Barty and Saville Claim Wimbledon Junior Titles for Australia

Ashleigh Barty of Australia holds the winners trophy after defeating Irina Khromacheva of Russia in their Junior Girl’s final match at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London July 3, 2011. REUTERS/Toby Melville (BRITAIN – Tags: SPORT TENNIS)


Ashleigh Barty delivered an historic double to Australia joining South Australia’s Luke Saville at the Wimbledon Junior Championships. This is the first time Australia has won both the boys’ and girls’ singles titles in the same year.


Barty started slowly in her match against 16-year-old Russian No.3 seed Irina Kromacheva, trailing 4-1 in the first set before regaining her customary composure to fight back and win the match 7-5 7-6(3).


“I think I was just able to stick in there. I was never going to give up. It’s the final of Junior Wimbledon. I keep trying my guts out for every point. I was able to get a few good points in a row and upset her a little bit,” Barty said.


Barty is also the first indigenous Australian to claim a Wimbledon title since Evonne Goolagong Cawley, and is in regular contact with the former champion. “It’s pretty special. As I say, I talk to Evonne quite a bit. It’s great to share that experience with her, even at the junior level.”


Barty was supported in the stands by her AIS coach Nicole Pratt, AIS Pro Tour squad members – fellow Wimbledon champion Luke Saville, Andrew Whittington and Sean Berman, Tennis Australia CEO Steve Wood and a host of former Australian players, coaches and support staff.


“It was good,” Barty said of her cheer squad. “All us Aussies are pretty close. It was good to get support from them today.


“I didn’t put any expectations on myself coming to the tournament. I just wanted to come here and gain some experience. I was happy to get past the first round, let alone win it. So I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved this week,” Barty continued.


Luke Saville hoisted the boys’ singles trophy on Saturday, the first Australian to do so since Todd Reid in 2003, although fellow AIS scholar Ben Mitchell reached the final in 2010.


“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Saville said after winning in three sets over England’s local hope Liam Broady on a packed Court One.


“After putting the disappointment of the Australian Open loss behind me, to win the final, looking kind of bleak there for a little bit, down a set and a break, but to fight back and win in the third set was nice.


“You know, words can’t describe the feeling. It’s unbelievable. I’m playing a couple of Futures next week in England. I’m hoping to bring this form that I’ve produced here onto the men’s Futures circuit.


“I remember Todd Woodbridge speaking to me. He said the morale of the story is ‘don’t tank, keep fighting to that last point. Even if you lose, give your fellow competitors a message that you’re going to keep on fighting till the last point. Have that never-say-die attitude.’


“I think it’s great. I think Australian junior tennis, although Bernard is not a junior anymore, he made the semis maybe last year or the year before, so I think we’re going in the right direction.


“I think we have a good environment in Australian tennis right now,” Saville said.


“This is a great effort by Ash and Luke,” Tennis Australia’s Director of Tennis, Craig Tiley said.


“Playing in a Junior Grand Slam final is a significant accomplishment and both should be very proud of their success. These younger players continue to make us excited about the future of Australian tennis. Congratulations to them and our coaching staff on a very successful Wimbledon championships.”


All Australians competing at the Junior Championships are members of the AIS Pro Tour program supporting the transition of junior players into senior ranks. Athletes are given world class coaching, physical and medical support.


Bernard Tomic, Carsten Ball, Sally Peers and Sophie Ferguson Awarded Australian Open Wildcards

Bernard Tomic,Carsten Ball, Sally Peers and Sophie Ferguson have been granted the final wildcards into the main draw of Australian Open 2011.

Eighteen-year-old Tomic put his precocious talent on display this week, winning three tough rounds to qualify for the Medibank Sydney International.

Tomic, ranked world No. 209, defeated the No.101 Russian Igor Kunitsyn in the first round and went on to win in straight sets over two top 100 players – No.2 seed and world No.60 Michael Berrer from Germany, and finally the fifth seed Lukasz Kubot, ranked No.72.

Carsten Ball achieved some solid results during 2010, including winning a Challenger in Lexington, reaching the final in Dallas and the semis in both Aptos and Tiburon. Ball qualified for Wimbledon and won first rounds at both the French Open and US Open. He and regular doubles partner Chris Guccione also won their first ATP doubles title in Newport.

Ball has become a Davis Cup regular, winning six of the eight matches he’s played since making his debut in 2008.

“These [wildcards] are always difficult decisions,” Tennis Australia’s head of men’s tennis Todd  Woodbridge said today.

“We wanted to see players achieve some results, and Carsten has certainly done that throughout the year.

“Bernard is a talent but cannot be rewarded with a wildcard on that along, nor should he ever expect that. He has not had much tennis and he missed the AO Play-off so the pressure was on him to perform, particularly after he did not play well in Brisbane.

“He had not done enough. He needed to produce something in Sydney and he has done that with three good wins. His tennis has now earned this wildcard.”

Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter added “In making these decisions we are also looking at creating a culture that will help us build a strong Davis Cup team.”

“I want to see a real work ethic, attitude and sense of camaraderie that reflects our proud tennis history. That’s always stood out as being a point of difference with the Aussie players.”

Nineteen year-old Victorian Sally Peers enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2010, qualifying and winning through to the second round at the US Open, where she made a memorable centre court debut against Kim Clijsters. Peers also won gold with Anastasia Rodionova in doubles at the Delhi Commonwealth Games.

Sophie Ferguson (NSW) reached a career-high ranking of 119 in June after an impressive run at Roland Garros, qualifying for the main draw and winning in the first round before falling to No.17 seed and eventual champion Francesca Schiavone. Ferguson was runner-up at two ITF events, at Fort Walton (USA) and Biarritz (FRA), and qualified for WTA events in Ponte Vedra Beach and Charleston in the US, and Birmingham in the UK.

“Congratulations to both Sally and Sophie on their Australian Open wildcards,” Tennis Australia’s head of women’s tennis Craig Morris said today.

“They are both well deserved. Sally has had a great year, with the highlight qualifying for the US Open and her first round win, as well having the chance to represent Australia and win gold in Delhi.

“Sophie has really improved throughout 2010 and I hope this will be a springboard into the top 100 in 2011.”

The following players have been awarded wildcards into Australian Open qualifying:

Winner of Optus 18s Australian Championships:

Sean Berman                                             Isabella Holland

Winner of Australian Open Junior Championships 2010:

Tiago Fernandes                                       Irina Khromacheva

Discretionary – men’s draw:

Chris Guccione , Matt Reid , James Lemke , Luke Saville, Ben Mitchell , James Duckworth and Maverick Banes.

Discretionary – women’s draw:

Jessica Moore, Sophie Letcher,Tammi Patterson , Viktorija Rajicic and Monika Wejnert.

The men’s qualifying draw will be done after 6pm on Tuesday 11 January, and the women’s draw will be completed after 4pm on Wednesday 12 January. Both draws and schedules will be available on www.australianopen.com. Qualifying commences at 10:00am on Wednesday 12 January and matches will be streamed live on www.australianopen.com/live.

Australian Open wildcards have been allocated as follows:

Reciprocal US:   Ryan Harrison (USA)                 Lauren Davies (USA)

Reciprocal French: Benoit Paire (FRA)                 Virginie Razzano (FRA)

Asia Pacific:          Somdev Devvarman (IND)      Kei-chen Chang (TPE)

AO Play-off winners: Marinko Matosevic (Vic)       Olivia Rogowska (Vic)


Peter Luczak, Jelena Dokic, Matt Ebden, Alicia Molik, Carsten Ball, Sally Peers, Bernard Tomic, Sophie Ferguson

Australian Open 2011, presented by Kia Motors in association with ANZ, Jacob’s Creek and Rolex, will take place at Melbourne Park, Melbourne, from 17 to 30 January.