BARCELONA, SPAIN: The Junior Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Finals, the world team championships for players aged 16 & under, get underway in Barcelona, Spain on Tuesday.
The Finals return to the Real Club de Polo for the first time since 2006 with this being the fifth time the Finals have been played in Barcelona.
The event is taking place at the same time as the Junior Fed Cup and a total of 16 boys’ and 16 girls’ teams, from 21 different countries, have booked their place in the finals. This year saw 183 teams from a total of 97 countries competing in tough regional qualifying competitions for a chance to play in the Finals.
The event begins with a round-robin competition, teams being divided into four groups of four teams. The winner of each group qualifies for the knock-out semi-finals, while the remaining nations go into play-offs and fight for position.
The Junior Davis Cup will see a new champion crowned as Great Britain’s reign over the event will come to an end, having failed to qualify for this year’s Finals.
One of the favourites to win the Junior Davis Cup by BNP Paribas is Italy. Runners-up in 2011, Italy returns to the Junior Davis Cup Finals as the winner of European qualifying and featuring the highest ranked player in the competition, Gianluigi Quinzi.
The current junior world number four, returns as the sole survivor from last year’s team and is joined by compatriots Filippo Baldi & Mirko Cutuli. Having reached the final for the first time last year, Italy will be determined to go one step further this year and claim its first title in the competition.
Australia reaches the Finals as Asia/Oceania champion with a new, young and talented team, who will look to emulate the 2009 team that won the title, captained by Mark Woodforde. This year also welcomes the return of Peru, last seen in this event in 2008 and making only its third appearance at the Finals.
Having won the title on a record six previous occasions, South American teams have often done well in the competition. Argentina, with a team containing the COSAT number one Francisco Bahamonde and number three Lautaro Pane could keep that tradition going.
The competition also sees a strong Brazil team. The trio contains the COSAT numbers two and seven, in the form of Marcelo Zormann da Silva and Rafael Fabris de Matos.
France should also be in contention for the title, with a team that only narrowly lost to Italy in qualifying. The team contains Johan Sebastien Tatlot and Quentin Halys, both players are ranked in the top 20 in Europe and in the ITF Junior top 100, and should provide formidable competition. France are one of the events most consistent performers, having won the title four times previously, and will be looking to claim its first title since 2005.
The draw and opening ceremony will take place on Monday from 1.00pm. Play will commence at 10.00am on Tuesday 25th September.