Our weekly feature, Brits of the Week, assesses the three most impactful British players from the week just gone, in the opinion of our correspondent Sam Barker.
You know what, after such a busy week of success, let’s hear less of my useless, introductory ramblings and get straight into the nitty-gritty of which Brits shone brightest this week.
#3 – Jonny O’Mara – Greece F5 Futures: Runner-Up
My sympathy levels for players who suffer long term injuries is at an all time high as I enter my seventh month where I am personally unable to wield a racket – (due to injury, not incompetency). So it really was with heartfelt pleasure that I watched Jonny O’Mara progress through to his first ever ITF Futures final this week in the midst of the Mediterranean.
Armed with a new technifibre racket, Jonny has started earning the results to back up his undeniable talent. Squeaking into the main draw as the last direct entry he advanced to the final, dispatching two seeds on the way – including top seed Darian King, who was forced to withdraw during their semi-final encounter. In the final, Jonny put up an inspired fight against fellow Brit, Lloyd Glasspool, but lost in a third set tie-break – (not without saving at least one superb match point).
Decent way to save match point even if it is 6-2 down in breaker. Bonus that the line judges know what to do as well pic.twitter.com/JP1D7NNKKA
— Jonny O’Mara (@Jonny_OMara) April 24, 2016
Any British tennis fan will be delighted by Jonny’s progress this week. Blessed with a natural talent but limited by a wretched string of injuries, Jonny will be hoping that this marks a turning point. A new career high is confirmed once the points from this tournament are registered and from there it should be easier be easier to progress as he will avoid the arduous process of qualifying for tournaments.
#2 – Lloyd Glasspool – Greece F5 Futures (10K): Champion
Off the top of my head, I can’t think of another Brit who has made it into Brits of the Week more times than Lloyd and quite frankly, I’m running out of superlatives for the Brummie lad. The difference between this week and the last few times he’s made it on here is that this time he actually has a trophy to show for it.
Lloyd had lost his last couple of finals so getting his hands on silverware this time round was vitally important. Avoiding seeds all week certainly helped but not getting upset by lower ranked players is the mark of a player’s consistency and mental fortitude. His 31 aces against Jonny in the final was also a very nice reminder about the potency of his serve.
Those ranking points should carry him just inside the top #350 in the world and well within entry range for a few challenger events. Realistically that is where Lloyd needs to turn his attention to because he has proved he is a more than capable Futures player so now needs to test his ability at the next level. Did someone say Wimbledon Wildcard? I think so.
#1 – Katie Boulter – $10,000 Sharm el Sheikh: Champion
After only a handful of tourneys thrilled to get the 10k title today! Another stepping stone, and many more others to come 🏆 @BritishTennis
— Katie Boulter (@KatieBoulter1) April 24, 2016
Well, it’s fair to say that Katie isn’t hanging around. The Brit appears to be desperately trying to make up for lost time as she seeks to return to her career high of 340 in the world. Her performance in Egypt this week will have done absolutely nothing to hurt her chances of getting back there sooner rather than later.
As with Jonny, Katie crept into the draw as the lowest ranked entrant but made the most of her opportunity. Three times she came up against seeded players; three times she breezed past them. In fact, it was not until the final against third seeded Anastasia Pribylova that Katie even dropped a set. Furthermore, she recovered from 5-3 down in the decider to eventually win 7-5. Talk about a steely grit!
Above everything else, it is great to see Katie back on a tennis court. To see success come so quickly is an added bonus. The win will carry her to around the #750 mark in the rankings but more importantly will provide a superb mental boost going forward. Fully fit and in form, Katie is now a dangerous prospect in any draw. Can she make it back-to-back titles this week?
Just Missed Out
— SkiEd (@SkiEd95) April 24, 2016
Eden Richardson – – The only other Brit to claim an ITF title this week, winning the G4 Juniors in Nottingham. The top seed was expected to win and delivered in style.
Richard Gabb – A super run to the final in Turkey for the fourth seed. Comprehensively beaten by the third seed though.
Anton Matusevich – This fourteen year old is a name to remember and is one of the hottest prospects amongst the British juniors. A fine runner-up performance in Nottingham this week.
Josh Sapwell – After fruitless searches for an ATP ranking point in recent months the Brit successfully turned his head towards the AEGON Tour, claiming the title in Bournemouth.
Jake Hersey – Reached the semi-finals in his first G3 of the year, his highest ever finish at this level. The 15 year old is having a very solid 2016 so far.
With a whole host of titles and superb performances this week I would not be surprised if my decisions are met with disagreement by you guys. So the only question left is who was your Brit of the Week?