The presentation – photo of the press office
Spring at Santa Croce Tennis Club explodes in all its glory for eight days as it does every year and prepares to welcome the best of the planet’s youth tennis scene. From May 13th to 20th the 43rd edition of the Mauro Sabatini ITF Youth Tournament “Città di Santa Croce” will take place, organized by the Tc Santa Croce sull’Arno (Pisa), the most important international junior tournament in Italy after the Bonfiglio and the only a “J300” (new designation of class 1) within the youth world championship held in our country.
This year there will be five top-20 of the ITF rankings, representing the best in the world tennis movement: Mexican Rodrigo Pacheco Mendez, number 5 in the world, will be the leader of a heterogeneous patrol, for an authentic tour of the globe, touching each and every five continents.
A GENERATION OF SANTA CROCE PHENOMENA – Over time, the Santa Croce Internationals bring more and faster champions to the main tournament. Suffice it to say that many representatives of the current generation of phenomena, protagonists of the rise to the top of the world, passed by the Cerri only a few years ago. The upper part of the men’s draw of the prestigious Montecarlo Master 1000, which ended just a month ago, was literally dominated by former participants of the Pisan tournament. Danish finalist Vitus Holger Rune, world No. 7, was the last winner at Santa Croce in the pre-pandemic edition (2019). The warm blue derby in the quarterfinals between Jannik Sinner and Lorenzo Musetti, the latter returning after defeating world no , the current No. 1 in Italy and No. 8 in the world had to raise the white flag before taking the field because of flu.
The trend of recent years is no exception, if anything its acceleration is surprising. The Santa Croce international event has always been a breeding ground for future champions: up to 21 tennis players who have attended Santa Croce have gone on to win at least one Grand Slam tournament, and up to 15 have enjoyed the glory of first place at that tournament and world no is the Russian Daniil Medvedev,
landed in Tuscany in 2014 with a suitcase full of dreams and defeated Simone Roncalli on his debut in a feat that will surely not be remembered. Santa Croce has also left its mark on the women’s movement, with its eight future No. 1 players in the world, including the current ruler of the circuit, the Pole Iga Swiatek, winner of the last edition of Roland Garros and the US Open and semi-finalist at the Cerris in 2016.
PARTICIPANT LIST – The favorite at the internationals of this edition will be the Mexican Rodrigo Pacheco Mendez (number 5 in the world, already represented at Santa Croce 2022, passed by Federico Bondioli in the quarter-finals), a strong increase as shown by the final and the victory in the last two “Grade A” tournaments in Merida and Plantation. Pacheco meets Bulgarian Adriano Dzhenev (world No. 13) and Japan’s Rei Sakamoto (No. 14 in the world), while among the unknown names Reda Bennani deserves attention, a 16-year-old Moroccan who won a sensational a month ago Victory against the ATP number 150 Vit Kopriva and was already ready for the “big” round. In women, there is a challenge between tennis players from Eastern Europe, Czech Tereza Valentova (13th in the world) and Slovakia’s Renata Jamrichova (18th in the world).
As for the Azzurri athletes, at the moment three are entitled to the main draw based on their placements: Federico Cinà, Alessandra Teodosescu and Emma Ottavia Ghirardato. So curious to see the Sicilian at work, born in 2007 and seeded 4th in the individual draw, despite being two years behind compared to U18 standards and certainly more mature than twelve months is before when he was defeated on his debut. Last year, Cinà’s growth followed the right timing, but it is visible to all, as evidenced by the first ATP point and the first international J300 tournament won. As the qualifications and wildcards are awarded, the number of Italian ranks will increase in search of a tricolor success that has been missing in Santa Croce sull’Arno since 2015, when Andrea Pellegrino won, while it is even the case for women 34 years without fame (the last triumph was that of Gabriella Boschiero in 1989).
THE DECLARATION – “For our community, the Internationals are the flagship of the sports program – explained the mayor of Santa Croce sull’Arno Giulia Deidda at the presentation press conference –. This is the last press conference before the end of my tenure and in this moment I realize how much this tournament has impacted our citizenship and has been able to instill wonderful values related to friendship, health and well-being.”
“The week of Santa Croce, which traditionally coincides with that of the Internazionali BNL in Rome, represents a tennis festival – these are the words of the President of the Tuscan Committee of the FITP Luigi Brunetti and of the National Council FITP Guido Turi –: the year like never before , in which the discipline is experiencing an unprecedented boom, the focus is on Tuscany with its youth tournaments, the new WTA in Florence and many popular sports activities.”
Finally, at the end of the speeches, tournament director Simone Martini wanted to remember Roberto Duranti, who was born and raised on the Cerri fields and who died prematurely last August, with these words: “Dedicating this edition to Roberto was a duty and an establishment one after Roberto Duranti named fair play, which we will assign to the most correct player from this year.
His absence is an open wound because after so many years contributing to the development of the club and the tournament, despite his physical distance, he was always close to me in the most difficult moments. These days are dedicated to Roberto and we want to honor him in the best possible way by organizing a wonderful tournament…”
THE FULL PROGRAM – The forty-third edition of the Santa Croce International Junior Tournament – sponsored by Blumar, Osmo, Htf, Baldereschi, Bcn, Intapell, Klf and Tecnopack – begins on Saturday May 13th with the qualifiers. The main draws for singles and doubles will open from Monday 15th May, leading up to the final on Saturday 20th May. Ct Villanova Empoli and Ct Fornacette will support Club Santa Croce by making their pitches available for player training. Admission is free for the entire duration of the event.