The Sichuan International Tennis Centre
The ITF today announced the launch of the ITF Junior Masters, a new international event featuring the top eight ranked boys and girls on the 18-and-under ITF Junior World Ranking at the end of the year.
The inaugural event will take place on 3-5 April 2015 at the Sichuan International Tennis Centre in Chengdu, China following a three-year agreement with the Chinese Tennis Association and the Chengdu Sport Bureau.
The ITF Junior Masters will showcase the next generation of players and also assist them in making a transition from junior tennis to the professional game through various opportunities including travel grants.
The top eight boys and girls on the ITF Junior World Ranking at the end of 2014 will be invited to participate in the ITF Junior Masters, which will consist of two knock-out singles events, with each player guaranteed three matches to determine their final finishing position.
“As a Chinese Junior tennis player, I am thrilled to hear that the first ITF Junior Masters is to be held in Chengdu Province in 2015,” said Junior World No. 13 Sun Ziyue. “It will be a great opportunity to raise junior tennis to a higher level, and a motivation for me and other Chinese players as well to train ever harder in order to participate in this highest grade of ITF Junior circuit.”
Australian Open Junior runner-up Stefan Kozlov echoed her sentiments.
“I view the ITF junior circuit as a pathway to the professional circuit,” said Kozlov. “Such an event that showcases the world’s top 8 juniors will be a great addition to the ITF junior circuit, especially in how it will provide its top players with another valuable competitive experience to build from.”
The Sichuan International Tennis Centre, which was built in 2008 and consists of 12 match courts and 20 practice courts, has already hosted a number of international events. The ITF Junior Masters will be staged on three match courts, including a 6000-capacity stadium court, with matches broadcast and streamed live over the three days.
The ITF Junior Masters joins the ITF junior team competitions, the 14-and-under ITF World Junior Tennis competition, and 16-and-under Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup by BNP Paribas, as the premier junior events on the 2015 ITF calendar.
ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “We are delighted that some of the world’s most talented young players will have the opportunity to compete in this new, exciting event while, at the same time, further assisting them in their transition to the senior game.
“The ITF Junior Circuit has long been the main pathway to professional tennis for young players, but this event will provide an added incentive for players to secure a high year-end ranking. We are grateful for the support and the vision of the Chinese Tennis Association and Chengdu Sports Bureau to be able to launch this event in such an impressive setting.”
Madam Sun Jinfang, Vice President of the Chinese Tennis Association, said “I would like to express our thanks to the ITF for their confidence in the CTA and Chengdu as host city in staging the event. Chengdu has a long tennis tradition, with a large tennis population and many activities in schools and universities, so it is an appropriate venue for this new event. We look forward to seeing some of the future stars of the game in action, and will work hard with our partners to ensure a first-class event.”
Ms. Tan Xuejun, Director of Chengdu Sport Bureau, said: “We are proud to be staging the first-ever ITF Junior Masters. Chengdu is one of the Chinese cities with the best tennis development and popularity, and the staging of major events is an important part of this development. The city has already held a number of international tennis events that will act as a good foundation for the ITF Junior Masters. We are confident that the players will put on a great performance for the fans both on site and watching on television around the world.”