Great Britain’s junior teams battle hard at ITF World Junior Tennis Finals in Czech Republic
• 3 MINUTE READ
Great Britian’s boys and girls 14U teams recently competed in the 2023 ITF World Junior Tennis Finals in Czech Republic – with the boys’ team finishing the week in seventh.
One of the biggest events in the junior calendar – the ITF World Junior Championships brings together the best 14U teams in the world for a one-week competition to eventually crown the world champions.
The British boys’ team – including Les Petit As and 14U Wimbledon champion, Mark Ceban, Rhys Lawlor and Leo Wright – booked their place in the knock-out stages after finishing top of Group 4 in the opening round with 3-0 victories over Slovakia and Peru.
In the quarter-finals they met top seeds France in what proved to be a difficult match-up. Despite Lawlor’s opening win against Jules Rimbaus 6-2, 7-6, and Ceban leading by a set in the second singles rubber, the French team went on to seal the tie in the deciding doubles match.
Having exited the main draw, the Brits were placed into the fifth to eighth place play-offs, where again, they narrowly lost to Turkey in two final set match tie-breaks.
With seventh place on the line, Great Britain finished the week on a high with a 2-1 win over Brazil, thanks to a strong performance from Ceban, as well as Lawlor and Wright in the doubles.
“We came in as one of the form teams but relatively inexperienced on clay, so it’s been a great test for us,” said Richard Plews, National Age Group Coach at the LTA. “They’ve all gained invaluable experience this week and will all feel like they’ve improved as players.
“The World Championships is such a unique opportunity to play against the South American, North American and Asian teams and compete against the best juniors in the world. It’s a real test playing for your nation in a World Championships and in the qualifiers, which are always tough for us being in Europe.”
Great Britain’s girls’ team entered off the back of a fourth place finish at the Tennis Europe Summer Cup, with Hollie Smart and Edie Griffiths leading the charge.
The Brits went out in the opening group stages despite a strong 2-1 win over Czech Republic in their first match – thanks to a dominant 6-2, 6-1 win for Smart against Sara Oliveriusova and a 7-6(2), 7-6(2) victory for Smart and Griffths in the doubles over Jana Kovackova and Lucie Slamenikova.
However, two narrow defeats in tough matches against USA and Slovakia meant that the Brits exited before the knock-out draw.
Both teams were supported by the LTA Performance team and coaches during the event, with many of the players currently on the National Age Group Programme and through our National Academies as part of our Performance Player Pathway to help juniors become the best players they can be.