12 Dec 2016

ITF/GSDF team enjoys success in North America

News Article

Yusuf Khamis (EGY)

Dominican Republic’s Nick Hardt set a high standard for the ITF/GSDF Team to the Orange Bowl with impressive results across all four tournaments on the tour.

Hardt – who was joined on the tour by Egypt’s Yusuf Khamis and Burundi’s Sada Nahimana – reached the second round of the boys’ singles at both the Abierto Juvenil Mexicano and the Metropolia Orange Bowl International Championships, the Grade A events on the tour.

This year’s team featured younger players who were given the chance to participate in events above their usual age category: Hardt and Khamis are 16, while Nahimana is just 15, but all will have benefitted from the experience of playing older, stronger players over the past four weeks.

The team, which travelled with coach Ivan Molina, is financed by the Grand Slam Development Fund (GSDF) and gives players the opportunity to take part in top level international competition as well as invaluable experience of travelling abroad as part of a team under the guidance of an ITF coach.

Hardt and Khamis gained direct entry into the boys’ singles Abierto Juvenil Mexicano, both recording wins before losing to seeded players. The pair entered the qualifying at the Orange Bowl, but both made it through to the main draw without losing a set. Khamis lost a tight first round match against Alexandre Rotsaert, but Hardt ground out a three-set win over Matteo Martineau before losing to eventual semifinalist Danny Thomas.

Nahimana, who trains at the ITF/CAT Tennis Centre: Morocco, suffered a narrow defeat in the first round of the girls’ singles in Mexico and lost in the first round of qualifying at the Orange Bowl. But it was at the two tournaments in between that the Burundian player enjoyed arguably the finest moment of her young career so far.

As well as the two Grade A events, the team played at two Grade 1 events while in North America: the XXX Yucatan Cup in Merida, Mexico, and the Eddie Herr ITF event in Bradenton, Florida.

Nahimana was able to put her singles disappointments to one side, partnering Estonia’s Maileen Nuudi to victory in Merida with a hard-fought 46 63 11-9 victory over Maria Jose Portillo Ramirez and Sofia Sewing in the final.

Hardt also enjoyed success, making the second round of the XXX Yucatan Cup and the round of 16 at the Eddie Herr, while Khamis lost in the first round at the former but came through qualifying in Bradenton before losing a tight three-set match to Jason Legall.

The players now return home after what was certainly an extremely successful tour, where the three team members have learned a great deal from their four weeks in Mexico and the US. As ever, the ITF would like to thank all of the tennis federations involved in organising the tournaments during the tour and offering such great hospitality to the players.