One of the Tennis Europe Junior Tour's oldest and most prestigious tournaments is celebrating its 40th year in 2022. Arguably the world’s most coveted 14 & Under title, Les Petits As, is the second ‘Super Category’ event of the season and got underway this week with a massive social media campaign to promote its landmark edition, featuring a host of past stars offering messages of encouragement and support.
The tournament’s Instagram account is awash with videos of and messages from past players, including Martina Hingis, Rafa Nadal and Maria Sakkari as well as some more recent junior champs including Maxim Mrva (CZE, 2021), Mathilde Ngijol Carré (FRA, 2021) and Viktor Lilov (USA, 2018).
The field this year is as strong as ever, featuring almost all Top 10 boys’ and girls’ players. Junior Tour number ones Flynn Thomas (SUI) and recent Khimki champ Alena Kovackova (CZE) will go in as favourites on paper. Fellow Czech and last year’s Junior Masters champion Laura Samsonova is the girls’ #2 seed.
Other players hoping to make inroads include Julia Stusek (GER), who was unable to take up her spot at the Junior Masters, and Polina Kuharenko (BLR), fifth seed and doubles champ in Khimki who is seeking to improve on her Round 3 showing in 2021. Khimki runner-up Alisa Oktiabreva, has been climbing up the rankings and could be a tough hurdle were any of the top seeds to encounter the Russian before the semis.
In the boys’ draw, Thijs Boogard (NED), Ivan Ivanov (BUL) and Niels McDonald (GER) round out the top boys’ names. Along with Thomas, they will all be hoping to improve on their results from the Christmas Cup, especially as the champ, Nikita Bilozertsev (UKR), will not be playing in Tarbes. Romanian Yannick Alexandrescou, a Khmiki quarterfinalist and the 2021 Overseas Player of the Year, Jamie MacKenzie (NZL) are other strong contenders. Savva Rybkin (RUS) has crept into the draw into the last direct acceptance spot, great news for the recent 12&U Festival champion.
Speaking of which, the 12&U Festival girls’ champion Veronika Sekerkova (CZE) has progressed through the qualifying draw and will face Spain’s Sorana Matis in the first round. To follow all the results from the qualifying draw over the weekend and main draws from Monday onwards, go to the main tournament page.
There will be plenty more to come during the week, both on and off court, all of which will be featured across Tennis Europe's social media platforms: Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. For live video, scores and more, go to the Les Petits As match centre: https://www.lespetitsas.com/match-center/