Antalya, Turkey, 2 May 2024 | Leigh Rogers

The Australian junior team is feeling confident about its chances at the upcoming World Team Cup in Turkey.

Benjamin Wenzel, a 17-year-old from Cairns, will represent Australia alongside two Melburnians, 17-year-old Yassin Hill and 15-year-old Jin Woodman.

The trio are aiming to improve on the fourth-place finish they recorded together at last year’s World Team Cup, which is one of the most prestigious events on the wheelchair tennis calendar.

“I think we’re coming into the event this year in Turkey with a good chance of producing some very good results,” Wenzel said.

“We are more of a team this year than we were last year. We were a bit raw last year, being a pretty new team and not having done a lot with the guys in a team setting.

“But I’ve gone through a lot with Jin and Yassin over the last year. We’ve been on a couple of trips to Masters together and we’ve done a lot more as a team.

“We’re quite a cohesive unit now and we’ve got each other’s backs. To win it with those guys would mean the world to me.”

All three Australians are currently ranked inside the top 10 in the ITF world junior wheelchair tennis rankings (Hill at No.4, Wenzel at No.6 and Woodman at No.7) and are pushing each other to greater heights.

“Over the last 12 months Jin and Yassin’s performances have gone through the roof. They’re playing really good,” Wenzel acknowledged.

“We’re all playing some of the best tennis of our lives, so as a team, I’m very happy with where we’re all at.”

Wenzel has experienced World Team Cup success before, as part of the triumphant Australian team in 2022.

“It was one of my biggest achievements winning the first time,” Wenzel said.

“This is Yassin’s last year (in juniors) and my second last year, so knowing that, it’s a big driver for us as a friend group and a team to win this year. It would mean a lot to him and to me as well.”

The opportunity to don the green and gold adds further inspiration.

“It’s the biggest honour you can have as any athlete in any sport,” Wenzel acknowledged.

“It means the world to me as an athlete to know that I’ve made it to that level and it’s definitely a driver to keep going.”

Wenzel, who made his Grand Slam debut in the junior event at last year’s US Open, is aware of the responsibilities that come with representing his nation.

“I know we’ve had quite a strong reputation as juniors at the World Team Cup and we have a strong reputation to uphold in terms of our manners, ability and strength,” he said.

Wenzel is also juggling full-time school commitments, as a Year 11 student, while competing on the world stage.

“It’s a very big course load for as much tennis and travel as what I do,” said Wenzel, who is also studying one Year 12 subject (business) this year.

The World Team Cup, played on clay courts in Antalya, begins on 7 May and concludes on 12 May.

Australia is also represented in the quad wheelchair division for the first time in six years, with world No.5 Heath Davidson competing alongside 22-year-old Finn Broadbent.

“To have them as extra support, and to have them with their experience watching us and mentoring us, I think as a group of juniors it is very important and is very good for us,” Wenzel said.

“Heath is my idol and was my biggest inspiration when I was starting wheelchair tennis, so it’s exciting he’ll be there with Finn, who is an up-and-coming player and also a big mentor of mine.”

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