The winners of the 2017 ‘Tennis Europe Junior Tour Players of the Year’ titles have been revealed. The award is presented to the four players that top the boys’ and girls’ 14 and 16 & Under rankings at the end of the season, plus a series of other winners selected for their achievements on the Tour throughout the year.
In addition to the coveted ‘Player of the Year’ title, this year’s four year-end #1 ranked players will also receive a special prize of a one-week stay at the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in southern France, to be taken during 2018.
Jack Pinnington-Jones becomes the first British player ever to end the season as 14 & Under #1, after a strong season in which he won three singles and four doubles titles, including gold at the European Junior Championships (alongside compatriot Joel Pierleoni), and was also runner-up at the Tennis Europe Junior Masters.
Pinnington-Jones thus goes one step further than Britain’s previous best performance by a 14 & Under boy, when Andy Murray ended the 2001 season in second position behind long-time rival Novak Djokovic. On hearing the news, Jack commented, “It feels great! I never thought that I would have been able to do this, but it’s an amazing achievement.”
The girls 14 & under title went to Russia’s Oksana Selekhmeteva. The dominant player of 2017, she spent most of the season ranked #1, compiling a 37-6 win/loss record in singles. Curiously she won just one 14 & Under title (the Category 1 event in Moscow), but she also claimed two Category 1 16 & Under titles in Italy, played on the Russian Winter Cups by HEAD team and won two medals at the European Junior Championships – gold in doubles and silver in singles.
Recent Tennis Europe Junior Masters champion Nini Gabriel Dica of Romania claims the Boys 16 & under title. Prior to winning the Masters, he claimed the silver medal at the European Junior Championships, as well as four other singles and two doubles titles.
“I feel very honoured,” Dica said. “I had an amazing year, and I want to thank my team, my family and everyone who supported me. Thanks for this award, and for all the great memories I have with the Tennis Europe Junior Tour!”
Another Junior Masters champion, Carole Monnet of France, is awarded the Girls’ 16 & Under Player of the Year title. Restricting her play to Category 1 events, Monnet was the dominant player on the 16 & Under circuit this year, losing just two of 24 matches and never losing before the final, claiming titles in Villneuve-les-Avignon and Barcelona en route to the finals in Reggio Calabria.
She has an inspiring story, telling Tennis Europe, “Performance has no limits. One year ago, I was in a wheelchair and today you announce that I am the Player of the Year: I am so happy! I’d like to thank all the clubs where I played, my partners, and Tennis Europe for this experience. It’s been a great season for me with the support of my coach Hervé Romain. Thanks everybody!”
In addition to the above Players of the Year awards, the Tennis Europe Junior Tour also recognises some other special achievements during the season...
Overseas Players of the Year
This title goes to the players from non-European nations that have made the biggest splash on the Tour throughout the year. Priska Madelyn Nugroho of Indonesia was the standout performer amongst the girls, ending the season in the 14 & under Top 10, and compiling an impressive 21-3 win/loss record in singles, winning Category 1 events in Hasselt and Velp. Her doubles performance was even more impressive, of which you can read more later...
Pedro Boscardin Dias of Brazil was the top performing overseas boy, ending the season ranked as the #16 14 & under player. His season included singles and doubles titles at the Category 1 event in Velp, and a singles final in Paris.
Doubles Team of the Year
The undisputed doubles partnership of the year is Priska Madelyn Nughoho (IND) and her partner Alexandra Eala of the Philippines. The pair won five doubles titles (including an impressive four 14 & Under Category 1 events, and 1 16 & Under tournament) and went unbeaten in 21 matches throughout their entire summer tour of Europe.
National Team of the Year
Spain – 14 & Under Boys
Ukraine – 14 & Under Girls
For the first time, two teams share the award. Both teams won Tennis Europe Winter Cups by HEAD and European Summer Cups titles, and both teams ended the season with 27-6 win/loss records. It’s worth mentioning that Daniel Rincon and Carlos Alcaraz Garfia competed at both events for Spain, while Lyubov Kostenko and Dasha Lopatetskaya formed the backbone of the Ukrainian team. They were joined by Marc Othman Ktiri and Kateryna Rublevska at the Winter Cups, and by Alejandro Correa Linares and Anastasiya Soboleva at the Summer Cups respectively.
In addition to the Players of the Year, the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy is also extending one-week invitations to the winners of the recent Tennis Europe Junior Masters. In the case of 16 & Under champions Carole Monnet and Nini Dica, this means a two-week stay at the pioneering facilities, while 14 & Under champions Diana Shnaider of Russia and Luca Nardi of Italy will also have the chance to join them.