December is the one month of the tennis year that the professional tennis calendar goes quiet, as the 2018 season came to a close in November and players across the world gear up for the 2019 campaign, which starts in January in Australia.
While the big stadiums and arenas are empty, the Adidas Performance Center at the USTA National Campus will be bustling with activity as a number of the top American professionals will be hard at work with the USTA Player Development staff. December is crunch time for the players’ off-season training regimen when they work on their fitness and fine-tune their games heading into the 2019 season.
2019 will be a tremendously important year for a number of the young stars who call Lake Nona home after breakthrough campaigns in 2018. Joining Lake Nona mainstays Madison Keys and Frances Tiafoe, the highest-ranked woman and man, respectively, who train at the USTA National Campus, are a number of other young players who now find themselves ranked amongst the world’s Top 200.
Amanda Anisimova, Caroline Dolehide and Francesca Di Lorenzo are all under the age of 22, and each had impressive results in 2018, not to mention 19-year-old CiCi Bellis who, once ranked as high as world No. 35, is set to return from an injury that kept her sidelined during most of 2018.
On the men’s side, 23-year-old Mackenzie McDonald finds himself ranked a career-best No. 76 after a summer campaign that included a fourth-round appearance at Wimbledon.
These players and more will be toiling away on the courts and in the gym throughout the month of December at the USTA National Campus, culminating with the American Tennis Showcase, a free public exhibition that will take place on Thursday, Dec. 20.
The American Tennis Showcase will not only serve as a training opportunity for the players to experience a match-like atmosphere, but it will also give the Lake Nona community the chance to watch the nation’s best young players in person.
The players will compete in both singles and doubles in front of a crowd in an attempt to simulate the atmosphere they will soon find themselves in, whether it be at the Australian Open or other early-season tournaments. For the fans, it will be an opportunity to watch some of the best tennis players in the world in their own backyard for free.
In addition to the world-class tennis talent, the event will feature free kids’ activities, live music, specialty food and drinks, as well as an autograph session with the participating athletes. For those who cannot attend, the American Tennis Showcase will be carried live on the Tennis Channel. The event begins at 6 p.m.