The ITF/Tennis Europe 14 & Under Development Championships took place in Antalya, Turkey from 6-17 March. The event was hosted by the Turkish Tennis Federation and attracted players from Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Cyprus, FYR Macedonia, Georgia, Iceland, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro and Turkey. The Championships consisted of a one-day training camp followed by two back-to-back Category 2 tournaments. A second day of training had been planned for between the tournaments but unfortunately had to be cancelled due to rain.
Seeded 8th in Week 1 and 3rd in Week 2, Danilo Raicevic of Montenegro dominated both boys’ events. However, both finals turned out to be extended three set battles. Raicevic came back from the edge of defeat to win the first final 2-6 7-6 (2) 7-5 against home player Togan Tokac. The second victory came after a second set lapse, as the Montengrin #1 fought back to beat Tsotne Dzimistarishvili of Georgia 6-3 1-6 6-4 in the final. Nevertheless, the events proved to be a good boost for Dzimistarishvili, who climbed from 5th to 3rd in the Race to the Masters rankings. Raicevic is currently 18th in the standings.
There was an all Turkish girls’ final in the first week with Ozlem Uslu taking the title from compatriot Eda Arli 6-2 6-4. Uslu almost made it a clean sweep, with another good performance in the second week before going down to Arina Gamretkaia of Moldova in the final, 7-5 6-3.
Gamretkaia had enjoyed a successful first week with a third placed finish in the singles while claiming the doubles title with compatriot Cristina Sosnovschi, beating Latvian pairing Amelja Matjunina & Eva Zazdravniha 6-2 7-6 (5) in the final. The Latvian pair would also claim third place in the second week while Tamari Gagoshidze & Nino Natsvlishvili of Georgia beat Sara Mikaca & Katerina Stevic of Bosnia and Herzogovina 7-6 (1) 6-1 to take the title.
The boy’s doubles events took a familiar theme over the two events. Both 3/4 place matches went the way of Bogdan Boclinca & Maxim Cazac (MDA) over singles winner Raicevic and his partner Aleksa Krivokapic (MNE). Both finals saw Vilius Gaubas & Ainius Sabaliauskas (LTU) beat Constantinos Koshis & Photos Photiades (CYP); the first a relatively straightforward 7-6 (5) 6-2 encounter but the second a thrilling 3-6 6-4 13-11 epic.
The unique format of the competition assured that all participants were able to play each day throughout both events, providing all the players with valuable tournament experience.
ITF/Tennis Europe Development Officer Hrvoje Zmajic commented, “Once again the Development Championships have seen some great tennis and have provided these players with the chance to compete at high quality international events. The conditions on site are excellent for the players and I’d like to thank the Turkish Tennis Federation for their readiness to host the tournaments.”
The ITF/Tennis Europe Development Championships were first held in 1996 and were introduced to give leading players from developing tennis nations the opportunity to travel to and compete at back-to-back events against players of a similar standard. Several of today’s top professionals, including players such as Victoria Azarenka, Simona Halep and Grigor Dimitrov, have benefitted from playing the event in the past.
Full draws and results from the tournaments can be found at the links to the right-hand side of this page.