Jordan Cox took a look around Court 1 at the All England Club, where he was to play for the Wimbledon junior boys singles title.
"I just asked myself, 'What's going on?'" said Cox, who is from Duluth.
There are worse questions to ask. After winning the U.S. Tennis Association's under-16 national title last summer and then reaching the Wimbledon finals last week, Cox, 17, stands as one of the top junior players in the world.
"He's a lot better than when I was his age," said Jordan's 20-year-old brother Bradley, a sometime practice partner and a member of the University of Kentucky tennis team.
At Wimbledon, where he made the 64-player field by winning two qualifying matches, Cox beat four of the world's top 25 junior players. In the semifinal, he outlasted Devin Britton of Mississippi, who among other things was the 2009 NCAA singles champion, Cox's doubles partner at Wimbledon and a close friend of both Brad and Jordan. Cox won 6-3, 6-7(5), 16-14. Cox described the 30-game third set as "mental warfare." He lost in the finals to Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.
"After each match, I just kept building confidence," said Cox, now the No. 37-ranked junior in the world. "I had more confidence in the pressure moments, because they were coming at me each match."
Cox, who trains at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Fla., is debating whether to play in college or turn professional next year. Cox, who is home-schooled, will be a senior in the fall. Results from the next several months, when he will play a mix of junior and small professional tournaments as an amateur, will inform the decision.
Georgia, Florida, Ohio State and Virginia are among the schools that have shown interest in Cox thus far.
Said Cox, "Whenever it happens, whether I go straight or go to college first, the plan is to play pro tennis."
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