This year’s ITF/Tennis Europe 16 & Under touring team recently took part in a 5-week tour of Italy and Tunisia. The stint began on 26th May with a training camp held at Circolo Tennis Foligno where the team of four girls - Iveta Daujotaite (LTU), Eleni Louka (CYP), Ksenia Yersh (BLR), Mariam Dalakishvili (GEO) - and four boys - Lukas Tomic (BIH), Andrej Andreevski (MKD), Nikoloz Davlianidze (GEO), Martin Borisiouk (BLR) were able to get to know each other and their coaches Kenan Malicbegovic (BIH) and Egor Semichin (MDA) before going on to compete at two high level Category 1 Tennis Europe tournaments in Italy and two ITF Grade 4 tournaments in Tunisia.
The tour began with the Tennis Europe 16 & Under Category 1 tournament that was held in Foligno, Italy where the team had some success. Mariam Dalakishvili played the semi-final of the girls’ singles event, losing to Carlota Martinez Cirez (ESP) 6-1 7-6(6). Eleni Louka also reached the semi-final and lost to Maria Camila Osorio Serrano (COL) 6-1 6-3. In the boys’ singles main draw, Martin Borisiouk reached the quarter-final where he lost to Alessio De Bernardis (ITA) 6-3 3-6 6-2. The girls dominated the doubles event, taking up all four final spots. The stronger team was Dalakishvili & Yersh who won against Louka & Daujotaite 3-6 6-3 11-9. In the boys' doubles Borisiouk & Davlianidze reached the semi-final but fell to the Italian team of De Bernardis & Tommaso Lippi 3-6 6-1 10-4.
The team then continued to the next Tennis Europe Category 1 event, the 52° Torneo dell' Avvenire, held in Milan, Italy. In the girl’s main draw, Yersh, Dalakishvili and Daujotaite all reached the second round, with Borisiouk also reaching the second round of the boys’ tournament.
After three weeks in Italy, the team moved to Tunisia for two ITF Grade 4 tournaments. First up was a tournament held in Kelibia. Mariam Dalakishvili was the most successful of the players, reaching the semi-final before losing to the eventual champion Dalila Said (EGY) 6-4 6-1. Said also accounted for Ksenia Yersh in the quarter finals. In the boys’ main draw Nikoloz Davilanidze reached the quarter-final and lost to De Carvalho Cardoso Alves (BRA) 6-2 6-0. The girls’ doubles event again saw the two teams meet each other, but this time in the semi-final. Dalakishvili & Yersh once agai came out on top, beating teammates Louka & Daujotaite 7-6(8) 6-1. In the doubles final Dalakishvili & Yersh once again came unstuck at the hands of Dalila Said, who teamed with Miranda Ramirez (USA) for a 1-6 6-3 10-6 victory.
The final ITF tournament was held in Mahdia, where Nikoloz Davlianidze posted his best result of the tour, reaching the semi-final before his run was ended by Mohamed Ali Bellalouna (TUN) 6-3 7-5. In the girls’ main draw Iveta Daujotaite reached the quarter-final, losing to Maria Camila Osorio Serrano (COL) 6-1 6-1. Dalakishvili & Yersh again reached the semi-final but lost a close match to Polish team Weronika Falkowska & Wiktoria Rutkowska, 3-6 6-2 10-6.
ITF/Tennis Europe Team coach Kenan Malicbegovic commented; "This year's members of the ITF/Tennis Europe Team have shown great team spirit, a high level of tennis and clear motivation to improve their game. The players have learned new skills and were open to discover new ideas. Together with my collegue Egor Semichin we shared our experience and knowledge, informing the players about hydration, rituals, doubles game tactics, and many other areas. We are sure that these five weeks will help the players to be even more successful in future".