The names of Otto Virtanen and Cori “Coco” Gauff were added to the prestigious Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships winners list in the past week.
Virtanen became the first player from Finland to win the ITF Grade A title when he beat Zane Khan of the United States 7-5, 6-4 in the final.
Gauff, meanwhile, beat Qinwen Zheng of China 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 to cap off a glorious year.
Big things are expected from both players as Virtanen also won the Wimbledon Boys’ Doubles trophy earlier this year with partner Yanki Erel while American Gauff won the French Open Girls’ Singles title and the US Open Girls’ Doubles trophy alongside Caty McNally.
The duo no doubt hopes that over the next few years they will join illustrious company and go on to win the Grand Slams and/or reach No 1 in the world.
The Orange Bowl was introduced in 1947 and Brazilian Maria Bueno was the first player to win the Grade A Florida tournament before winning a Grand Slam.
She won the Orange Bowl in 1957 and two years later she would win Wimbledon and the US Open and by the time she retired she had won seven Grand Slam singles trophies.
Australian great Tony Roche was the first man to achieve the Orange Bowl-Grand Slam feat as he was the 1962 Florida champion and then won the French Open in 1966.
Here are some notable Orange Bowl-Grand Slam singles winners:
The American is a three-time Orange Bowl winner as she won the Girls 16 and under title in 1968 and then followed it up with the “big ones” in 1969 and 1970. She would go on to become one of the greatest tennis players of all times as she won 18 Grand Slam singles titles and reached No 1 in the world, among other things.
He was the Boys 16 and under Orange Bowl champion in 1971 and the following year he claimed the Boys 18 and under trophy. The Swede, of course, went on to win six Roland Garros trophies and five consecutive Wimbledon titles.
The American won the Orange Bowl in 1976 and three years later he would win his maiden Grand Slam at the US Open. Three more US Open titles and three Wimbledon trophies would follow.
After winning the 16 and under trophy in 1976, the Czech-born Lendl would follow it up with the main title the following year. It would take him seven years before he would taste success on the biggest stage as he won the French Open in 1984 and the floodgates opened after that as he won another eight Grand Slams.
The Argentine won the ITF tournament in 1984 and six years later she became a Grand Slam winner when she beat Steffi Graf in the 1990 US Open final.
Another player who completed the “double” as he won the 16 and under event in 1986 and the 18 and under tournament the following year. Courier, of course, won two Australian Open and two French Open trophies.
The 2002 French Open winner gave the world a glimpse of his talent when he won the Orange Bowl in 1993.
When the 17-year-old Federer won the Orange Bowl in 1998 no one could have predicted that he would reach the heights that he hit, and continues to hit.
In case you are not sure about those heights, here you go: eight Wimbledon titles, six Australian Open titles, five US Open titles and one French Open.
The American is the last Orange Bowl male winner to win a Grand Slam as he won the Florida title in 1999 and then won his one and only major at the US Open in 2003.
The Dane became the first Orange Bowl female winner since Gabriela Sabatini to win a Grand Slam as she won the ITF event in 2005 and then claimed her maiden major at the Australian Open in January this year.
Other notable Orange Bowl winners who didn’t/hasn’t won a Grand Slam:
Guy Forget (1982), Natasha Zvereva (1987), Andriy Medvedev (1990), Anna Kournikova (1995), Elena Dementieva (1998), Vera Zvonareva (2000/01), Robin Soderling (2001), Marcos Baghdatis (2003), Dominic Thiem (2001)
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