Pretoria - Rising South African tennis sensation, Philip Henning, will get his Junior French Open campaign underway on Sunday.
The Roland Garros event follows Henning’s recent ‘warm-up’ tournaments in Europe - the ITF (International Tennis Federation) Grade 1 and Grade A, in Italy.
Speaking from Paris, Henning said the two Italian ITF tournaments played over the last fortnight were a good preparation for the Junior French Open.
“I’m very excited and looking forward to playing at Roland Garros. I feel very comfortable on clay now, especially after having played at the two Grade 1 and A ITF tournaments in Italy, which were both on that surface.”
This is Henning’s second Junior Grand Slam appearance of the year.
The Grey College learner qualified for the Junior Australian Open main draw in Melbourne in January, where he impressed by reaching the last 16 of the singles and the quarter-finals of the doubles.
Meanwhile in March he was crowned Under-18 African Junior Champion on the north African clay in Morocco. On his way to the title, he fought back from being 0-6, 0-3 down in his semi-final to win the match.
“Philip is gaining more confidence on a surface on which he has had limited exposure. His ability to compete and stay positive against all odds, coupled with his great conditioning and tenacity will serve him well and will possibly make up for the deficit on clay court hours,” added Gustav Fichardt, the head of the Gustav Fichardt Academy in Bloemfontein, where Henning trains.
The 17-year-old is one of 15 players from 13 countries who received the first-ever ITF Junior Player Grants earlier this year, to assist with travels on the international junior circuit.
He is set to return home for two weeks after the French Open to attend to his matric, before he starts his grass court preparations for Junior Wimbledon.