GB qualify for Junior Davis Cup Finals to cap successful summer for junior Brits
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It’s been a successful summer for Great Britain’s leading junior players, who have been competing for their country across Europe over the last few weeks. With a number of standout performances, highlights have seen the U16 Boys team this week qualify for the 2019 Junior Davis Cup Finals, and Oxfordshire’s Matilda Mutavdzic win gold at July’s European Youth Olympic Festival.
The British junior squads are part of our National Age Group Programme. Team events such as the European Summer Cup, and individual tournaments like last month’s European Championships give our junior players the opportunity to compete against some of the best players in Europe in their age group, a valuable experience as part of their development along the Player Pathway.
Junior Davis Cup qualification secured at European Summer Cup
Great Britain’s U16 and U18 teams were among a total of 100 national teams that took part in the this year’s European Summer Cups. The qualifying events took place across 15 different venues, with teams battling for one of just eight spots at each age group finals. Three of Britain’s four teams progressed from their pools to this week’s finals, putting Britain among the leading four nations to have teams in the finals, with only France having greater representation.
The U16 European Summer Cups also serve as the regional qualifying competition for the Junior Davis & Fed Cup Finals, which take place in the USA at the end of September. Having topped their qualifying pool at Mannheim in Germany, Great Britain’s team of Jack Pinnington-Jones, Derrick Chen & Lui Maxted travelled to Le Touquet in France. The trio all contributed in seeing off the challenge of Greece with a 3-0 win, before falling to eventual winners France in the semi-finals.
Pinnington-Jones and Maxted had gone into the event on the back of a successful European Championships, which saw them finish runners-up in the doubles and Pinnington-Jones reach the semi-finals of the singles.
Speaking after the team’s fourth place finish in France, Chris Wilkinson, LTA National Age Group Coach and Team Captain for the U16 Boys team said: “It is great experience for the players to compete in these events. We are certainly knocking on the door with the best players and teams in the world, and these experiences will stay in the memories of the players throughout their tennis careers and put them in good stead for the future.”
The fourth place finish of the U16 Boys was matched by the U18 Girls team of Sonay Kartal, Erin Richardson & Esther Adeshina at Granville where they beat second seeds Russia to reach the semi-finals. The U18 Boys team of Felix Gill, Toby Samuel & Oscar Weightman finished sixth in their finals in La Rochelle.
The U14 European Summer Cups took place at the beginning of July, with the Boys team of Luca Pow, Henry Searle and Viktor Frydrych topping their qualifying group in Murcia, Spain. That earned them a place in the final, where they won bronze by beating Bulgaria in the play-offs.
At U12 level, teams compete in the Tennis Europe Nations Challenge. Great Britain’s U12 Girls team of Hephzibah Oluwadare, Mingge Xu and Lois Newberry won their qualifying event in Haren in the Netherlands. That earned them a place in the final where they won bronze by beating Bulgaria in the play offs.
Gold for Mutadvzic at European Youth Olympic Festival
Great Britain’s Matilda Mutadvzic claimed the tennis gold medal at the European Youth Olympic Festival in Baku, Azerbaijan at the end of July – Britain’s first ever tennis medal at the biannual competition since its inception in 1991.
The 15-year-old Oxfordshire player defeatedt Russian Maria Sholokhova 6-1, 6-1 in the final to help Team GB finish second in the overall medal table.
Speaking to the TeamGB website after the match, Mutadvzic said “It was exhilarating at the end and I was so happy. It all came together at the right time. I was trying not to be nervous out there. I know it’s difficult, but I focused on my own game and hoped for the best.I believed in myself from the first point, but I think the turning point was when I broke for 4-1 in the first.”
Doubles success at European Junior Championships
Great Britain were represented by a squad of 12 players at July’s European Junior Championships, staged across venues in Czech Republic, Russia and Switzerland. The event features the best players from across the continent in three ages groups, and it is a competition that the likes of Simona Halep, Steffi Graf and Novak Djokovic have won in the past.
In the singles competition, Britain’s lead performer was Jack Pinnington-Jones, who put in a series of impressive performance to reach the U16 semi-finals, including a defeat of Russia’s second seed Stefan Popovic.
Great Britain went once stage further in the doubles. In the U16 Boys, Pinnington-Jones partnered Lui Maxted to beat the top seeded Russian pair to reach the final. Despite taking the first set with the loss of just one game, the British duo missed out on the title agonisingly losing a deciding tiebreak 11-9.
Also finishing runners-up in their doubles event was the U14 Girls pair of Ranah Stoiber & Eva Shaw. Coming in to the tournament seeded 16, they pushed their Russian opponents all the way, taking the second set before missing out 10-4 in the tiebreak.