7 August 2019 | Tennis Australia

Australia’s top 14-and-under boys are currently competing at the prestigious ITF World Junior Tennis Finals in Prostejov, Czech Republic from 5 to 10 August 2019.

Juniors Zachary Viiala (WA), Andre Filep (NSW), and Alexander Despoja (SA), captained by National Academy coach Damien Ward, earned their place in the finals after finishing second at the Asia / Oceania qualifying tournament in Malaysia in April.

The seventh-seeded Australian team face fierce competition from 15 of the world’s top junior tennis nations including [1] Czech Republic, [2] USA, [3] Japan, [4] Argentina, [5] France, [6] Bulgaria, [8] Croatia, Germany, Canada, China, Peru, Thailand, Egypt, Brazil and Romania.

The competition format has started with a round-robin stage with the respective top two nations from each pool to be selected for the knock out quarterfinals before the World Junior Tennis champion is determined.

“The World Junior Tennis Finals are an important part of the player development pathway, providing invaluable experience to compete against the world’s best countries,” Team captain Damian Ward said.

“Players and teams are also given a chance to travel internationally, giving them more of a taste of what it’s like to be a professional player travelling on the tour. It’s a great opportunity for players to build relationships with their tennis peers who I’m sure they will see for years to come.”

The team worked hard in preparation for the event, completing a three-week stint in Europe competing in Netherlands and Germany.

The Australians have been drawn in Pool A and won their first tie against Romania 2-1, lost the second tie to Brazil 1-2 and will face top seeds the Czech Republic for a place in the quarterfinals. The top two teams from the four pools will earn a place in the quarterfinals.

Australian 14-and-under World Junior Tennis team

Zach Viiala – (Nedlands, WA)

Andre Filip – (Mount Colah, NSW)

Alex Despoja – (Hawthorndene, SA)

Team captain – Damien Ward (WA)

Notable Australian tournament results from 2019

Andre Filip

14, Mount Colah, NSW

  • Winner (singles)– 2019 14/u boys 86th MCC Glen Iris Underage Gold JT (July)
  • Finalist (singles) – 2019 14/u boys NSW Age, 14/u boys (April)
  • Finalist (singles) – 2019 14/u boys Tennis World Canberra Gold JT (April)
  • Winner (singles and doubles) – 2019 14/u boys Victorian Junior Grasscourt Championships (January)
  • Winner (doubles) – 2019 14/u boys North Shore Junior Open (January)

Zachary Viiala

14, Nedlands, Western Australia

  • Winner (singles and doubles) – 2019 14/u boys Preston Street IGA Hensman Park Gold Junior Tournament (April)
  • Winner (doubles), finalist (singles) – 2019 14/u boys Tennis World JT Gold Hard-court Championships (April)
  • Winner (singles) – 2019 14/u boys Fosterville Gold Classic – JT & AMT (April)
  • Finalist (singles) – 2019 14/u boys Gordon Davies Real Estate Junior Silver Classic (January)
  • Winner (doubles) – 2019 16/u boys Alexander Park Summer Gold JT (January)
  • Winner (doubles), finalist (singles) – 2019 14/u boys City of Joondalup Sorrento Junior Hardcourt Tournament (January)

Alexander Despoja

14, Hawthorndene, South Australia

  • Semifinalist (singles) – 2019 16/u boys Seaside Gold JT (April)
  • Winner (singles and doubles) – 2019 14/u boys Henley South Gold JT (January)
  • Finalist (singles) – 2019 16/y boys Reade Park Grass Bronze JT (January)
  • Finalist (singles) – 2019 16/u boys Strathalbyn Bronze JT (January)

The ITF World Junior Tennis tournament is the premier international team competition for players aged 14-and-under. For more information visit the ITF Junior Tennis website here.