It has been a tremendous period recently for Britain’s junior boys, culminating with victory in the Junior Davis Cup in Mexico at the weekend.
Captained by Greg Rusedski, the trio of Luke Bambridge, Kyle Edmund and Evan Hoyt – all aged 16 – put in an impressive performance from start to finish to live up to Great Britain’s top seeding by winning the event for the first time in its 26-year history.
This is one of junior tennis’s most prestigious competitions. Rafael Nadal won the event with Spain in 2002 and Andy Roddick, Roger Federer and Marat Safin have all turned out for their respective countries in years gone by.
It is yet another sign that all is rosy with Britain’s junior players after 18-year-old Oliver Golding won the US Open Boys’ title last month, with his compatriots, Edmund and George Morgan, also reaching the semi-finals.
What struck me as I watched, on a grainy online Facebook stream, the closing moments of Kyle Edmund’s decisive win against his Italian opponent in the final on Sunday was the manner in which he closed his victory out.
There was no sign of any nerves or tightness as the youngster served out a 6-3 6-4 victory in confident fashion. Judging by all accounts, that is the manner in which the British juniors performed all week which bodes well.
Rusedski is doing a great job as a mentor to Britain’s young players. His positive thoughts and enthusiasm is clearly rubbing off on them and they all speak highly of the impact he has had.
When speaking to Jonny O’Mara, the young Scot who was a part of the British team, also captained by Rusedski, which won the Tennis Europe Winter Cup in February, he enthused about the inspiration he had gained from working with the former world No.4.
A man of Rusedski’s experience knows though that this is only the beginning for this young group of Brits. There is many a player in the past who has showed promise at a young age, only to fail to fulfil it.
The transition to the senior game is the critical stage. The most encouraging thing about the British junior success recently is that it appears we will have a number of players all pushing each other on as they make these crucial steps forward.