Haywards and Pollini ace it

The
junior tennis scene has finally decided on its top boy players.

Brothers
William and Morgan Hayward, and Nicholas Polloni are the Cayman Islands’ top juniors.

The
boys emerged as the winners of their respective age groups after battling their
way through the recent sixth and final tennis tournament of the PWC-sponsored
2009-10 junior circuit. 

Hard-hitting
William Hayward, 14, and gutsy Nicholas Polloni, 9, both students at St.
Ignatius School, each won a free week’s coaching at Nick Bollettieri Tennis
Academy in Florida, one of the world’s best training schools for youngsters.
Morgan, 16, who has just completed three AS levels at St. Ignatius, received
two new top-grade tennis racquets as his reward.

William,
who topped 16 other players to dominate in the 13-and-under division, said the
week at Bollettieri was a “great opportunity” and he was very excited about it.
“I am going to make the most of every minute of the coaching week,” he said.

Polloni,
who is the youngest player on the junior circuit and beat a field of 17
competitors for the top slot in the 10-and-under division, was equally
delighted with the thought of attending the Bollettieri Academy, which is a sponsor
of the PWC junior circuit.

“My
goal from the beginning of the season was to win the trophy and the week at the
Bollettieri. I am very proud that I won,” he said. “I get butterflies in my
stomach when I think about going to the academy for a whole week.”

Morgan,
who just pipped Alex Leonard to win the 16-and-under division, started tennis
at age 6 at his local club in Wales. He hits the ball with plenty of pace and
top spin, moves well, and matches aggression with consistency. He would like to
pursue a sports-related career, he said, and hopes to win a sports scholarship
to university or a specialist training centre.

Sporting
prowess runs the in the Hayward family: Russell, the boys’ father, is physical
education master at John Gray High School, and has been his sons’ principal
coach and mentor. Morgan also plays rugby, golf, football “and any other sports
I can”.  Since the family (mother Elaine
also teaches at John Gray) moved to Cayman in September 2008, Morgan and
William have benefited from a weekly coaching session with Warren Urquhart.

“Warren
has had a big influence on the quality of tennis we produce, and our
understanding of the tactical aspects of the game,” said Morgan. He and William
practise together “most days of the week”.

Morgan
was full of praise for the Tennis Federation of the Cayman Islands for putting
together the islands’ first junior tennis circuit. Before its existence, junior
tournaments were rare, and young players had little to aim for.

“The
PWC circuit has had a great, improving impact on all the players’ games. The
standard has kept us working hard, and these regular competitive tournaments
have been an excellent focus for training. And the number of matches we get is
impressive considering Cayman’s limits,” he added.

Polloni
has certainly had his sights raised by all the competition. When he grows up,
he plans to be either a professional football or tennis player. “And when I
become a pro, I’ll want to be world number one,” he said. Nicholas is the son
of Tiffany and Paolo Polloni. He has a sister, Maddalena, 4, and two brothers,
Matteo, 11, whom Nicholas beat into second place in the 10-and-under division,
and Luca, 13, runner-up to William Hayward in the 13-and-under. The Polloni
trio is coached by Uli Hoppe, Thomas Neuert, Jonathan Crossan and Ilian Nachev
at the Ritz-Carlton, and Dale Avery at the Tennis Club.

“It’s
been a fabulous year for the junior circuit,” said Jeremy Superfine of the
TFCI. “The standard of play, and on-court behaviour among the juniors has been
impressive. The older players are producing mature, consistent, considered
tennis that’s exciting to watch, and the younger ones are coming on so well. I
think all the coaches involved agree that the circuit has improved standards
and given the players a strong focus, which was our aim.”

Signs
of improvement among players were “all the way down the line”, he said, adding,
“I hope that for the 2010-11 season, those juniors who have only played in one
or two tournaments this year will compete more. You have to be there to get the
matches in and build the confidence and experience in order to improve and
climb the rankings.”

Next
year, Superfine noted, the TFCI hopes to help some of the top juniors compete
in more overseas tournaments.

The
2010-11 junior tennis circuit season starts in September. Junior players wanting
to take part should email [email protected]

Junior
circuit rankings, final results:

10-and-under:
Champion: Nicholas Polloni 2) Matteo Polloni 3) Ben Ashman 4) Nicholas Leonard
5) James Green 6) Reese Hoeksema 7) Nathan McLaughlin 8) Kevin Woods 9) Cameron
Galloway 10) Emma Booker  11) Sean
Guitard 12) Dominic Dacosta 13=) Zachary Bodden, Ryan Lloyd 15=) Gyles Luke,
Graeme Hill, Kabir Chandi 18) James Marcher

13-and-under:
Champion: William Hayward 2) Luca Polloni 3) Edward Bodden 4) Josh Bolland 5)
Daniel Reid 6) Simon Butler 7) Jonathan Lumsden 8) Sebastian Pantin 9) Connor
Woods 10) Tynan Klein 11) Christopher Fletcher 12) Connor Hoeksema 13) Pierre
Lesieur 14) Sami Lang 15) Matthew Belfonte 16) Matthew Guitard 17) Piers Davies

16-
and-under: Champion: Morgan Hayward 2) Alex Leonard 3) Marc Reid 4) Patricia
Villarroel 5) Chris Courtis, 6=) James Feitelberg, Tyler Bell 8)Micheal Testori
9) Tyler Christian 10) Victoria Crawshaw 11) Manuel Gonzalez 12 Sheline Chandi

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