Top high school players in Delray Beach this week for USTA National Clay Court Championship

College coaches from around the US are in attendance scouting players
Posted at 11:42 PM, Jul 07, 2024

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Four hundred top high school tennis players are in Delray Beach this week for the 57th annual USTA National Clay Court Championship.

"It's the premier event in the United States," said tournament director Ivan Baron.

The tournament lasts until July 14 and features 400 of the top names in the sport ages 16 to 18.

"They all are fighting for that one USTA Gold Ball," Baron said "We have about 100 college coaches in town to scout them."

College coaches at the Division 3 to Division 1 levels were at the facility watching the top prospects.

"This is great for us college coaches to see the kids compete on clay, which a lot of these kids didn't grow up playing on. It's a foreign surface for them to play on. You see the adversity and the heat," Washington University in St. Louis head tennis coach Roger Follmer said.

Follmer is entering his 23rd year as the head coach of the school's men's tennis team.

He said as important as talent is to his program, he's looking for athletes with good character.

"You're watching to see how they compete and watching to see how they interact with their peers too in between matches," Follmer said.

One of the players who impressed several coaches on the tournament's opening day was Sawyer Severance.

"It's awesome, a lot of great players, and it's pretty hot, but you got to get over that but a great level of tennis," Severance, a 2025 top 60 recruit, said.

The Charleston, South Carolina native kicked off the opening round with a win.

However, it was a match that lasted four hours.

The rising senior said his intense practices back home prepare him to compete with the game's best.

It's the coaches who still give him butterflies.

"It's awesome. It definitely keeps your attitude in check. It makes you a little bit nervous, but it's good. It helps me keep my level high and stay focused," Sawyer said.