Photo: Susan MullaneElise Mertens (BEL)
Players from 30 nations are participating in the 19th ITF Junior Open in Linz. The ITF Junior Open is a clay court event holding Grade 1 status which makes it Austria’s largest junior tournament. While each year a few local and regional talents look to gain some ITF tournament experience and world ranking points, Linz has also seen some youngsters who have climbed into top positions on the ATP and WTA rankings in their later careers. Will there be another future number one in this year’s draws?
There have been some winners and runners-up of the ITF Junior Open who have gone on to earn great fame in their future careers as professional players. Former men’s world No. 1 and Wimbledon and US Open champion Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) reached the final in 1999. On the girls' side, former No. 1-ranked players, Jelena Jankovic (SRB) and Dinara Safina (RUS), and current world No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska (POL), have all displayed their talents by winning or reaching the final at Upper Austria’s ITF event.
Last year’s runner-up Elise Mertens is the top seed in the girls’ draw. The 17-year-old Belgian, who has already begun to make her mark on the senior women’s tour, has her sights on another major result in 2013. She has already reached one semifinal and three quarterfinals (including the Junior Championships at Wimbledon and the Australian Open) in the current season.
Fifteen-year-old Upper Austrian Anna Kraus who, surprisingly won the Austrian National 18-and-under Championships in Wels last weekend, has received a wild card for the girls’ main draw. Fellow Upper Austrian Gregor Hutterer, runner-up in the National 18-and-under Boys Championships, enters the boys’ draw with a wild card.
Daily results and draw sheets can be found here