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Great Britain's squad for the 2016 European Deaf Tennis Championships

GB end European Deaf Tennis Championships with six medals


Esah Hayat and Phoebe Suthers became junior mixed doubles champions as Great Britain finished the 13th European Deaf Tennis Championships and 1st European Deaf Tennis Junior Championships in Slovenia with one gold medal, three silver medals and two bronze medals.

Hayat and Suthers battled back from a set and 4-1 down in the junior mixed doubles final against Israel’s Gabriel Lutsky and Rotem Ashkenazy to force a deciding match tie-break. After sharing the first 12 points of the match tie-break equally with their opponents, Hayat and Suthers eventually gained the breakthrough to wrap up a 3-6, 7-5, (10-8) victory.

Hayat, boys’ singles gold medallist at the World Championships in 2015, completed his first European Championships with three medals in total after beating Russia’s Jaroslaw Revin 6-2, 6-1 in the boys’ singles bronze medal match.

Phoebe Suthers, girls’ singles bronze medallist at last year’s World Championships, went one better in Portoroz as she won the silver medal.

Suthers faced tough opposition from Russia’s Polina Smirnova, who had already won the senior women’s singles European title after beating the reigning champion and top seed en route to winning that title.  Smirnova added the girls’ singles title with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Suthers.

Hayat’s third medal came in the boys’ doubles as he and Toby Clifton completed their two round-robin matches with one won and one loss. Clifton and Hayat were denied the gold medal by Russian duo Roman Malyshev and Revin, who claimed the deciding round-robin contest 7-6(3), 6-3.

Toby Clifton and brother Jack Clifton both finished the European Championships with medals after Jack partnered Lewis Fletcher to win the men’s doubles bronze medal on the penultimate day of competition.

Freya Barry and Suthers won the silver medal in the girls’ doubles, too. Barry and Suthers also completed the girls’ doubles one win and one loss from their two round-robin matches as Russia’s Popova and Smirnova took the deciding contest 6-3, 6-2.

“We are delighted by the performances of our Great Britain squad at the European Championships and to come back with six medals isa tremendous achievement,” said Geraint Richards, the Tennis Foundation’s Head of Disability Player Performance. “From Jack and Lewis, bettering their seeding to win the men’s doubles bronze medal through to Freya winning her first international medal on her Great Britain debut, we are very proud of them all and we have much to look forward as we work towards future championships and the 2017 Deaflympics.”

“This has been a very memorable European Championships with so many promising performances for the future,” added Catherine Fletcher, the Tennis Foundation’s National Deaf Tennis Coach. “This has been the first European Championships at which I haven’t been a player and after winning mixed doubles bronze with Lewis in 2012 it has been great to see our senior players win bronze in the men's doubles and watch and study the growth of all our GB players alongside the emergence of other players from different countries.
"The performances of our junior players have been very exciting and they have all acquitted themselves admirably and gained invaluable experience. We can look forward to next year’s Deaflympics with a solid foundation and I’m sure we will inspire many more people to take up the sport so they can enjoy playing it with friends and family or even end up representing their country!”

European Championships Official Facebook Page


Jack Clifton and Lewis Fletcher secured Great Britain the men’s doubles bronze medal on the penultimate day of the European Deaf Tennis Championships as Phoebe Suthers booked her place in the girls’ singles final.

Esah Hayat will play for the boys’ singles bronze medal on Saturday’s last scheduled day of competition while partnering Suthers in the mixed doubles final. And there will be more medals on offer as Toby Clifton and Hayat and Freya Barry and Suthers contest their remaining round-robin matches in the boy’s and girls’ doubles.

Jack Clifton and Fletcher bounced back from dropping their men’s doubles semi to French top seeds Mikael Laurent and Vincent Novelli 6-3, 6-2. The British fourth seeds beat Austrian third seeds Robert Gravogl and Mario Kargl 6-4, 6-3 in the bronze medal play-off.

Valerie Copenhagen and Suthers put up a fine effort in their bid to clinch a medal in the women’s doubles. However, after slipping to a 6-0, 6-2 semi-final loss to Spanish top seeds Beatriz and Raquel Villamandos-Lorenzo, Copenhagen and Suthers could not overcome Lucie Boulestreau and Marine Beney as the French duo won the bronze medal play-off 6-2, 6-4.

Earlier in the day World Championships girls’ singles bronze medallist Suthers dominated her semi-final against Russia’s Ekaterina Popova to ease to a 6-0, 6-1 victory. Suthers will face another Russian opponent in Polina Smirnova in the final.

World Championships boys’ singles gold medallist Hayat came up against a very strong Czech player Jaroslav Smedek in his semi-final in Slovenia, Smedek winning 6-3, 6-2. Hayat will now play Iaroslav Revin of Russia as the top two seeded players meet in the bronze medal play-off.


Esah Hayat and Phoebe Suthers guaranteed Great Britain a gold or silver medal in the junior mixed doubles as the European Deaf Junior Tennis Championships again took centre stage on a rain-hit day in Slovenia.

The top seeded Brits edged a thrilling roller coaster of a semi-final against Russian duo Roman Malyshev and Polina Smirnova 6-0, 1-6, (11-9) after a deciding match tie-break to book their place in the final.

Hayat and Suthers will now play Israel's Gabriel Lutsky and Rotem Ashkenazy for the gold medal.

Hayat and Suthers are also in the hunt for the gold medals in the boys’ doubles and girls’ doubles with partners Toby Clifton and Freya Barry after winning the first of their respective round-robin doubles matches.

Esah Hayat and Toby Clifton recovered from 5-2 down in the first set of their opening men’s doubles contest against Turkey’s Mahmut Can Aydin and Okan Ergolu before winning 7-5, 6-0. They will now play Russia’s Malyshev and Iaroslav Revin

Suthers and Freya Barry gained a comfortable 6-0, 6-1 win over Turkey’s Beste Mursitoglu and Bercem Kol in the first of their two girls’ doubles round-robin matches. They will also now play Russian opposition when they take on Ekaterina Popova and Smirnova

Earlier in the day Toby Clifton and Barry bowed out of the boys’ and girls’ singles.  Clifton lost out to Israel’s Gabriel Lutsky  6-1. 6-1, while Barry saw her single challenge come to an end in a 6-0, 6-0 loss to Smirnova.

All Thursday’s junior matches were played indoors after heavy rain in Portoroz meant that the men’s and women’s doubles semi-finals concerning Great Britain partnerships were postponed until Friday.


Esah Hayat and Phoebe Suthers moved into the boys’ singles and girls’ singles semi-finals without losing a game as the start of the European Deaf Junior Tennis Championships took centre stage on Wednesday in Slovenia.

Hayat will play the Czech Republic’s Jaroslav Smedek for a place in the final in Portoroz after racing Mahmut Can Aydin of Turkey 6-0, 6-0.

Suthers defeated Sarah Garcia of Germany 6-0, 6-0. Suthers will now play Ekaterina Popova of Russia in her bid to reach the final of the girls’ singes.

Toby Clifton and Freya Barry lost out to Israel’s Rotem Azhkenazy and Gabriel Lutsky 6-0, 6-2 in their opening match in the junior mixed doubles and they will now play Lutsky and Polina Smirnova of Russia, respectively, when they begin their singles challenges on Thursday.

Toby Clifton and Hayat and Barry and Suthers also begin their boys’ doubles and girls’ doubles challenges on Thursday. Top seeds Hayat and Suthers will also begin their mixed doubles campaign against Russia’s Smirnova and Roman Malyshev.

Thursday will be a busy day for the Brits as Valerie Copenhagen and Suthers also play their women’s doubles semi-final, while Jack Clifton and Lewis Fletcher contest the men’s doubles semi-finals.


Jack Clifton and Lewis Fletcher have booked their places in the men’s doubles semi-finals. Meanwhile, Valerie Copenhagen and Phoebe Suthers reached the women’s doubles semi-finals as both Great Britain partnerships earned themselves the opportunity to play for a medal in Portoroz.

Both British duos will play top seeded opposition for a place in the finals of their respective events. Fourth seeds Clifton and Fletcher will meet French top seeds Mikael Lauren and Vincent Novelli in the last four of the men’s doubles after defeating Russia’s Roman Malyshev and Egor Panyushkin 6-3, 6-4.

Copenhagen and Suthers will face Spanish sisters Beatriz and Raquel Vilamandos-Lorenzo after comfortably negotiating their opening match against Turkey’s Bercem Kol and Beste Mursitoglu 6-0, 6-0.

However, Tuesday’s fourth day of play in Slovenia saw British hopes come to an end against seeded German opposition in the mixed doubles

Fletcher and Suthers lost their quarter-final 6-1, 6-0 to top seeds Heike Albrecht and Urs Breitenberger, while Copenhagen and Clifton slipped to a 6-2, 6-2 loss to third seeds Sebastian Schaeffer and Verena Fleckenstein.

Wednesday‘s fifth day of competition sees the start of the European Deaf Junior Tennis Championships.

Great Britain’s World Championships boys’ singles gold medallist Esah Hayat is top seed for the boys’ singles in Portoroz. Hayat begins his boys’ singles challenge in Slovenia against Turkey’s Mahumt Can Aydin, while teammate Toby Clifton is fourth seed.

Phoebe Suthers, girls’ singles bronze medallist at the World Championships in Nottingham last year, is second seed in Slovenia. Suthers begins her challenge against Germany’s Sarah Garcia. Freya Barry will make her Great Britain international debut against Russia’s Polina Smirnova.

Hayat and Toby Clifton are top seeds for the boys’ doubles round-robin, while Hayat and Suthers are top seeds for the junior mixed doubles. Toby Clifton and Freya Barry will be the first Brits in junior mixed doubles action on Wednesday.


Great Britain’s deaf tennis squad will concentrate on the doubles events at the 1st European Deaf Tennis Junior Championships after Phoebe Suthers and Valerie Copenhagen made it to the second round of the women’s singles in Slovenia.

Suthers and Copenhagen emulated their achievements at the World Championships in Nottingham in 2016 as they made it to the second round of the women’s singles. Suthers took under an hour to complete a 6-0, 6-0 win over Turkey’s Beste Mursitoglu in her opening match before bowing out to Vasiliki Kalogeropoulou of Greece 6-2, 7-6(3).

Copenhagen beat Russia’s Ekaterina Popova 6-2, 6-1 to reach the second round of a major international event for the second time. But she also bowed out on Monday to German top seed and reigning European Champion Heike Albrecht 6-0, 6-0.

Copenhagen and Suthers will now pair up for the first round of the women’s doubles on Tuesday when they take on Turkey’s Bercem Kol and Mursitoglu.

Clifton and Fletcher also begin their men’s doubles campaign on Tuesday when the fourth seeds face Russians Egor Panyushkin and Roman Malyshev.


Lewis Fletcher and Jack Clifton secured their first match wins of the 2016 European Championships when they partnered Phoebe Suthers and Valerie Copenhagen, respectively, to reach the quarter-finals of the mixed doubles.

Fletcher and Suthers beat Russian duo Anastasiya Grin and Roman Malyshev 6-0, 6-1 to book a place in the last eight against German top seeds Heike Albrecht and Urs Breitenberger.

Clifton and Copenhagen also eased past Turkey’s Asuman Saki and Ismail Hakki Yilmaz 6-0, 6-0 and they will also now play German opponents when they face third seeds Verena Fleckenstetin Sebastian Schaeffer.


A tough opening day for Great Britain’s men’s singles players saw Jack Clifton bow out 6-1, 6-1 to German sixth seed Sebastian Schaeffer. Esah Hayat also slipped to a 6-1, 6-1 loss to eighth seed Hans Toedter of Germany. Meanwhile, Lewis Fletcher lost out to Slovenian home favourite Marino Kegl 6-3 6-2. All three Brits now look ahead to doubles campaigns.

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