Hewett and Jones start 2013 at top of world rankings
Great Britain’s Alfie Hewett and Lauren Jones are starting 2013 as the world No. 1 junior wheelchair tennis players after the International Tennis Federation published the first world rankings of the New Year today.
Hewett ended 2012 at No. 3 in the junior boys’ rankings, behind Argentina’s senior world No. 5 Gustavo Fernandez and Agustin Ledesma, the player Hewett defeated at the end of January 2012 to win the Cruyff Foundation Junior Masters, which he has again qualified for in 2013.
With Fernandez and Ledesma having both turned 18 in 2012 they are no longer eligible for junior competition this season, meaning that Hewett now becomes the top ranked junior player at just 15 years old.
Seventeen-year-old Jones, who only started playing tennis three years ago, ended 2012 as world No. 4 in the junior girls’ rankings, but the three players ranked above her at the end of last season are now also too old for junior competition, meaning that the Sussex player starts her final year as a junior in the top spot.
Hewett won four senior men’s singles titles at ITF Futures Series level in 2012 and improved his senior world ranking to No. 56. Meanwhile, Jones has also had a fine 2012 as she became the youngest player ranked inside the top 50 of the women’s senior world rankings.
The pair will be hoping to follow the successful path of Paralympians Gordon Reid and Jordanne Whiley, who also topped the world boys’ and girls’ rankings respectively as juniors.
“This is a great way to start 2013 and, after both having fine seasons in 2012, Alfie and Lauren have already demonstrated their tremendous potential,” said Geraint Richards, the Tennis Foundation’s Head of Disability Player Performance.
“For them to follow in the footsteps of Gordon and Jordanne to attain the world No. 1 junior ranking shows the quality of the players we have coming through the Tennis Foundation’s junior performance programme. We’re committed to getting more young people playing wheelchair tennis and Alfie and Lauren are both inspirational role models for anyone thinking of taking up the sport.”