The African 14 & Under ITF/GSDF team completed a successful five-week trip to Europe playing the Tennis Europe 14 & Under circuit.
Egyptian player Laila El Nimr proved to be the star of the team winning the girls’ singles finals at the Balle Mimosa event in Nantes, the third tournament on the tour. She reached the finals without dropping a set and beat the eighth seed Sayo Ito, of Japan, 62 61. El Nimr then partnered compatriot and teammate Sara Ismail to reach the girls’ doubles semifinals
where they were defeated by the strong Colombian pairing of Emiliano Arango and Sofia Munera Sanchez 63 16 119.
Lee Barnard, of South Africa, was in the other girls’ doubles semifinal in Nantes, teamed with her twin sister Zani who, although not on the African team, was also competing in Nantes. The fourth seeded pair lost to No. 2 seeds and eventual winners Jia Qi Ren, of China and Komola Umarova, of Uzbekistan 64 62.
Lee also won the BNP Paribas Fair Play Award in Paris.
The best boys’ performances were by South African Richard Thongoana, who had a clear run to the finals of the the singles consolation event in Hasselt, where he beat Belgian player Theo Vandeweghe 62 61. He also reached the boys’ doubles semifinals in Velp, playing with Vorachon Rakpuangchon, of Thailand. Madagascan Andritoavina Ratsimandresy also put in a good performance to reach the finals of the boys' consolation in Velp losing to wildcard player Daisuke Sumizawa, of Japan 61 64.
The African team was one of three ITF/GSDF funded touring teams competing in five Young Stars tournaments, part of the Tennis Europe 14 & Under circuit. The teams comprise the best players in the Under 14 age category and are selected through regional qualifying competitions.
Some of the African players had also been selected to represent their country and joined their national teams in Prostejov, Czech Republic to participate in the World Junior Tennis finals - Sara Ismail and Laila El Nimr played for the Egyptian girls' team, whilst Lee Barnard joined her teammates from South Africa. The remaining team players took part in the Hasselt tournament during the final leg of the tour.
The tour provides a unique opportunity for players from South America, Africa and Asia to gain experience and compare their skills against the best European players.
|5 - 7 July
||Training Camp, Paris
|8 - 14 July
||BNP Paribas Cup, Paris, France
|15 - 21 July
||Windmill Cup, Velp, Netherlands
|22 - 28 July
||Balle Mimosa Cup, Nantes, France
|29 July - 4 August
||36 Int Deutsche Tennismeisterschaft, Dueren, Germany
|5 - 10 August
||Lapperre Young Champions Cup, Hasselt, Belgium
|5 - 10 August
||World Junior Tennis Finals, Prostejov, Czech Republic
To access the drawsheets from the various tournaments, please click here.