The Nike Junior International returned to the USN Bolton Arena from 15th –22th January, as a host of top 14 & Under international players converged on the North-West.
The Grade 1 Tennis Europe 14 & Under event has attracted a very strong field of rising stars from across the globe since the inaugural event as Teen Tennis in 1995. A number of previous players have gone on to reach the world’s top 10 including Eugenie Bouchard, Caroline Wozniacki, Justine Henin, Kim Clijsters, Ursula Radwanska, Lucie Safarova, Andy Murray, Marcus Baghdatis, and Tomas Berdych. The event has also seen other exciting young players such as Laura Robson, and Stefan Kozlov.
This year, the USN Bolton Arena welcomed players from over 20 countries, from as far away as Canada, Japan, and USA. There was also a strong contingent of French, and Spanish players attending the tournament in the North-West.
The boy’s list was headed up by Croatian number 1 Borna Devald, with French number 1 Harold Mayot the second highest ranked player in action. Whilst the highest ranked Brit, Ben Heynold, was looking to follow in the footsteps of Andy Murray, who won the event in 2001, at the time becoming the 3rd British player to win the event.
The girl’s list was headed up by 13 year old Japanese stalwart Himari Sato, who was top seed and runner-up at the prestigious Orange Bowl just over 12 months ago, an event often referred to as the unofficial world championships. The closest rivals to Sato, who returned to Bolton having competed in the 2015 event, were the Finnish girl Ella Haavisto, and China’s Qinwen Zheng.
Richard Joyner, Tournament Director, said of the tournament ‘This event is steeped in history, with a seriously good roll of honour, and it [was a] genuinely is a great chance to see some of the stars of the future. The number of players who have gone on to reach the world’s top 10, and win Grand Slam titles as professional players speaks for itself’
After a packed week of fantastic tennis, France’s Mayot beat Croatia’s Devald to win the boys’ 14 & Under Singles competition before going on to win the Doubles tournament alongside fellow Frenchman Lilian Marmousez. Similarly, in the girls’ tournaments USA’s Alexa Noel won both the Singles and Doubles Competitions, winning the latter alongside Vanessa Ong. Great Britain was particularly successful in the Girls Singles competition, with Emma Raducanu, Holly Fischer and Kylie Bilcher all reaching the quarter final.