Clemence Mercier hits a backhand at U16 Junior Nationals

Photo – André Noël

While young Canadian tennis stars have been centre stage across major cities like Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary at the Fischer Junior Nationals events, several young players have been leaving their mark on the ITF circuit across the globe.

Meanwhile, a cohort of boys and girls’ competitors are preparing to compete for Canada in team competitions and at the Junior Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup.

Let’s break down some of the latest ITF success from Canadian juniors.

Genereux wins ITF singles crown

In singles competition last week, it was 15-year-old Canadian Antoine Genereux continuing his recent run of success. In the semifinals, he defeated fellow Canuck Rafael Brown 6-4, 5-7, 6-0 in a tightly contested battle. That set up an all-Canadian final, where Genereux defeated Jerry Han 6-3, 6-3 to win the J30 Le Diamant title from Martinique, France.

It’s his first career junior ITF singles title; he and fellow Canadian Andy Tchinda Kepche won a J30 doubles tournament in Baja California, Mexico last month.

A pair of Canadian girls also had deep singles runs last week in different parts of the tennis world. At the J60 Tacarigua in Trinidad and Tobago, Canadian Cookie Jarvis-Tredgett won three matches at the event, before falling to American Kayla Brianne-Moore 6-1, 6-3 in the final.

Meanwhile, on the clay courts at the J30 La Paz in Bolivia, Julia Ionescu of Alberta placed runner-up in singles, earning four consecutive straight sets wins, before falling in the finals 7-5, 6-3 to Peru’s Daniela Gonzales.

Junior Team Competition Approaches

International team competition will be front and centre next week, as Canadians head to Orlando April 17-19 to compete in the final qualifying stage of the Billie Jean King Cup Juniors and Davis Cup Juniors Finals in November.

Canada will compete alongside Mexico, the United States, and Bahamas in Davis Cup U16 junior competition. Led by former Canadian tennis player and Captain Frank Dancevic, the squad brings along Miko Lapalme of Quebec, and Felix Roussel and Quincy Yao of Ontario.

Lapalme recently won the U18 doubles title at the Indoor Junior Fischer Nationals, and last summer defeated his teammate Felix Roussel in the finals to win the U16 outdoor singles nationals in Quebec.

Photo – Peter Figura

Lapalme and Yao together won the doubles title at the U16 Nationals in Verdun back in February; Yao reached the semifinals in the singles event.

The Billie Jean King Cup Junior head to the same venue. Hoping to repeat the magic of Canada’s historic win on the international stage last year in professional competition, the nation is in a group of four alongside the United States, Mexico and Puerto Rico, with the top two nations advancing to the finals later this year.

Former WTA doubles star Sharon Fichman will Captain the three-player squad that features Nadia Lagaev, Charlie Celebrini, and Clémence Mercier.

“I want the girls to have a great experience and to fight like crazy,” says Fichman.

“They’re all super competitive, very patriotic, they get along really well, and they’re all experienced in both singles and doubles so I think we have a pretty well rounded team.”

Quebec’s Mercier recently won the U16 indoor nationals in Verdun, Quebec, while Celebrini of Ontario won the U16 doubles. Lagaev, who ranks 1st in the country in both singles and doubles U16 and 2nd for each category in U18, returns to the Billie Jean King Cup junior team for a second year.

The ITF World Junior Tennis Competition is also slated for action next weekend in Orlando with Canada in qualifying alongside the US, Mexico, and Guatemala.

Captain Phillippe Courteau will lead the Boys field which features U14 indoor junior national singles winner Callum Mackinnon, runner-up Julian Mahdavi, and BC’s Luca Vicol, who won the indoor provincial championships in his category in February.

In the Girls division, Captain Noelle van Lottum brings indoor junior national singles champion Amy Shen of BC, runner-up Rachel Wu, and doubles winner Isabella Ruyu Yan of Saskatchewan.

The top two nations in both divisions will advance to compete in the ITF World Junior Tennis Finals in Prostejov, Czechia from August 5-10 this summer.

Rankings Update

Junior Keegan Rice of Saskatchewan is still the top ranked Canadian on the ITF circuit and is currently 53rd in the world. Vancouver’s Connor Church is the second highest ranked in the Boys division, sitting 117th overall.

Nadia Lagaev is the top ranked Canadian in the Girls category at 113th in the world. She recently had a strong run at the J300 San Diego American Regional Championships, reaching the quarterfinals.

Check out the full ITF junior rankings here.