Italian Open Preview
All eyes will be on Italy next week as some of the world’s top juniors converge in Milan for the 46th Trofeo Bonfiglio “Campeonati Internazionali d’Italia”. The Italian Open is the last Grade A event before the players head to Roland Garros, and all of them will be hoping to get themselves into peak form in time for the second Grand Slam of the year.
Top seed in the boys’ event will be world No. 1 Donald Young of the USA, who returns to the ITF Junior Circuit after taking his first steps onto the ATP Tour. Young, winner of the Australian Open in January, has been one of the biggest talking points in tennis this year, but he has never played the Italian Open and the other players will be hoping to take advantage of his lack of experience on red clay. Chief among the challengers will be world No. 3 Leonardo Mayer (ARG) and No. 5 Sergei Bubka (UKR). Mayer is as comfortable on clay as one would expect from an Argentine – he has won 32 of his last 34 matches on the surface in a run that has seen him win four clay-court titles this year, including the Grade A Banana Bowl and Grade 1 Asuncion Bowl. Young will certainly have to be on top form to get past the Rafael Nadal of the junior circuit. Although Bubka prefers hard courts, he also knows how to play on clay, having been a semifinalist in Milan last year. He will be hoping to do even better this time around.
Other players hoping to stake their claim among the favourites for Roland Garros are Brazilian Andre Miele, three times a finalist on clay this year, and Belgian Niels Desein, winner of the Grade 1 International Junior Championships of Croatia on clay in March.
Daily reports and photographs will be available on the website throughout the week.