Arthur Fery, who hails from Wimbledon, and Kent’s Emma Raducanu claimed the British Masters titles at the NTC in Roehampton on Saturday.
I’m pretty ambitious - there are a lot of 17-year-olds out there who are better than me. There are top 100 WTA players, so that’s where you want to be. It’s just if my game can follow, but I think the progress that I’m making at the moment that isn’t too far out of the question. I really do believe I can do it. I think I’ve still got at least 15 years in the sport, but I would want to be peaking in my 20s when I’m about 23. Emma Raducanu
Fery, who was unseeded and took out the top two seeds to en route his title win, was born to two French parents and his father Loïc is the president of FC Lorient ,while his mother Olivia competed for France in the Fed Cup and played on the WTA Tour.
The 18-year-old plays to enjoy himself and lists the aggressive and unique styles of the likes of Nick Kyrgios and Gael Monfils as his favourites.
Rounding off play on Day 1 of the two day event, Fery dominated in the first set against Michael Shaw, losing just one game, but the second proved somewhat closer, although Shaw was unable to break serve to get back into the match.
Fery won in straight sets to move into the next round, 6-1 6-3.
The semi-final pitched Fery against the top seed Anton Matusevich, who fought hard in the first set, managing to stay toe-to-toe with the 18-year old at the start until he was eventually broken.
The gap in their rankings didn’t faze Fery as he broke again in the second to extend his lead and rode out the match into the final, 6-4 6-3, where he faced second seeded Luke Johnson.
The youngster once again found his opponent staying with him at the get-go, but eventually Fery broke through to claim the opening set, and while Johnson tried to regroup in the second, he could not get past Fery’s dominating play, who claimed the title, 6-4 6-1.
The win caps off a good year fro Frey, despite the difficulties the pandemic and he ends it ranked No 12 in the Junior World Rankings after a tournament win in Kazan, Russia in March, and trips to the third round at the Australian Open and Roland-Garros.
This added to three tournament wins in 2019 and a trip to the semi-finals of the boys’ doubles in Australia along with British partner Felix Gill.
After the win in Russia, Fery was unable to continue his form into the spring due to the coronavirus lockdown, but it didn’t halt his progress.
“Everything kind of stopped just after the tournament in March,” Frey said recently. “In one way it was a bit of a shame because I was playing well on a good little streak but I enjoyed the whole lockdown period.
“It meant that I could rest a little bit as I’d had quite a hefty start to the year.
“I had gone to Australia and then I went to Russia pretty fast after that, so those three months did a lot of good for me.
“I rested a lot, did a lot of fitness and obviously didn’t play much tennis, I was able to recharge the batteries really and then go again in the summer.”
The LTA setting up the British Masters series has proved a big help to players such as Frey, who managed to win four titles in quick succession while playing 33 matches in two and a half months against some of the best players in Britain, including World No 297 Jack Draper.
“I got a lot of practice in and I managed to play some really good tennis,” Fery said. “My mind was fresh, obviously I hadn’t competed in quite a while, and I kept the momentum going from that tournament in March.”
Roland-Garros looked like a great opportunity to show off his talents to the world, but Fery ran into the eventual winner Dominic Stephan Stricker in the third round.
“Obviously playing a junior slam is always a great experience and that was the last one that I hadn’t played,” he said.
“It was obviously in kind of different circumstances this year with Covid, with the lack of fans you could distinguish between players pretty fast.
“We couldn’t be onsite if we didn’t have a match on the day so there weren’t actually that many people around.
“We were around all the pros and it’s always good to see how they practice and how they hold themselves off court.
“We were sharing the same restaurant and the same common spaces.”
Bromley’s Emma Raducanu was the top seed in the women’s event and she had little difficulty in dispatching Grace Piper, 6-2 6-1, dominated both sets.
Raducanu may be only 18 but already has impressive easy power, with a brutal first serve, heavy hitting off the ground, and aggressive returning instincts that turning her into a real prospect.
Anne Keothavong, Captain of Britain’s Billie Jean Cup team, sees Raducanu as a teenager with immense promise – if she stays fit.
“She’s got something special,” Keothavong says, “but the immediate concern for me is her competing on a regular basis, and looking after her body.
“Probably the biggest problem we have with young players is the number of injuries they sustain from a young age, which I find quite worrying.”
Raducanu is already in the Team GB squad ahead of the home Play-Off against Mexico in April.
In the semi-final she was due to face Sonay Kartal, who was unable to take to the court for the match, so the top seed received a walkover into the British Masters final.
There Raducanu took on Marni Banks, who had taken out Alicia Barnett in the semi-final 6-3, 6-2, the second seed, in the other semi-final.
The first set was all one way traffic for Raducanu, who broke the Banks serve at will, and although the second proved much closer, the top seed secured the crucial break of serve required and took the title, 6-1 6-4.
Raducanu is now setting her sights on the Grand Slams.
“My long-term goals is tennis are to be top ten in the world and win Slams – they’re my ultimate dreams and I definitely think I have the mentality to do it,” she told KentOnline recently.
“I’m pretty ambitious – there are a lot of 17-year-olds out there who are better than me. There are top 100 WTA players, so that’s where you want to be.
“It’s just if my game can follow, but I think the progress that I’m making at the moment that isn’t too far out of the question.
“I really do believe I can do it. I think I’ve still got at least 15 years in the sport, but I would want to be peaking in my 20s when I’m about 23.”
British Tour Masters Results
Round 1: Luke Johnson (2) d Sean Hodkin, 6-3 6-7(2) [10-5], Jonathan Gray d Joseph Newman-Billington, 6-3 6-3; Anton Matusevich (1) d Daniel Little, 6-2 6-4; Arthur Frey d Michael Shaw, 6-1 6-3
Semi-finals: Johnson (2) d Gray, 6-3 6-4; Frey d Matusevich (1), 6-4 6-3
Final: Frey d Johnson, 6-4 6-1
Round 1: Alicia Barnett (2) d Katherine Barnes, 6-3 6-1; Marni Banks d Emma Wilson, 6-3 7-6(7); Sonay Kartal d Nadia Rawson, 6-2 6-1; Emma Raducanu (1) d Grace Piper, 6-2 6-1
Semi-finals: Raducanu (1) d Kartai, W/O; Banks d Barnett (2), 6-3 6-2
Final: Raducanu (1) d Banks, 6-1 6-4