USTA National Campus hits grand slam with Junior Davis, Fed Cup tournament

Public to get look at up-and-coming tennis players

By Carolina Cardona - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - For the first time in 25 years, the Junior Davis and Fed Cup tournament is taking place in the U.S. at the United States Tennis Association National campus in Orlando.

This week, the public will get to see some of the up-and-coming young tennis players, like 15-year-old Martin Damm Jr, and his childhood friend, 16-year-old Toby Kodat. The teens recently made history at the U.S. Open in New York, where they got a taste of what it's like to be among some of the best pro tennis players in the world.

"Just seeing how professional they are, how they prepare for practice, for matches, what they do," Damm said.

On Aug. 29,  Damm and his teammate, Toby Kodat, made history when they won their debut match at the U.S. Open, becoming the youngest men's doubles to win their first tour-level match.

[READ MORE: Seminole athlete who was born deaf strives for successCentral Florida gaming influencer named world champion in VR]

"It was awesome, you know we've dreamed of when we were little kids, going out and playing at a home slam in the men's for the first time," Damm said. "Being able to win our first round together was something very special for sure."

It was extra special because he won alongside his friend, who he's known since they were toddlers. For Kodat, it was a surreal moment.

"Pure happiness honestly -- couldn't believe that actually happened," Kodat said.

Their dream of playing at the U.S. Open came true after they earned a wildcard when they won the USTA 18s National Championships in Michigan this year.

Both Damm and Kodat were born and raised in Bradenton, where they still live and practice the sport at the IMG Academy. The teens were born into the sport and have been playing tennis since they were 4 and 5 years old.

Damm's dad, Martin Damm Sr., is a former pro tennis player -- best known as a doubles player who won 40 ATP doubles titles. Kodat's dad is a tennis coach who also is part of his coaching team. 

This week, the teens will be representing team USA as they take on junior players from 23 other countries. There will be 32 boys and girls from 24 teams competing for the Junior Davis and Fed cup titles. 

"Facilities such as our national campus really can be showcases here for the great game that we have," tournament director Lew Brewer said about the international event taking place at the USTA National Campus in Orlando.

Brewer said it allows an opportunity to let the people of Florida see the best juniors in the world.

"These are the rising stars," Brewer said. "Martin and Toby are really -- have a lot of upside potential. They're very young, they're already in the top 10 in the world in the ITF International Federation junior rankings."

Entry to the tournament is open to the public and free of charge.

Copyright 2019 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.