Local points for the generation of more Mexican tennis players. The Mexican Tennis Federation (FMT) brought to the country a total of 25 tournaments of the ITF World Tennis Tour Juniors for young people between 13 and 18 years old to be held throughout 2022; This means that Mexican talents will be able to start adding points for the junior world ranking from home, since many times, the growth of tennis players is slowed down due to the impossibility of traveling abroad to achieve it.
Currently, the highest ranked Mexican tennis player in the ITF Junior ranking is Rodrigo Pacheco Méndez, who finished 2020 as number 212 and is currently number 14. During the 2021 season he won five ITF World Tennis Tour Juniors singles titles and three doubles titles. ; six of the 20 tournaments he played that year were in Mexico, where he also won four of his titles. At the beginning of 2022, the 16-year-old Mexican youth reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open Jr.
Mexico is part of a mini-tour this year that began at the end of January in Morelos and continued in Querétaro, Zapopan, Monterrey, Tampico and will end in Cancún. The idea, according to Mario Marín, president of the Monterrey Tennis Associationis that European players and players from other latitudes play three or four tournaments in a row in our country with a single plane ticket and that Mexican tennis players have the opportunity to participate in the pre-qualy and the qualy to find a place in the main draw, made up of 64 players who access by their position in the ranking.
“In this type of tournament, the ones with the least chance were the Mexicans. There were those who traveled to South America, the United States, Egypt and the Middle East trying to find slightly easier tournaments for those who are just starting out and have points, but it is very expensive because in these tournaments you practically lose and leave,” said Marín.
The Monterrey Tennis Association was assigned two J5 category events, the lowest on the circuit, one in February and one in August. For the date of February, in the pre-qualy 50 men and 30 Mexican women registered. The organization gave the first four places in the pre-qualy of each branch a wild card to the main draw and places five through eight were given a place in the qualy.
“Three years ago there began to be more tournaments in Mexico and that helps a lot for players to begin to have an international presence, to see their level and to be able to compete with players from other countries without having to travel abroad to get points. If they do well here, traveling to a J3, J4 and that helps you save a lot, that’s very important, having the tournaments at home” he said Eduardo Veléz, Mexican former Wimbledon junior champion and director of Vélez Academy.
This represents an important difference from when Veléz competed as a youth, in the eighties. He highlights that even technology plays an essential role, since now it is easier to know the calendar and location of the events where the tournaments will take place. The ITF page indicates that, until 2018, Mexico hosted half of the tournaments that are now taking place.
“When I competed there were many fewer tournaments, I didn’t do a circuit like the one that is done now because there weren’t that many tournaments worldwide. I competed a year in about five or no more than seven youth tournaments and now the players who are very involved or the best in the world travel and play more than 10 or 15 tournaments.
The former tennis player pointed out that a player with a good level of competition needs to participate in approximately 15 and 20 tournaments a year to continue climbing: “The more games you play, it helps you gain more confidence, experience and climb higher in tournaments. level”.
For the generation of more Mexican tennis players, Veléz indicated that although there are some public spaces and some clubs open the doors for the practice of tennis, a massive program with public courts is also required and that children at an early age can enter the sport with minimum quotas, good bases and fundamentals.
To host these junior events, the FMT covers a fee of 150 dollars, according to Marín, so the most relevant cost is the organization of the event, since it includes expenses such as the purchase of balls, paying certificates or the cost of referees.
The association mainly seeks in-kind support, “we have sponsors such as HEB, Olimpo with medical service and physiotherapists, HRT with the theme of strings, food service people, the Wyndham Hotel, the clubs that are part of the association that supports us with players, Coca-Cola with hydration”, additionally, the players are also charged a registration fee of 55 dollars.
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