Underdog Denis Gilevskiy overcame England’s Sam Osborne-Wylde to become Ireland’s first ever British Junior Open champion.
The 12-year-old needed just 20 minutes to claim the Boys’ Under 13 title with a dominant display in front of a packed crowd in Sheffield.
This was the first year two England players had reached the finals of the championships since 2001, with Elise Lazarus also going for the Girls’ Under 17s title. And it was the first time in the event’s history that an Irishman has won, since it began in the 1920s.
The crowd began to gather to see the Irishman [17/32] take on Osborne-Wylde [3/4], of Gloucestershire, and it was Gilevskiy who stepped up to the occasion, racing into a 10/1 lead in the first game.
He maintained the same intensity for the whole match, claiming a comfortable 11/2 11/6 11/6 win.
Reflecting on his achievement, Gilevskiy, of Bray, south of Dublin, said: “It feels amazing. I always believed I could do it, there’s no point thinking you can’t win otherwise you shouldn’t come at all. I’m still surprised I won, I just
wanted to try my best and see how far I could come but to win is great.”
The final victory finished an incredible week for him, having knocked out the top seed, Omar Azzam, and England’s Jonah Bryant [5/8] en-route to the title.
Having played all of his previous games at Hallamshire Tennis and Squash Club, he stepped on to the all-glass show court at Abbeydale Rackets and Fitness Club for the first time in Friday’s final. And he admitted it was not an atmosphere he was used to.
“It’s a different environment,” he said. “There were a lot of people cheering for one side [Osborne-Wylde] and then some others cheering for me. This was one of my first times playing on an all-glass court in front of so many people and it was different having people sitting and watching all the way around the court. Yes I did [enjoy it], definitely.”
Next up, he will be representing Leinster at the Junior Inter-County Championship finals later this month, where they face Yorkshire in the semi final.
He said he was unsure whether he would enter the British Junior Open next year as he will be one of the younger players in the Under 15 draw but said he would probably return the year after.
He said: “I want to keep playing and become a pro but I don’t know what will happen in the future. But for now I’ll keep training and working hard.”