Joel and team GB at the Junior Davis Cup
The last week in September is a week where the best junior players in the world come to represent their countries in the Junior Davis Cup. BETA’s own Joel Pierleoni, 15, is part of the U16 Great Britain team that is competing in Budapest this week.
The GB team had to first win their way through the European cup qualifying event and then onto the European finals, where only the top 5 teams would qualify. The team of Joel, Felix Gill from Birmingham and Jack Pinnington-Jones from Surrey exceeded expectations. considering Joel and Jack are both a year younger than most competitors and booked their spot in Budapest.
The Junior Davis cup is the most important junior teams event in the world and the players competing are the best of their age in the world. The format is similar to a football World Cup, 4 groups of 4 with the top 2 going through to the quarter final knock out stages. Each tie is comprised of 3 matches; 2 singles and 1 doubles. Former competitors in the event include; Jim Courier (USA 1986) Jennifer Capriati (USA 1989) Michael Chang (USA 1986) Lindsay Davenport (USA 1991) Goran Ivanisevic (Yugoslavia 1986) Amelie Mauresmo (France 1995) Marat Safin (Russia 1995) Daniela Hantuchova (1998) Roger Federer (Switzerland 1996) Agnieszka Radwanska (2005) Andy Roddick (USA 1998) Rafael Nadal (2002) Bernard Tomic (2007) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (2006) Sloane Stephens (2008) Eugenie Bouchard (2009)
The GB team was drawn in a tough group alongside one of the tournament favourites the USA and South American champions Brazil. On day 1 the boys were up against the highly fancied USA team. Due to an injury to the number 1 American and a fantastic performance from Jack and Felix in the doubles, team GB upset the Americans 2-1. A win on day 2 against the Uzbekistan team would almost guarantee a place in the knock stages. After the singles ties the score was level at 1-1, enter Joel and Felix to play the sudden death match for quarter final qualification. The boys didn’t disappoint. Playing some energetic doubles and having far too much quality and intensity for their opponents. With the USA losing to Brazil the quarter final was clinched for team GB!
In the quarter finals on Friday the British boys will come up against Spain. A very tough opponent in deed, but a great challenge and measuring stick for GB boys. More updates to follow!