Georgia Junior Open Branicki (copy)

Sarah Elizabeth Branicki, of Marietta, smacks a backhand in her July match at the Georgia Junior Open Championships at the Rome Tennis Center. Branicki is among the close to 250 teens registered for the USTA Southern Winter Championships in Rome next week.

More than 250 top young tennis players from nine states across the Southeast are expected to spend time in Rome in the runup to New Year’s Eve.

The USTA Level 2 Winter Championships for boys and girls in the 16 and under age group as well as the 18 and under category will be played at the Rome Tennis Center at Berry College. Matches start Monday and continue through Wednesday.

Teenagers from North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia and Arkansas are signed up to compete.

For many of the competitors, it will be their second trip to the tennis center this month. The USTA Southern East Championships were played in Rome the first weekend of December.

Two of the top four finishers at the girls 16 and under East Championships — Abby Lee from Daniel Island, South Carolina, and Sarah Branicki from Marietta — will be back.

Aniketh Ayinala of Charlotte, North Carolina, the playoff winner in the boys 16 and under East Championships, also will be competing in the Winter Championships.

Vennmukiil Mathivanan, the No. 1 ranked 18-year-old girl in North Carolina, is among the competitors already registered for the event.

Ethan Berry of Alpharetta, ranked No. 8 nationally in the Class of 2021, is among the boys 18 and under players signed up for the event.

Aathreyah Mahesh of Waxhaw, North Carolina, the 42nd ranked player nationally in the Class of ‘22, is also registered for the tournament.

As it has been since the USTA restarted tournament play in the summer, COVID-19 protocols will be followed throughout the event. Spectator seating is limited and no large groups may congregate in the clubhouse at RTCBC.

Recommended for you