Manchester, Bolton and Tarbes, 10 February 2011 | Jake Delaney, Marc Polmans and Omar Jasika

Up-and-coming juniors Jake Delaney, Omar Jasika and Marc Polmans recently travelled to Europe to play a series of tournaments against the world’s best 14/u players. While away, the boys blogged on their travels.

My trip started at Sydney airport where I took a one hour plane flight to Melbourne. When I arrived in Melbourne I met up with TA coach Chris Mahony, Marc Polmans and Omar Jasika and we headed to the International terminal.

Our first plane flight was to Singapore and that took about seven hours, the plane food was terrible so we only ate the bread. When we finished that flight we were all very hungry but most of the shops were closed so we just had a Boost juice.

After 45 minutes we were back on the plane and this time headed for Dubai, which was another seven hour flight. This trip felt like it went a bit quicker as we watched a couple of movies and had a sleep.

We arrived in Dubai and had a three-hour stopover so we had some lunch and soon we were back on our plane for eight more hours. We finally arrived in Manchester, England, and it was raining and about 5 degrees.

The team then headed to our hotel, dropped off our bags and went to Sport City Tennis centre where we were supposed to train for the next few days. This is where the 2002 Commonwealth Games were played. We were all a bit tired and not hitting too clean. The indoor courts played fast and skidded off big shots.

After training there for two days we then drove to Bolton to practice on the courts were we were going to play the tournament on. I practiced with an English kid who I ended up playing doubles with.

The next day we played back at Manchester and we had one final hit before we packed our bags and went to Bolton to sign in for the Teen Tennis tournament. I’m excited to play in this tournament with the best 14/u players in the world.

Jake Delaney

Chris, Jake, Omar, Naiktha and I drove from Manchester to Bolton on Saturday and checked into our hotel where we will be staying throughout the tournament.

Omar and I shared a room and Jake stayed by himself. We unpacked our bags and headed to the courts for sign in. Once we got to the courts we saw all the other players and had a hit ourselves.

The hotel was just across the road from the courts. Every morning we had breakfast at the hotel and lunch and dinner were free at the courts. In singles I had a bye then won my first match against a kid from GBR. Then I lost in the Round of 16 to a kid from USA.

In doubles Omar and I had a bye then won our first match against the No.1 British pair. We then lost in the quarters to the same American kid that beat me in singles.

I have had a great time in England and am now looking forward to going to France for Le Petit As. Hopefully the weather is better there!

Marc Polmans

We had a pretty long travel day from Manchester, UK to Paris and then from Paris to Tarbes, France, where we are playing the Les Petits As tournament.

This tournament is the strongest 14/u international indoor tournament in the world and has been happening for 29 years.

When we got there we went to the club to register and get our accommodation. Then we got our dinner tickets and went for some dinner to replenish our bodies with some fuel. It was already about 8:30 pm so we went to the hotel, which was only 10 minutes away, and went to bed.

We had two days of practice offsite while the qualification was going on at the main centre.

We were so excited to be here to challenge ourselves. The main centre was amazing as it had thousands of people watching every day, PS3, Xbox 360, mini tennis, table tennis, rock wall climbing, mechanical bull riding, and free drinks all for the players.

The courts were different colours and the court I played on had no doubles lines … Like, how weird is that?

They had a champion’s wall with photos of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Fernando Gonzalez, Carlos Ferrero, Gilles Simon, Gael Monfils, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and others from when they played here.

Omar Jasika

The Australian team in Bolton (l to r): Omar Jasika, Jake Delaney, Naiktha Bains and Marc Polmans.