Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Missing in Action- New Zealand Under 14 Junior Teams at Asia Zone Playoffs for World Champs!

The Australian 14-and-under junior boys’ team of Alexei Popyrin (NSW), Alex de Minaur (NSW) and Kody Pearson (NSW) have defeated India to finish in first place at the Asia/Oceania World Junior Tennis qualifying event in Malaysia at the weekend.In the play-off for first to eighth position, Australia saw off Korea and Thailand before beating India 2-0, with de Minaur beating India’s Alex Solanki in three sets before Popyrin sealed the win with a three-set defeat of Nitin Kumar Sinha.Australia, India, Japan and Thailand qualified for the World Junior Tennis finals in Prostejov, Czech Republic (5-10 August 2013) after reaching the semifinals of the Asia/Oceania qualifier, and thus finishing as the top four nations in the competition.So great result for Australia and the girls event is now being played as we speak. The question I have why this year have we no New Zealand 14 and under teams in this event. This would be the first time for a number of years New Zealand has not entered. These events are important pathways for National development.

The World Junior Tennis competition was started by the ITF in 1991. In the inaugural year, 12 nations were nominated to take part with Spain boys and Czechoslovakia girls emerging the overall winners.

The format changed in 1992 when regional qualifying events were introduced, a system that is still used today with the top teams reaching the Finals.

The Finals were held in Japan until 1998, but the following year they were moved to the clay court venue of TK Plus Centre in Prostejov, Czech Republic. This venue continues to be used today.

A number of the past participants have gone on to become household names on the ATP and WTA tours. Former winners in the boys' event include Rafael Nadal, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, David Nalbandian and Richard Gasquet, while Justine Henin, Kim Clijsters, Amelie Mauresmo, Daniela Hantuchova and Vera Zvonareva have all appeared in the girls' event.
To my surprise Tennis New Zealand has not sent teams for our Asia Zone qualifications.I feel sorry for all those hard working juniors that would have been selected for their National Team.They and their parents are investing huge amounts of money to their child's career and by not sending a team is a slap in the face to parents and juniors.
If there is a valid reason I would like to know, is it funding? Maybe instead of moving offices TNZ could of invested in the players of the future by staying put at Scarbro,and saving the expense to move . But of course they relocated to the Millennium Institute of Sport to produce top athletes!.One would of thought that while the powers that be congregated around the water coolers at their lush new offices they would make sure events such as these are on the Development Pathway.
There maybe a logical reason why no teams went.....I am one that would like to know the reason!
Below are the final standings ....looking at the countries that participated our juniors needed to be there!
Match overview of 13 April 2013


WJT Boys (B14) - BOYS PLAY-OFF 1st-8thAustralia [4]Australia-IndiaIndia [2]2-0Main Location - 8

WJT Boys (B14) - BOYS PLAY-OFF 1st-8thThailand [3]Thailand-JapanJapan [1]1-2Main Location - 6

WJT Boys (B14) - BOYS PLAY-OFF 1st-8thHong Kong [6]Hong Kong-ChinaChina [5]1-2Main Location - 7

WJT Boys (B14) - BOYS PLAY-OFF 1st-8thKorea [7]Korea-Chinese TaipeiChinese Taipei [8]2-0Main Location - 4

WJT Boys (B14) - BOYS PLAY-OFF 9th-16thVietnamVietnam-IndonesiaIndonesia1-2Main Location - 5

WJT Boys (B14) - BOYS PLAY-OFF 9th-16thUzbekistanUzbekistan-MalaysiaMalaysia2-0Main Location - 1

WJT Boys (B14) - BOYS PLAY-OFF 9th-16thKazakhstanKazakhstan-SingaporeSingapore0-2Main Location - 2

WJT Boys (B14) - BOYS PLAY-OFF 9th-16thPhilippinesPhilippines-PakistanPakistan2-1Main Location - 3


  1. Hi Steve,
    This was a good opportunity to give our Juniors overseas experience, and to see if we are developing equal skills with our competitors. You should be seeking an answer from NZ Tennis, but given your criticism of this organisation you would not get an reply, Cheers, Wayne Auckland.

  2. Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance or a stranger.
    Franklin P. Jones

  3. The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.

    If not for your blog a lot of us would be in the dark what is happening out there in TNZLAND I am sure there is more to come!

  4. So a question and i'm not sure if this is true. What about if the standard at that age group in NZ wasn't great and perhaps to put in the 12 year old boys who are good in the side may just be six months early or a good bet. And what about if the boys were potentially good enough to get experience but you didn't want to send a girls team as they may not be good enough? Just interesting questions which might need to be considered and probably aren't as easy as should have sent a team/shouldn't have sent a team.
    Sometimes the talent pool hasn't developed in an age group or just isn't there....and let's not put a blame on systems or coaches. Sometimes it just happens.

  5. I do believe that New Zealand Should of sent a team.Just because you may not be getting results in one particular age group does not mean that the talent pool is bare.Each junior has a different age group they will improve in some may be very good in the younger age groups some may improve dramatically as they mature.When you look at the country's that participated I am sure New Zealand would of beat a few and the experience would be invaluable.Those that would have been eligible deserve to be acknowledged in teams such as this.These events are huge incentives and a reward to juniors that are indeed doing the hours, playing the tournaments and should be picked in a National Team.Thanks for your comment.

  6. Did you see the junior Fed Cup girls had a couple of good wins particularly in the playoff to get the third place and make world finals. Pretty good win by Paige in over three hours. I don't care who is playing...if you can stay on court for over 3 1/2 hours you deserve credit.
    I think the guys came fifth and miss world finals. but girls Paige, Rose Cheng and Annabel Ellis did well.