Just back from my annual pilgrimage to Tarbes for Les Petits As, where the worlds best u14's gather each January.
- Standard this year looked to be on the way back up overall - I felt the last couple of years the over all standard was lower (although the winners and finalists were exceptionally good - Marta Kostyuk has just won junior Aussie aged 14 for example).
- Grinders still going deep in both boys and girls draws, but the shot makers are coming (and winning this year).
- Two camps - kids who stand 2m behind the baseline and hit everything on the drop and kids who are glued to the baseline and looking to go early.
- The best decision makers and those who kept the coolest heads (at least outwardly) went furthest in the draws.
- Both winners this year (boys and girls) were very measured in their building of points, and pounced on anything that could be put away.
- Boys still way more comfortable coming forwards and finishing at the net.
- Too many kids looking to their coaches after every single point - symptomatic of directive coaching.
- Boys are serving big - not uncommon to see 120mph serves.
- Slice backhand spears a dying art
- French kids all have flair!
- The girls winner and the SF'ist from the US I would expect to see on tour and doing very well in the future - the US girl is only 12 and looks to have serious potential.