IC of Italy qualify for Worldwide IC Junior Challenge Finals
The final day "play-offs" once again produced some very close matches including yet another mixed doubles decider. In the top match Italy were successful in a well fought match with Israel eventually winning 4-2 to take The European IC Rod Laver Junior Challenge with Israel in second place. But for a few points different it could have gone to a mixed doubles decider. In the match for third and fourth place Ireland won over Slovenia 4-2 but had to win two 10 point third set deciders to do that. In the match up for fifth and sixth places Great Britain won over Spain 5-1 and again with some close matches. Meanwhile the match up between hosts Germany and Austria for seventh and eighth place proved to be the closest of the day with Austria coming through in a mixed doubles decider after the overall match was tied at three individual matches each. So final placings are:
- Great Britain
Italy as the winning team were presented with their trophies by IC Germany President Alex Kurucz and they will be going to the Worldwide Finals in La Jolla, San Diego, California in November next year. This has probably been the most closely contested regional challenge ever. But for a few points, including some lost "match points" a different result could easily have happened. Indeed the organisers felt that if the event was repeated three times it could well be a different winner each time. So it has been a great experience for all the juniors with the round robin format giving them both a singles and doubles each day ..... and quite often a mixed doubles too this year! The unique format including both boys and girls as one team seems to be very successful and an enjoyable one both on and off court in the IC tradition of "Hands across the net, friendship across the ocean".
An enjoyable time was experienced at the final night dinner at a venue of German sponsor Rossbacher ( a manufacturer of water and soft drinks) who were thanked for their great support and were present for the evening. The event is not possible without the help of many volunteers and there were many from IC of Germany who were thanked by IC Council representative Kit Spencer for their hosting of a successful European Challenge. As well as the presentation to winning teams an important award of the IC is the Sportsmanship Awards given for exhibiting both a good attitude and friendship on and off court. These deservedly went to Johanna Halper of Austria and Mat Rutter of Great Britain. By the applause from their fellow juniors it seems they too felt they were worthy recipients. A highlight of the Final Night dinner was a Karaoke Event in which all teams performed at least one song to the amusement of both themselves and the audience. This finished up with a great finale of all teams getting together to sing "We are the world" which showed wonderful friendship between the juniors.
It is a week that the juniors will remember all their life. Many of them and their coaches expressed that it was one of their best ever tennis experiences and quite probably the best.
IC Luxembourg have already offered to host the next European Challenge in 2021 which teams will look forward too and their support is appreciated.