Henrik Wiersholm and Stefan Kozlov could probably be tearing their way through the 16-and-under division of the Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships without much trouble.
However, Wiersholm, 16, and Kozlov, 15, apparently like challenges.
They both moved up a division to 18-under and are making the most of it at the Frank Veltri Tennis Center in Plantation.
Wiersholm won his singles match Tuesday against Fajing Sun, 6-2, 6-4, and Kozlov defeated Yannik James 6-4, 6-2. Then the two U.S. players, who have adjoining rooms at the USTA Training Center in Boca Raton, teamed up to defeat France’s Quentin Halys and Alexandre Muller 6-3, 6-3 in doubles.
The two have become fast friends as well as tennis partners.
They also have played nine tournament matches against each other, with Kozlov winning all of them.
“He reminds me of that occasionally,” Wiersholm said, “but it’s all good-natured kidding.”
Then Wiersholm added, “It would be great to meet him in the final of this tournament.”
Wiersholm has already decided to play college tennis at the University of Virginia, the defending national champion, and will enroll in the school next year at the early age of 17. You can do that when you skip eighth grade, have a 3.9 grade-point average, an SAT score of 2,000 and have taken advanced classes most of your life.
The typical day at the training center includes four hours of tennis, an hour or more of fitness and strength, and the rest of the time devoted to school. “It doesn’t leave much time for anything else,” Wiersholm said, “but I love the environment.”
At 5-9 and 145 pounds, Wiersholm is sometimes dwarfed by his 18-year-old opponents. That makes no difference to him. “Nothing will be given to you, you have to go out and earn it,” he said. Tennis has taken him to France, Italy, England, Costa Rica, Mexico, El Salvador and all over the United States.
“I don’t think there are many other kids who have that sort of opportunity,” Wiersholm said. “I’m fortunate.”
Former World Series MVP and four-time Major League Baseball All-Star Mike Lowell will be the 2014 keynote speaker at the University of Miami First Pitch Banquet, UM coach Jim Morris said Tuesday.
Lowell, who played for the Yankees, Marlins and Red Sox, currently serves as an analyst for MLB Network and lives in Miami with his wife and two children.
The banquet will be at 6 p.m. Feb. 6 at the Marriott Miami Dadeland. Call the Hurricane Club at 305-284-5240 for more information.