Winning Junior Wimbledon Is ‘Crazy’, but It’s Still ‘Just the Juniors’

WIMBLEDON, England — As Novak Djokovic and Matteo Berrettini performed the first set of the Wimbledon males’s singles closing Sunday afternoon on Centre Court, two younger Americans have been wrapping up the boys’ singles closing, 100 yards and likewise a world away.

In the first all-American boys’ singles closing at the All England Club since 2014, Samir Banerjee of Basking Ridge, N.J., defeated Victor Lilov 7-5, 6-Three on No. 1 Court.

Banerjee, 17, dropped his racket and put his fingers on his head in disbelief when he transformed his third championship level, wanting very like every other Grand Slam winner as soon as he turned “Samir Banerjee, Wimbledon champion.”

“It has a good ring to it,” Banerjee stated with amusing in an interview. “It’s loopy. I don’t assume it’s actually sunk in but. I do know it’s going to be there ceaselessly now. It’s quite a bit. It’s superb. But it’s simply the juniors, you realize?

“Obviously it’s an excellent accomplishment, but it’s motivating me to attempt to play execs and attempt to get my identify as a males’s singles champion,” he added. “It’s a great feeling.”

Both gamers have been unseeded in the draw and signify a stunning success for American tennis because it desperately seeks one other high males’s participant. Andy Roddick’s 2003 U.S. Open win stands as the final main singles title for an American man.

But three of the top-four ranked American males, led by No. 32 Reilly Opelka, have been boys’ singles Grand Slam champions of their youth. Opelka received at Wimbledon in 2015 and Taylor Fritz received at the U.S. Open that very same 12 months. Sebastian Korda received the 2018 Australian Open boys title.

Winning a junior Grand Slam title takes appreciable expertise, but doesn’t assure a profitable skilled profession. Looking at the checklist of boys’ singles title winners at a Grand Slam is a mixture of a “who’s who” and simply “who?”

Roger Federer received the Wimbledon boys’ singles title in 1998, but no winner since has developed to win a males’s title right here. Ashleigh Barty, a 2011 champion on the women’ facet, received the girls’s singles title right here on Saturday, turning into simply the third girl to have received each.

The final two gamers in an All-American Wimbledon boys’ closing seven years in the past have but to crack the high 100. While Banerjee and Lilov performed, the 2014 champion Noah Rubin, now ranked 286th, was ready to play a qualifying match in Newport, R.I. The 2014 runner-up, Stefan Kozlov, is now ranked 347th. In his most up-to-date event final week, he reached the closing of a Futures occasion in Weston, Fla., but the closing was rained out.

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The 2013 Wimbledon boys’ champion, Gianluigi Quinzi of Italy, not too long ago retired from the sport at age 25.

“When you win so much as a young man, losing becomes a tragedy,” Quinzi advised Gazzetta dello Sport in an interview earlier this month.

Even inside attracts, the crops may be combined. Three of the 4 semifinalists from the 2016 Wimbledon boys’ occasion have established themselves in the ATP high 20: Stefanos Tsitsipas, Denis Shapovalov and Alex de Minaur. The fourth semifinalist, the American Ulises Blanch, has but to crack the high 200.

Banerjee, proper, and Lilov have been the first Americans to face one another in a closing since 2014.Credit…Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Lilov, who stated he had “wasted a lot of time on the internet” previous junior outcomes, stated he knew that his success at Wimbledon wouldn’t essentially carry ahead.

“A lot of the juniors that did well here did go on to become good pros, but a lot of them didn’t go on to become good pros,” Lilov stated. “And some who didn’t do well or didn’t even play became top pros, so I don’t think this tournament is really going to determine my career path. It could help boost it, but it’s up to me to see what I do, and if I improve my game enough.”

Banerjee, a rising highschool senior, has dedicated to taking part in collegiate tennis for Columbia University. He stated his win on Sunday would encourage him to enter extra professional tournaments.

“College is still in the picture right now, but I’ll try to play a couple pro tournaments and see how it’s going,” he stated. “I think I can decide on what I want to do in my future after that. Even if I go to college, I’ll definitely try to give it a shot on the pro tour after college, for sure.”

Lilov, who was born in London, Ontario, to Bulgarian dad and mom and now lives in Delray Beach, Fla., turned skilled three years in the past at age 14.

“It’s just a junior tournament,” he stated. “We’ll see who develops their game the most.”