournament and the US Open Junior Championship wildcard that goes with it.

Seeded eighth in Kalamazoo, Austin, who played high school tennis at Ransom Everglades before opting for home schooling this school year, won five consecutive three-set matches en route to the prestigious title.

In the final, his opponent was the formidable top seed Jack Sock, who owns 17 USTA gold balls. Sock won the first set 6-3, but Austin took the next two 7-5, 6-0.

"He was playing so well in the first set, I couldn't do anything," Austin said. "In the second set, I had a lucky break at the end. He was up 40-15 serving to go to the tiebreaker, and I held him off."

"I noticed there was something wrong in those last two points," Austin said of the recurring stomach problems Sock suffered during the tournament. "I said, okay, now's my chance to take it to him."

Austin, who trains at the Julie Steven Tennis Academy, had never reached the singles quarterfinals of a USTA National Championship prior to his breakout in Kalamazoo. 

"It's my best achievement ever," he said. "Nothing could top this, unless I win the US Open. That might top it."
 

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