The 2012 edition of the Tennis Europe Winter Cups by HEAD has come to a close with Czech Republic, France, Great Britain and Russia all winning titles for a second consecutive year. HEAD has been the presenting sponsor of the competition since 2007. A number of HEAD stars feature in the event’s roll of honour, with Andy Murray, Richard Gasquet and Svetlana Kuznetsova amongst the former champions, while others such as Novak Djokovic and Tomas Berdych have also taken part.
HEAD also serves as Recommended Ball of the Tennis Europe Junior Tour, Official Partner of the European Junior Championships and presents the Tennis Europe Nations Challenge by HEAD 12 & Under team event.
Long established as the biggest indoor team event in tennis, the junior competition expanded even further in 2012, incorporating a 12 & Under event for the first time. The inclusion of the third age category meant that a record total of 175 national teams from all over Europe took part in the competition, which stretched over four consecutive weekends and was staged at 26 venues in 13 countries.
The 12 & Under players took centre stage first, with qualifying rounds taking place in late January ahead of finals from 10-12 February. Russian teams completely dominated the new age category, going unbeaten to claim both the girls’ and boys’ titles.
The following weekend of 17-19 February saw the titles decided in the remaining age categories. The performances of the Czech girls were particularly impressive, with both the 14 and 16 & Under teams making the most of home support to emerge victorious for the second time in three years.
The Boys 16 & Under finals in Ronchin (FRA) also led to a victory for the host nation. Runners-up in 2011, France went one better this time, beating Poland 2-0 to win the title for a record thirteenth time.
The Boys 14 & Under final in Correggio (ITA) between Great Britain and Sweden was hotly contested, and was the only one of the four events to require a decisive doubles match. After splitting the two singles matches, the four players returned to the court, where the Swedish team of Filip Malbasic & Mikael Yemer struck first, taking the first set 6-4 before Brits Jay Clarke & Samuel Ferguson mounted a fierce comeback, dropping just one game to level the match 6-1. The momentum stayed with the British pair during the final set, which they won 6-3 to ensure a Winter Cups title for their country for a third time in four years.
Full draws, results and photos from the competition can be found on the Tennis Europe website.