Israel’s Oliel nets prestigious Orange Bowl title
Oleil becomes the first Israeli boy to win the most celebrated junior event in the world.
YSHAI OLIEL Photo: Nike Junior Tour International/Reg Caldecott
Israeli tennis received some much-needed encouraging news on Sunday when Yshai
Oliel claimed the prestigious boys’ under-12 Orange Bowl tournament in Coral
Oliel defeated Patrick Sydow of Aruba 6- 3, 6-1 in the
final, becoming the first Israeli boy to win the most celebrated junior event in
the world, joining former champions of the likes of Jimmy Connors (1964) and
Andy Murray (1999).
“I’m really happy and excited,” said the jubilant
“I still can’t quite comprehend what I’ve achieved. This is
just the beginning for me.”
Oliel beat seven of the world’s best players
in his age group to lift the title, losing just one set on the way to the
Oliel will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Shahar Pe’er,
who was the only Israeli to win an Orange Bowl event until Sunday, claiming the
girls’ under-14 tournament in 2001.
“This is an amazing achievement,”
said Pe’er. “I met Yshai a year ago and I’ve heard many good things about him. I
hope he has a bright future, although it is tough to know what the future holds
“There are many players who won junior events and went on to
take Grand Slams, but it is very difficult. You need a lot of luck and he still
has a long way to go.”
Oliel’s coach Jan Puchar deserves as much credit
as anyone for Sunday’s triumph.
“I’m very proud of Yshai,” he said. “This
is part of a long process we began eight years ago and I’m happy it is all
coming to fruition. We hope there are many more achievements to come.”