Photo: Susan MullaneOrlando Luz (BRA)
Orland Luz is already having a dream year on the ITF Junior Circuit and, as he heads to Nanjing for the Youth Olympic Games on 16-28 August, the 16-year-old Brazilian has a chance to make it a golden one too.
Currently the world junior No. 3 having attained a career-high ranking of No. 2 earlier in the season, Luz knows what it takes to win the elite junior events. He went on a 16-match singles winning streak through March, winning back-to-back junior Grade 1 titles in Paraguay and Brazil before securing his first Grade A title at Porto Alegre – all for the loss of just one set.
And the wins didn’t stop there – he won a further two Grade 1 doubles titles in Santa Croce and Charleroi-Marcinelle, and added the icing on the cake with the boys’ doubles title at Wimbledon alongside compatriot Marcelo Zormann.
The pair will get another chance to play together at the second Youth Olympic Games in China, where they’ll undoubtedly make up one of the strongest partnerships in the boys’ competition at Nanjing’s Tennis Academy of China. And Luz, for one, can’t wait to go for gold.
“I watched videos of the last one (Singapore 2010) and I’m very excited about this tournament,” he said. “I’m very happy [to go to China] and I hope to be good in this tournament.”
Luz has a 38-11 win-loss record in junior singles and 34-8 in junior doubles play this year and was also a semifinalist in both singles and doubles at junior Roland Garros. But while he plans to give everything he has in the tennis event, the teenager admits his attentions will not be solely focussed on the courts during his time in Nanjing.
“First comes tennis, and then I will watch the other sports,” admitted Luz who, as a Brazilian, has one sport in particular at the top of his list. “[I’ll watch] football, maybe volleyball, handball. Everything like that.”
Luz is one of 64 players from 37 different countries preparing to participate in the tennis event at Nanjing 2014, with the tennis venue comprising 10 match courts including a 1,200-capacity main court.
Overall, 3,800 athletes will compete in 28 different sports at the Youth Olympic Games, with the Opening Ceremony kicking off proceedings on Saturday.