Tennis Europe, the third biggest tennis government body has announced the season-ending U14 and U16 junior rankings, providing us with the opportunity to learn more about the upcoming stars that should make their first steps on the professional Tour in a few years.
The youngsters had a chance to compete in 372 tournaments held across 46 countries and there are almost 5000 players from 81 countries in four different ranking groups. If we take a look at the Top 20 lists from U14 and 16 boys and girls categories, there are 27 different countries represented and 13 of those 80 players have come from the Czech Republic and eight of those have been ranked in the Top 10.
Russia, Serbia and Ukraine are well-represented too and we should see more high-quality players from already established tennis nations from Eastern Europe in the next five or six years. The Croat Mili Poljicak has topped the U14 boys' ranking charts ahead of Luca Van Assche and Konstantin Zhzhenov after winning four doubles and one singles title. The Bulgarian Petr Nesterov was the player to beat in the U16 boys' category, finishing ahead of Daniel Linkuns‐Morozovs and Stefan Popovic, conquering four singles and one doubles title to collect 80 points more than his rivals.
The 13-year-old Linda Noskova has been on fire in 2018, reaching the semi-final in her first ITF junior event and entering Les Petits As Mondial Lacoste final back in January. She won six titles this year to distance herself from Diana Shnaider and Aliona Falei, setting her eyes on even bigger goals in 2019.
In the end, the Croat Antonia Ruzic has managed to close the season as the leading U16 player, just 10 points ahead of her compatriot Tara Wurth! Antonia claimed six titles from seven titles, including Tennis Europe Junior Masters where she beat Wurth in a close final to finish her season on a high note. Top ranked players of the Tennis Europe season-ending U14 and U16 standings:
Tennis Europe Chief Executive Officer Thomas Hammerl commented, “We’d like to congratulate each and every player that took part in the Tennis Europe Junior Tour this year. Every player has a different goal, but for many our circuits represent the first step on the path to one day becoming a professional and competing on ATP/WTA Tours and at the Grand Slams. The Tour continues to grow and 2019 will be no exception, with a host of new features, tournaments, and learning tools for player development coming soon.”