The Juniors

Jan 29, 2009

The Junior tournaments of these Grand Slam events can often be ignored unless a nation’s player is doing particularly well. It seems unfortunate on the surface, but on the other hand it allows these young players to grow and develop into the adult players they’ll one day become – without the media or press expectation weighing down on them.

That said, some are receiving lots of attention. The two British hopefuls Laura Robson and Heather Watson are good examples. Watson was beaten by Ksenia Pervak of Russia in the quarter finals, but her performance has been impressive throughout the tournament. Laura Robson remains on as Britain’s Australian Open hope, playing in the semi-finals against Noppawan Lertcheewakarn, currently ranked at number one. They both had relatively simple quarter finals, with Lertcheewakarn beating Anna Orlik 6-1, 6-0, and Robson winning automatically as Romanian’s Elena Bogdan retired reluctantly with an ankle injury. So Britain crosses its fingers for the Wimbledon star to shine in the Melbourne heat; the future of British tennis is starting to get a little brighter and Robson plays an important role in this.

In the boys’ singles titles, the semi-finals are set for Yuki Bhambri (1) of India to play Adrien Puget (7) of France, and German Alexandros-Ferdinandos Georgoudas  to play the Guatemalan Julen Uriquen (2).If you’re looking for a potential winner amongst the four, I would probably go with 16-year-old Yuki Bhambri from New Delhi. Bhambri lost out for a shot at the Australian Open title last year in the semi-finals when he met eventual champion Bernard Tomic. But with Tomic now competing in the men’s tournaments, and with Bhambri improving in experience and skill with every match, it looks like he could take the boys’ singles title this year. Even if he is unsuccessful with this particular title, he has prestigious training at the Nick Bolletittieri Tennis Academy and growing experience on his side; all of which will make him one to watch in the future. That said, all four of these boys has the tournament title in their sights and no-one will give the opportunity up easily.

I still believe that a relative lack of focus compared to the men’s and women’s titles is a good thing for these young players. They have room to grow and try out new things before starting to settle down and figure out what sort of player they are going to be. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that all of them are mature enough to handle any pressure that comes their way, and I’d hope that they have the right people around them to help. But still, it feels unnecessary for there to be media or national pressure at this stage in their career.


-          SophieG

Written by: SophieG

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