Mustafa Ege Sik is one of several players from Türkiye making waves on the Junior Tour’s 14 & Under circuit this year. Kick-starting his 2023 with a runner-up berth and a doubles title at the Development Championships on home soil, he has since notched up a string of notable results. He’s currently ranked in the Race to Monte-Carlo Top Ten, having been as high as #4 in April.
Amongst his other results are a run to the finals at the Soul Cup (Istanbul, Cat.2) and a quarterfinal showing at the Super Category KKDP in Stockholm. He was also a doubles champ in Portugal at the Super Category event in Maia. We caught up with Ege Sik and got some interesting insights into life on the tour for a junior player from a developing tennis country.
Thank you for speaking with us. When did you first start playing tennis?
Well, back in Türkiye when I was five. My parents played basketball at a sports club, so I started playing basketball too! They moved to another city in Türkiye because of work, they couldn’t find another basketball club, so I changed sports, and I went over to tennis!
That’s interesting! When did you first hear about the Tennis Europe Junior Tour?
I don’t remember exactly. I remember I played a national tournament and then when I was there, I saw Tennis Europe written everywhere on posters and banners…and that was my first time seeing anything about the tour.
What is this a 12 & Under tournament?
Yes, it was.
Oh great, so two years ago! So tell me, what are your impressions of the Junior Tour?
Well, it’s definitely very different to a national tournament. You meet people from other countries, you play much harder matches and you also get a lot of experience.
Having travelled so much now and played with a lot of people, whether that be in difficult singles matches or in doubles, what have you learnt?
First, I learnt English! (Laughs)
So, English is important?
So much! I have also been to so many countries in Europe. I remember Paris and going to the … tower.
The Eiffel Tower?
So you have had the opportunity to visit so many amazing places?
And did you go to a special school to learn English, or did you just pick it up as you went along?
I just picked it up. At first maybe I went to a school for a couple of months to learn, but I had no time to go to school.
Speaking of education in general, how do you combine learning, going to school, with all your tennis training and tournaments?
I take online lessons, mainly just in English, Maths and Science.
What do you enjoy the most?
Well, Maths is better… I don’t like Science, it’s so hard!
So when you travel to tournaments, is it normally with your coach?
No, my coaches can’t always come to tournaments with me. Other players from Türkiye have a coach, so we can travel together, but sometimes I will go without mine and travel with theirs (as a group).
Where, for example, have you been without your parents?
I went to Spain. But when I made it to the quarterfinals of one of the tournaments in Mallorca, my parents came from Türkiye to see me! And I also went to Irpin in Ukraine without them.
That all must’ve been difficult. You were 12, right?
The first time was difficult, yes.
Do you think it’s good to be able to travel alone sometimes?
Maybe sometimes it is, but other times you need your parents or your coach.
Understandable. Have there ever been any moments where you’ve thought “I’m really glad my parents are not here”?
No, not really. I’m (a) good (boy).
Who are your best friends on the tour?
I would say Kaan Isik Kosaner.
What are your favourite tournaments on the TEJT?
Les Petits As. And hopefully Monte-Carlo if I am able to go there (smiles). I made it to the quarterfinals in Stockholm, and that was so good for me, for Monte-Carlo.
So that’s your objective for now. Looking ahead, even as a professional one day, is there a country that you have never been to that you would like to visit?
The United Kingdom. And also, the USA. I hope to go to Indian Wells!
What things do you think could be improved on the TEJT?
I don’t know. I think everything is good. Nothing comes to mind.
So, you said one of your main goals for this year is to try to qualify for Monte-Carlo. What about beyond that?
I want to be in the ITF top 100 until I’m 16 and play some Junior grand slams.
And let’s get to know a bit more about you as a sportsperson. What are some of your strengths?
I think I have a good drop shot and serve.
And is there a particular surface you prefer to play on?
So apart from basketball and tennis, do you play any other sports?
Well actually, after basketball I played football, then I started tennis!
I guess you do your tennis training, but do you do any other sports/activities to complement that?
For three or four months I tried Muay Thai (combat boxing) but I lost interest.
Who are your tennis idols, men and women?
Now it’s Alcaraz, because he’s playing right now, but I would have to say Federer! I just loved his mentality and his body language on the court.
And what about when it comes to the women?
I think Iga Swiatek.
What is the city where you’ve played that you really loved?
I think Stockholm (KKDP). The atmosphere is so good it’s like you are playing on the ATP! I love the club. The centre court is nice, the other courts are very close.
Many players from Türkiye are doing well on the Junior Tour. As a developing tennis nation, how do you see the future of tennis in Türkiye?
Yes. Some Turkish players born in 2010 and 2011 have been playing very well. And we had some players do well at the Development Championships.
Yes! You were the runner up!
I lost to my friend, Kaan Isik Kosaner in the week 1 final.