Six ITA standouts comprise the United States roster competing in the Ninth Annual Master'U BNP Paribas, held Dec. 4-7 in Aix-en-Provence, France. Competing for the U.S. this year are UCLA seniors Robin Anderson and Chanelle Van Nguyen, University of Virginia junior Julia Elbaba and sophomore Thai-Son Kwiatkowski, University of Georgia senior Nathan Pasha and Wake Forest University freshman Noah Rubin.
The United States team, announced by the USTA, contains two reigning national intercollegiate champions and one international singles champion. UCLA's Anderson won the Riviera/ITA Women's All American Championship this October and Virginia's Elbaba won the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championship this November, while Wake Forest's Rubin won the Junior Wimbledon Singles Championship this past summer.
Rubin is the top ranked player in the ITA Preseason Newcomer/Freshmen rankings, and will be joined by Pasha of Georgia, a 2014 ITA All-American singles honoree, and Kwiatkowski of Virginia, a semifinalist at the Saint Francis Health System ITA All-American Championships this fall, on the men's team. A senior for the Bulldawgs, Pasha is ranked 17th in the ITA Preseason Singles rankings. Kwiatkowski, a sophomore on the Cavalier squad, is poised for a breakout season after posting a 20-1 record last year at fourth and fifth singles. He is ranked 80th in the ITA Preseason Singles rankings.
On the women's side, Elbaba, a junior at Virginia, is ranked seventh in the ITA Preseason Singles Rankings, and will be joined on the American roster by Van Nguyen, a teammate of Anderson's at UCLA. Van Nguyen finished as runner-up to Anderson in the Riviera/ITA Women's All-American Championships this fall. She and Anderson, both seniors for the Bruins.
The ninth annual Master'U BNP Paribas features a unique match-play format that combines men's and women's matches to determine a winner in best-of-seven scoring. Two men's singles and two women's singles matches are played, one men's doubles and one women's doubles matches are played, and one mixed doubles match is played.
Anderson is the lone player returning from last year's championship squad that defeated Russia in the finals, 7-0. It was the third-straight Master'U BNP Paribas title for the U.S. and fourth in the last five years (2012, 2011 and 2009). Previous Master'U United States team members include Steve Johnson of USC, the current ATP World number 37, Jarmere Jenkins of Virginia, current ATP World number 193, Irina Falconi of Georgia Tech, former WTA World number 73 and Maria Sanchez of USC, a WTA Top 100 doubles player.
The United States first began competing in the event in 2008. The Master'U BNP Paribas held its inaugural tournament in 2006 between six countries and expanded in 2008 to include China and the United States. Collegiate and university players from Belgium, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland and Russia will compete with the United States for the title.