INVERLOCH’S Jack Clements put in a strong performance up against some of the best junior tennis players in the world at the 25th AGL Loy Yang Traralgon Junior International last week, winning his first qualifying match as the local wildcard.
In hot, sunny conditions and with the crowd on his side, the 17 year old played a beautiful, strong match against Germany’s Leopold Zima last Thursday, defeating the number 13 seed (ranked 100 in the world) in straight sets 6-4, 6-3.
In his second qualifying match on Friday, Jack needed to beat France’s Jaimee Floyd Angele to make it through to the main draw. Angele recently defeated current (junior) world number one Timofey Skatov, and although Jack started off strongly against the formidable opponent, and was up 4-3 at one stage, he ultimately went down 6-4, 6-2.
It was Jack’s first appearance at an International Tennis Federation (ITF) tournament, and even being selected as a wildcard was a major achievement, as 18 of Australia’s best juniors missed out on playing qualifying matches.
Out of six Australians that did play in qualifiers, Jack was the only one to win a match – an outstanding effort making him truly one to watch.
Having trained at Traralgon under coach Graham ‘Woofa’ Charlton since he was nine years old, Jack’s recent form has been the best in his career. He won the 18/U Boys singles in the 2017 Victorian Junior State Clay Court Championships, captained the Victorian team at the 2017 Pizzey Cup and was selected for the School Sports Victoria 2017 All Australian Team. He recently made the quarter finals at the Ballarat Platinum AMT and backed it up with making the semi-finals at the Geelong Victorian Grass Court Championships Platinum 15k.
The rising star is now ranked eighth in Australia in his age group and 102nd in open age. He plans to keep competing in AMTs (Australian Money Tournaments), with hopes to win a Platinum AMT in the near future.
Clements takes on world’s best