The ITF/Tennis Europe 16 & Under Touring Team players have returned home after a month full of training sessions and tournaments under the guidance of ITF coaches Olha Khaniukova (UKR) and Aleksander Jürgens (EST). While some went back with trophies in their bags, all returned with something just as valuable: new friendships and unforgettable memories.
The Touring Teams, financed by the Grand Slam Player Development Programme, represent one of the most significant European Assistance projects and have produced impressive results from the beginning. Every year, two teams of 14 & Under and 16 & Under European players have the opportunity to train with ITF coaches and travel to a number of top ITF and Tennis Europe events.
This year, the Team consisted of three boys - Dimitar Kisimov (BUL), Andreas Messis (GRE) and Thilo Behrmann (AUT) - and four girls: Masa Jankovic (SRB), Polina Kuznietsova (UKR), Kamilla Cernousova (LAT) and Nina Andronicou (CYP). The players are all from development Tier 1, 2 or 3 nations and were selected by their 16 & Under ranking.
Here’s how the schedule looked like for the 16 & Under team this year:
- Masa Jankovic (SRB) won the singles titles in Banja Luka (BIH) and in Ioannina (GRE). At the same events, she paired up with Polina Kuznietsova (UKR) and together they claimed the doubles titles.
- Thilo Behrmann (AUT) made a great team with Dimitar Kisimov (BUL) and won the doubles competition in Banja Luka; Behrmann also won both singles & doubles in Doboj (BIH) – J30.
- Starting from the qualifying round, Polina Kuznietsova (UKR) reached the final in Doboj against home favourite and second seed Anastasija Ignjatic 2-6 6-4 3-6.
- Andreas Messis (GRE) played a three set singles final in Greece against Italian Vito Antonio Darderi; he also reached three doubles semifinals.
- Kamilla Cernousova (LAT) reached the semifinals in Banja Luka and played the doubles final with Nina Andronicou (CYP) in Greece.
Taking part in the ITF/Tennis Europe Touring Team can play an important role in a player’s development, affording them new opportunities and experiences. Several current top players, including Grigor Dimitrov and Jelena Ostapenko, benefitted from this experience during their junior careers.