Okay so I admit it - New Zealand lacks a quality tennis player aged 17, 18. Infact we have only one 16 year old who is making any small sort mark on tour, she recently won our recent Under 18 National Championship. Among other titles...
So as at February 3rd 2009 here is my predictions for the top juniors
Tanya Samodelok - 19.10.1994
Okay, so not officially a kiwi..yet. She's had some brilliant results last year on the junior tour...and her statistics speak for themselves. 22 wins (17 in straight sets), 4 loses (2 to eventual champion). Will get stronger with age and when she does...well I doubt it will take her long to crack into the top 200.
Current junior ranking: 265
Prediction for end of 2009: 75
Katherine Westbury - 14.03.1993
Top prospect has to be Kathie Westbury. No doubt in my mind, she's a Christchurch girl (
) and has a great understand of how the game should be played. Loves to wrong foot players...lacks power and when I saw her play last year she did get intimidated a bit against the power hitters.
Current junior ranking: 117
Prediction for end of 2009: 50
Has played in four 10k events so far, qualifying in three out of four (losing in 3rd set tiebreak of the final qualifying round in the other). Best result reaching the quarterfinal.
Current womens ranking: Unranked
Prediction for end of 2009: 1000
Leela Beattie - 09.02.1994
Another Cantabrian (Timaru), last week shocked most of us to make the final of the G4 Canterbury Event. Oh and she made the final of the doubles too, a pity she couldn't take either title. I've been through Timaru HEAPS of times, everytime I've stopped there I was amazed how calm everyone was. I simply don't know where she gets her competitivness from. I'm worried that she could turn into one of those girls that performs really well in New Zealand, but sucks overseas. Will be interesting to see how she goes.
Current junior ranking: 873
Prediction for end of 2009: 200
Emily Fanning - 13.06.1995
ALOT has been said about Emily already despite her young age. She's already competed not just New Zealand and Australia but over in Europe and America as well (at under 12 events) and produced some very good results. Last year at age 13 years old and not even 1 month she made it to the semifinals of the New Zealand 18 & Under Indoor Championship - Impressive stuff! (losing to Briar Preston, in 2 very close sets).
Current junior ranking: 1030
Prediction for end of 2009: 300
Briar Preston - 10.02.1993
Made it to the final of the New Zealand 18 & Under Indoor Championship last year, and then didn't play for the better part of 6 months...Now she's back and got the best result for a kiwi since the Ellen/Sacha era making the Quarters of the Traralgon International G1 Junior tournament. Beating among other Kamanskaya (who won her previous title).
Was a bit unlucky imo not to be given a Qualifying wildcard to the ASB Classic, however it was nice to see her there watching some of the matches.
I'm personally not a big fan of her game, shes a bit of a weak Meusburger...but she's only 16, if she works hard she could certainly be a top 200 player in the future (and I ain't just talking about in juniors!)
Current junior ranking: 219
Prediction for end of 2009: 100
In terms of the rest - I can't see much at this stage.