01 Aug 2010 – Prostejov, Czech Republic
The 20th World Junior Tennis Finals will be held this week on the clay courts of TK Prostejov in the Czech Republic. For the twelfth consecutive year the club will host the competition for boys and girls aged 14 & under.
16 boys’ and 16 girls’ teams, from a total of 23 countries, have fought their way through tough regional qualifying competitions for the chance to compete in the finals. This year saw a record 176 teams from 93 nations competing in the 4 qualifying events.
The event begins with a round-robin competition, teams being divided into four groups of four teams. The winner of each group qualifies for the knockout semi-finals, while the remaining nations go into play-offs and fight for position.
The boys event will see new winners crowned as last year’s champions, Spain, failed to qualify for this year’s Finals. France, winners of this year’s European Summer Cup, are installed as the competition favourites. 2008 Champions, USA, are certainly strong contenders for this year’s title whilst the 2007 Champions, Australia, are also in the running and will go into the competition feeling confident having won their regional qualifying event earlier this year.
In the girls’ event, defending Champions, USA, will look to claim a record fourth consecutive title. Asian champions, China, will look to put themselves on the map with their first World Junior Tennis Title. However, they will have to battle past fierce competition from a strong Russian team, who will look to reclaim a title they haven’t won since winning back-to-back titles in 1999 and 2000, as well as a strong France team.
Past competitors in this competition include Rafael Nadal, Andy Roddick, Kim Clijsters and Amelie Mauresmo. All players this week will be hoping to emulate their sporting heroes and take their first steps along the road to become champions.