The Future Is Bright For Welsh Tennis!

2022 was a successful year for Welsh Tennis!

(Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)




The roll of honour included two GB Junior National Champions; four GB Junior National Finalists; 30 National and International titles won; 54 National and International finals contested, and eight meals won at the Wheelchair National School Games Finals.

In addition, the Junior Four Nations team won the overall title for the third time in four years, and South Wales Under-14 Boys’ Team were crowned GB County Cup Champions for the first time.

Mimi Xu continued her ascent in 2022. The 15-year-old from Swansea captured the headlines when she played in the Wimbledon qualification rounds, as she bid to become the youngest qualifier in the modern era of the women’s game.

Although she ultimately didn’t make it through, she did play in Junior Wimbledon, where she reached the last 16.

Mimi finished the season on a high as she came runner-up in the girls’ doubles under-18 competition at the prestigious Orange Bowl tournament in Florida. That result saw her rise to 27th in the girl’s ITF Junior World rankings.

She said:

Wimbledon is always such an amazing experience. I really enjoyed playing on the show courts, especially knowing all the support I’d be getting from Wales.

Viktor Frydrych also played in Junior Wimbledon. Commenting on his experience he said:

I was a bit nervous starting off, but the energy of the people made the atmosphere electric during my match, and I just enjoyed every minute. It was an amazing experience! Now I just want to train even harder to be seeded next year (2023) and stay in the tournament until the end.

The 16-year-old from Colwyn Bay rose to 249 in the boy’s junior rankings, from 559 in 2021, with the highlight of his year winning the J4 event in Edinburgh, where he beat fellow Brit Ben Gusic Wan.

Among many other highlights on the junior scene, Niall Pickerd-Barua from Cardiff was crowned under-12s GB National champion and joined Mimi and Viktor in representing GB in the Summer Cup that is organised by Tennis Europe.

He also won the under-12 singles and under-12 doubles titles at the Tennis Europe Wrexham International event. He finished the year competing in the Junior Orange Bowl boys’ under-12 competition where he reached the Consolation quarter final.

Awen Gwilym Davies, also from Cardiff, played in the Junior Orange Bowl as well, in the girls’ under-12s tournament, while she reached the semi-finals of the under-12s singles and final of the doubles at the Tennis Europe Wrexham tournament.

On the men’s tour there were landmark moments for Finn Murgett and James Story.

Finn, who resides in Holmfirth, won his first ITF Doubles Title at Boca Raton, when he and doubles partner, fellow Brit Blu Baker, overcame the challenge of Younes Laaroussi and Brandon Perez.

James, from Cardiff, who like Finn is continuing his tennis education at college in the USA, gained his first singles ATP ranking points in tournaments in London and Winston-Salem to become Wales’ number one male singles player.

Wales has also excelled in wheelchair tennis this year. Fay Dutfield-Horton took the title in both the Ladies’ doubles and singles end-of-year Wheelchair finals at the Shrewsbury Club.

13 players from Wales competed in the finals across both quad and open divisions in singles and doubles – two ladies, seven men, and four juniors.

Meanwhile, Wales’ Junior Wheelchair squad enjoyed a successful School Games National Finals, returning with eight medals across all five events entered. Among those medals was a gold for Lilly Folland in the girls’ singles.

The 15-year-old from Cardiff said,

It was an honour to compete. Thank you to all my fellow competitors for making my experience so good – it wouldn’t have been the same without you. We all became one big Welsh family at the Games.

Tennis Wales Head of Performance Chris Lewis summed up the year by saying,

2022 was an exceptional year for Welsh tennis. There is so much talent at junior level, and the senior players are making great headway. The future is bright.