Photo: Mathilde DusolGreat Britain, BNP Paribas World Team Cup junior champion
Great Britain won the BNP Paribas World Team Cup junior title on the fifth day of play in Antalya after Alfie Hewett and Lauren Jones combined to beat Spain 2-1 in thrilling circumstances.
With the junior event once again supported by the Johan Cruyff Foundation, Britain’s two players have both been at the top of the Cruyff Foundation junior boys’ ranking and junior girls’ ranking this year. Hewett has held the No. 1 position in the junior boys’ ranking since early January, before winning his second Cruyf Foundation Junior Masters singles and doubles titles.
Jones has since slipped from the top of the girls’ ranking and was the only female player on court during this year’s BNP Paribas Word Team Cup junior final. With Spain’s team consisting of two male players, Jones found the going tough in the opening singles rubber, which was won 62 60 by Spain’s Martin de la Puente.
However, as expected, Hewett kept Great Britain’s hopes alive as he powered through the second singles rubber against Felix Garcia 60 61.
Hewett and Jones then came from a set and 3-0 down to win the title in a championship tie-break, beating Garcia and de la Puente 46 75 (10-4) to avenge a 2-1 loss to Spain earlier in the week in the round-robin phase of the competition.
It was Great Britain's second junior title at the World Team Cup, after first winning the event in 2007.
“It means a lot, especially as this is my last year as a junior, so it’s nice to finish on top” said 17-year-old Jones. ” I was ill at the start of the week, so it wasn’t the best prep, but it’s ended well.”
Neither of us will forget this. It’s my fourth World Team Cup and after only getting one bronze medal before this, the one that we won last year, it’s tremendous,” said 15-year-old Hewett , who has made his debut inside the world’s top 25 in the men’s singles senior rankings this week.
“It’s extra special because it could also be my last year competing in the junior event as I have school exams next year and maybe after that I could be competing in the men’s event for Great Britain the following year.”
After Jones and Hewett had steered Great Britain to the bronze medal in 2012, this year’s victory also had great significance for the third member of the Great Britain junior team, Luz Esperanza Merry, who won Britain’s opening singles rubber of the week on Monday against Tanazania in her very first competitive wheelchair tennis match.
This year the bronze medal went to second seed Netherlands, the 2012 junior champion, after Diede de Groot and Carlos Anker beat Russia 2-0.
Anker, runner-up to Hewett in the boys’ singles final at the 2013 Cruyff Foundation Junior Masters, sealed the medal for the Dutch team when he came through against Artur Saitgareeev 57 64 64.