Photo: Susan MullaneAnna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK)
There was a time when being a top junior player meant just needing to play good tennis, confident that talent would get the job done in the end. But in 2012, physical fitness, strength and endurance are just as important as natural ability.
Britain’s Liam Broady and Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovak Republic both spent time working as much on their bodies as on forehands and backhands earlier this year and on Monday, they showed it is paying off as they won their opening matches at the French Open.
Third seed Broady, the runner-up at Wimbledon last year, battled hard to beat Karim Hossam of Egypt, a heavy-hitter whom he had never beaten before and a member of the ITF/Grand Slam International 18 & Under Touring Team, whose expenses are part-funded by the Grand Slam Development Fund.
The 18-year-old started well but had to recover from a break down to win the first set and then held on to set up a match with Julien Cagnina of Belgium.
“After Wimbledon I started playing a few Futures events,” Broady said.
“Around Australian Open time I wasn’t playing very well. I did a month or so of physical training and I feel like I’m coming back now, feeling a bit more confident and hopefully you’ll see more of me.”
Broady trains with Ric Moylan, a performance and conditioning coach who works with a number of high-profile boxers in the UK.
“I feel more mature now towards my tennis than I was last year,” Broady said. “I feel like I’m ticking more of the boxes than I was with the physical side; stretching after matches, and warming up before matches. I’ve made a real push to try to improve it. I feel more confident going onto the court because I know I’ve done the work off it.”
Schmiedlova fully deserved her 76 62 win over former world junior champion Daria Gavrilova, the 13th seed this year, showing her full range of shot-making in an impressive all-round performance.
The 17-year-old has won four ITF Pro Circuit events this year and puts her success down to the effort she made off the court in Australia before the start of the year.
“In the winter I was in Australia and we practised so much,” she said. “We were in some mountains for a week and it was really tough, running all the time. It was so tough. It’s tough to enjoy these things but I know it is important.”
Schmiedlova says Wimbledon will be her last junior event – “I never played on grass before because I forgot to enter in time last year” – but intends to do well both there and in Paris.
“I thought my best surface was hard courts before but now I won four tournaments in a row on clay, so maybe it’s clay again,” she said. “I like long rallies, actually, and I have good legs maybe for clay, so that’s important.”
Boys’ second seed Gianluigi Quinzi will take on another Briton, Kyle Edmund in the third round. Quinzi beat Herkko Pollanen of Poland 76 64 while Edmund, who trained with Roger Federer before his first match, beat Maxime Tschoutakian of France 76 63.
Top seed Luke Saville joined them in round three by beating Luke Bambridge of Britain 60 64 but Hyeon Chung of Korea, another member of the ITF Touring Team, was knocked out in round two by American Spencer Papa.
In the girls’ event, Germany’s Annika Beck and Antonia Lottner both cruised into round three. Second seed Beck beat Victoria Kan of Russia 64 62 while Lottner followed up her day one upset of world junior champion Irina Khromacheva with a 61 62 demolition of Ratnika Batra of India.