The Player of the Year powered by Polar award is given to three best-performing European players in the 14 and 16 & Under age categories of the Tennis Europe Junior Tour according to the final Race to Junior Masters ranking of the season. The #1 player in each group receives a state of the art Polar RC3 GPS computerised training wrist watch, and all of the winners receive a diploma.
Over the years, the award has proven to be a reliable indicator of future success, with former recipients including many of today’s top players, including stars such as Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Marin Cilic, Gael Monfils, Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin.
The 2014 winners are listed below:
Boys 14 & Under
1. Tomas Jirousek (CZE)
Runner-up at the European Junior Championships, Jirousek racked up three singles and three doubles titles from his 14 events during the season and helped his country reach the final rounds of both the Winter and Summer Cups. He becomes the first Czech 14&U boy to end the season at #1 since Dusan Lojda in 2002.
2. Alen Avidzba (RUS)
Avidzba started the season strongly, winning the Category 1 Khimki tournament, and was incredibly consistent after that, reaching the final of 5 of his 6 other tournaments, including both the Winter and Summer Cups.
3. Rudolf Molleker (GER)
European Champion Molleker won four events, and led his country to sweep the team titles for the first time in over 20 years. He also reached the final of both 16 & Under events he played, and won the doubles silver medal at the European Championships.
Girls 14 & Under
1. Anastasia Potapova (RUS)
Heading a first-ever all-Russian list of players of the year, European Champion Potapova was the clear #1 player of the season. She won 6 singles and 5 doubles titles, including the Junior Masters, Winter Cups and three other Category 1 titles, including her first 16 & Under tournament win (Renningen/Rutesheim). Not bad for a player that will still be eligible to play 14 & Under events in 2015!
2. Olesya Pervushina (RUS)
With a 34-5 win/loss record, Pervushina’s impressive season included back-to-back Category 1 titles at Stockholm and Tim Essonne, gold (doubles) and silver (singles) medals at the European Championships, playing on Russia’s winning Winter Cups team and winning the only 16 & Under event in which she played; in singles and doubles.
3. Tatiana Makarova (RUS)
Having also featured on the formidable winning Russian Winter Cups team, Makarova went on to win four singles titles (including the 16&U Barcelona event) as well as proving to be a force in doubles, with an additional four titles.
Boys 16 & Under
1. Mate Valkusz (HUN)
Valkusz becomes the first boy ever to claim the 16 & Under Player of the Year title in successive seasons, and was also a 14&U Player of the Year in 2012. He ended the season strongly with a win at the Category 1 Warsaw event, followed by the successful defence of his Junior Masters title. He also helped his country to the final rounds of both the Winter and Summer Cups and claimed a bronze medal at the European Junior Championships.
2. Bojan Jankulovski (MKD)
The first Macedonian player ever to be named as a Player of the Year, Jankulovski won more titles than anyone else – 5 in total – headed by the Category 1 Dema Cup. A runner-up at the Junior Masters, he also reached the quarter finals of the European Junior Championships.
3. Maxim Tybar (BLR)
Tybar has a particularly strong summer, winning three singles titles (including the Category 1 Barcelona event) and qualifying for the Junior Masters. He led his country to the final rounds of the Winter Cups and won two additional doubles titles.
Girls 16 & Under
1. Kristina Miletic (SRB) / Eva Marie Voracek (GER)
For the first time ever, we have two players tied on points and sharing first position as Players of the Year. Miletic becomes the first Serbian girl to end the season as 16&U #1 after a consistent season in which she won three singles titles, including the Junior Masters, as well as two doubles events. Voracek posted similar stats, also winning three singles and two doubles titles. The pair met just once in 2014 - in their very last match of the season, when a poorly Voracek was forced to retire during the Junior Masters final.
3. Csenge Furak (HUN)
Furak ended the season strongly, winning the Category 1 Warsaw event and qualifying for the Junior Masters, where she claimed the bronze medal. She also won an additional two doubles titles early in the season.
Congratulations to all!