Melbourne, Australia , 9 December 2023 | Leigh Rogers

Alexander Despoja has ended his junior career on the ultimate high.

The 18-year-old from South Australia completed a memorable week at the 2023 December Showdown by claiming the boys’ singles and doubles titles at the 18-and-under Australian Championships.

Despoja secured the singles title with a 6-3 6-2 victory today against his doubles partner, Rohan Hazratwala, at Melbourne Park’s National Tennis Centre.

“It feels pretty good,” Despoja said after his 62-minute triumph.

“I was actually pretty nervous before the match. I’m two years older than him and I thought he’d come out swinging with nothing to lose.

“But I kept my nerve and just tried to stay positive out there and not let him have any easy points.”

From three-all in the opening set, the top-seeded Despoja reeled off seven consecutive games to take control of the match.

His relentless pressure wore down his Queensland opponent, who has become a close friend over the past year while attending Brisbane Boys’ College together.

“He was one of my good mates at school and we trained together every day, so I didn’t want to just let him beat me,” Despoja said.

It was their second singles clash during the championships, following a three-set encounter (also won by Despoja) during the round-robin stage.

“He had an impressive run to reach the final and he’s only 16,” Despoja acknowledged.

Hazratwala didn’t walk away empty handed, teaming with Despoja to claim the boys’ doubles title.

The top-seeded duo posted a hard-fought 7-6(3) 7-6(4) victory against Queensland’s Zane Stevens and New South Wales’ Boyd Schreiber in today’s final.

Alexander Despoja and Rohan Hazratwala with their doubles trophies. Picture: Tennis Australia

Alexander Despoja and Rohan Hazratwala with their doubles trophies. Picture: Tennis Australia

After struggling with hip and groin injuries throughout the week, Despoja was thrilled to win two national titles.

“I thought it was going to be pretty hard to play, but the physios did well to manage it,” said Despoja, who retired mid-match during his final round-robin singles encounter on Wednesday.

Despite that result, he still finished on top of his group to advance to the knockout quarterfinals.

From there, Despoja bounced back to win three consecutive straight-sets matches to claim his second national singles title.

It follows victory in the 14/u boys’ singles championships at the December Showdown in 2019.

“I feel like all the hard work, both physically and mentally, has paid off,” Despoja said of what his latest achievement means.

“But I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet.”

Despoja, who is relocating to Texas next month to study business and play US college tennis, joins an illustrious honour roll.

Past winners of the 18/Australian Championships boys’ singles title include Jason Kubler, Luke Saville, Nick Kyrgios and Rinky Hijikata.


Boys’ singles, final
[1] Alexander Despoja (SA) d [8] Rohan Hazratwala (Qld) 6-3 6-2

Boys’ doubles, final
[1] Alexander Despoja (SA)/Rohan Hazratwalka (Qld) d [3] Boyd Schreiber (NSW)/Zane Stevens (Qld) 7-6(3) 7-6(4)

> VIEW: 18/u Australian Championships draws

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