Photo: Corinne DubreuilJil Teichmann (SUI)
When she first heard of the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games six months ago, Switzerland’s Jil Teichmann knew it was an event she had to be a part of.
The 17-year-old junior world No. 7 is already enjoying some senior success in ITF pro circuit tournaments alongside her career on the junior circuit, but she wasted little time in ensuring her involvement in one of the biggest events in youth sport.
“I heard of the Games half a year ago,” Teichmann said. “I asked my coach directly if I can go because I love that kind of stuff - where there’s a lot going on, like the Grand Slams for example. I went to my coach straight away to ask him if I can go.”
Teichmann has already won two doubles titles on the pro circuit - both in Switzerland alongside fellow Swiss teenager Chiara Grimm - and reached a career-high WTA ranking of No. 640 earlier this month.
At junior level this year, she won both the singles and doubles titles at the Grade A event in Porto Alegre and followed up with another triumph in the doubles at the Grade A event in Milan. Having reached the third round in singles and the semifinals in doubles at Junior Wimbledon earlier in July, the Youth Olympic Games serves as her next big focus.
Twenty-six different sports will be contested at the second Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing on 16-28 August, with plenty of opportunity for the sports-mad Teichmann to enjoy other events away from the tennis court.
“There’ll be lots of sports going on and I’m looking forward to watching a few of the other games,” said Teichmann. “I’m also very excited to get to know a lot of different people because I pretty much know all of the tennis players.”
Teichmann, a lefthander who was born in Barcelona, is the lone representative from Switzerland taking part in the tennis event in Nanjing. While she may miss the presence of her compatriots, Teichmann has plenty of opportunity to socialise with fellow Swiss athletes in China and is looking forward to shouldering her nation’s hopes in tennis.
“Representing your country is something very different, especially in tennis because you’re used to playing in your own court alone,” she said. “Playing for your country is something very special.
“It’s my first Olympics ever so I don’t know how I’m going to come out of it – I just hope it’s positive.”
It will also be Teichmann’s first experience of China – another element of the trip that she is thoroughly looking forward to.
“I’ve been twice to Japan, but I’ve never been to China,” said Teichmann. “If I have time I’m going to try and have a look around. I’ve heard it’s very hot, so at least I’m going to get brown!”