Harold Mayot lived up to his promise as the top seed by taking the Australian Open Boys singles championships on Saturday with a convincing 6-4 6-1 win over compatriot Arthur Cazaux.
Yeah, it was tough to play against him today, but it was great to play against a friend. I hope to play against him for the biggest trophies... It's an amazing feeling to win here in Australia. It means a lot to me. Harold Mayot
The newly-crowned boys’ champion from France dispatched his fellow countryman in clinical style on Rod Laver Arena in the first all-French junior boys’ final at a major since the 2004 Australian Open, overwhelming his good friend in just an hour and 7 minutes to claim his maiden Junior Grand Slam title.
“Yeah, it was tough to play against him today, but it was great to play against a friend,” said Mayot, who was a semi-finalist at Wimbledon in 2019.
“I hope to play against him for the biggest trophies,” added Mayot, who has practiced with French players including 2008 finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and 2016 quarter-finalist Gael Monfils.
Such was Mayot’s dominance that he did not face a single break point in the entire match, winning 78 per cent of his first serve points and charging forward 17 times to net, winning 12 of those points.
He struck 16 winners in the match overall, becoming the first French junior boy to capture a major since Geoffrey Blancaneaux at Roland Garros in 2016.
Cazaux and Mayot played doubles here together and have known one another since they were just 8 years old.
“It’s always tough to play against own teammate,” said Cazaux, the No 5 seed. “But, yes, he just was too good today on this court, he was more solid than me.”
Cazaux will play in the qualifying draw of the ATP event later this month in Marseille, while Mayot, who turns 18 on Tuesday, already has a ATP ranking of No 527 in the world, having made the quarter-finals at the Bendigo Challenger before the Australian Open.
He plans to play the juniors at Roland Garros in May, where he will be one of the favourites.
Mayot trains at the nearby national centre as part of the French Federation team there.
“He’s a very big worker, a very big fighter,” said Sebastien Poublet, Mayot’s physical trainer. “He loves tennis.
“He only speaks about tennis – all of the day. He’s looking to work harder every day. He’s watching tennis on his phone, on TV. He has the passion for it. That’s Harold.”
Mayot, coached by Thierry Tulasne, will oscillate between the junior and pro ranks, but his first major title is not lost on him, and both he and his team get emotional when discussing the hard work that went into his championship run.
“Yes, it means a lot to me,” he said. “We work very hard since so many years, since I’m young.
“It’s very hard work and here we are. It’s just the beginning and I hope to win a lot of title this year.”
The 17-year-old is already 177cm tall [5’ 9 1/2] and physically strong.
“It’s an amazing feeling to win here in Australia,” said Mayot, who relished the opportunity to compete at Rod Laver Arena.
“It means a lot to me.”
With his name now engraved on the same trophy previously lifted by countryman Gael Monfils as well as major champions including Stefan Edberg and Andy Roddick, Mayot is well satisfied with his week at Melbourne Park.
While he will be competing for the Roland Garros junior boys’ title to add to the silverware he has picked up here, Mayot plans to compete on the professional tour this year.