Tomic wins US Open junior title
Bernard Tomic has joined an elite group including Andy Roddick and Stefan Edberg to have completed the Australian Open-US Open junior grand slam double with an emphatic victory in the boys’ final in New York.
The third-seeded Australian needed barely an hour on Sunday to sweep past American Chase Buchanan 6-1 6-3 on the hardcourts of Flushing Meadows.
The victory is Tomic’s latest success in what has already been a record-breaking career for the 16-year-old.
At just 15 and three months, the Gold Coast prodigy last year became the youngest player ever to win a junior grand slam crown when he triumphed in Melbourne.
Then this year, Tomic became the youngest player in history to win a main-draw men’s singles match at Melbourne Park when he upstaged Italian Potito Starace in the first round.
The Stuttgart-born Tomic, who has spent the past three months honing his game at the esteemed IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida, is now the first player since Roddick in 2000 to reign in both New York and Melbourne.
Only four other players in tennis history have achieved the feat – Edberg, who went on to become world No.1 and a six-times grand slam champion in the professional ranks, Germans Nicolas Kiefer and Daniel Elsner and fellow Australian Mark Kratzmann.
Kratzmann was the most recent Australian junior to triumph at Flushing Meadows, having conquered Boris Becker in the 1984 final.
Tomic, though, will no doubt be hoping his career follows a more similar path to another Australian, Pat Cash, who won the 1982 US Open junior title and then, at just 19, held match points against Ivan Lendl in the senior semi-finals two years later.
Cash, of course, also won Wimbledon in 1987 and reached successive Australian Open finals in 1987-88.
Other more recent US Open junior champions include Andy Murray (2004), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (2003), Richard Gasquet (2002) and David Nalbandian, who defeated Roger Federer in the 1998 final.
Tomic said he was glad he had a late change of heart after almost skipping the event to focus on his professional career.
“Yeah, I was going to play the quallies [in the men’s event],” he said. “Then I said, ‘no, I’ll focus on the juniors to try and have a good shot at it’.
“Here I am now and I won it, so it’s great.”
The gifted teenager said his success had given him immense confidence to kick on now and make a strong first of making a successful transition to the pro ranks.
“To see big players’ names that have won this tournament over the past years, it’s great,” Tomic said.
“I don’t think I’ll play any more juniors. I’ve got to keep my head down in seniors and do well there.”
Buchanan, two years older than Tomic, arrived for the Sunday’s final with strong credentials, having won US national junior title to earn a wildcard into the men’s main draw.
He lost to Tsonga in the opening round and was also way out of his league against Tomic, who played some scintillating tennis to break the American four times and not once face a break point on his own serve.
“He started really well, and I thought it was going to be a tough match in the first few games,” Tomic said.
“But I think I figured him out quickly, and that was what made me win in straight [sets].”