Israeli tennis star Yshai Oliel became the ninth male to capture both the 12s and 14s titles yesterday at the Junior Orange Bowl International in Florida..
(photo credit: ITA/COURTESY)
Israel’s 14-year-old tennis prodigy Yshai Oliel proved once more why he is regarded as the future of his sport in the country on Tuesday, becoming just the ninth boy to capture both the 12s and 14s titles at the Junior Orange Bowl International in Florida.
The Junior Orange Bowl International Tennis Championship has a rich history of bringing the world’s most promising young tennis players to Coral Gables, and is regarded as the unofficial world championships for youth players.
Oliel, who won the 12s tournament two years ago and was the No. 1 seed this year, beat Taiwan’s Chen-jui Ho 7-5, 7-5 in Tuesday’s final.
Past champs include Roger Federer and Andy Murray, who won the Boys 12s in 1999 and last year became the one to end Britain’s 77-year drought on the Wimbledon men’s title.
Likewise, Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro won the Boys 14s in 2002 and was crowned US Open champion just seven years later. Other notables include reigning US Open champ Marin Cilic, Chris Evert, Andre Agassi, Monica Seles, Jim Courier, Andy Roddick and Caroline Wozniacki.
Oliel became the second Israeli to win a 14s event at the Orange Bowl, with Shahar Pe’er claiming the girls 14s tournament in 2001.
“This is an even bigger achievement than two years ago and places Yshai among the top three players in the world in his age group,” said Israel Tennis Association CEO Shlomo Glickstein. “This is huge for us and there is no doubt that should Yshai continue to work hard his path to the top is far more secure.”
Oliel is held in such high regard that he was invited to join the Israel Davis Cup squad’s training in Florida earlier this year, ahead of the World Group playoff tie against Argentina.
“We are honored to have such a sportsman,” said ITA chairman Asi Tuchmayer. “The ITA is proud not only of his professionalism on court and his talent but also of the strong character he has displayed. We will do everything to continue and support him and give him everything he needs to go as far as possible and represent Israel with honor.”