Phillips eyes Wimbledon after Miami feat
Daniel Phillips recently competed in two junior tennis tournaments in Florida, losing in the second round of the Little Mo Internationals in Palm Beach and then reaching the round of 32 in the 56th Junior Orange Bowl International which finished yesterday in Miami.
Now the young Bermudian has his sights on possibly competing in the Road to Wimbledon Tournament next year.
Earlier this month Phillips competed in the under-12s at the Little Mo, beating Santiago Serrano of Chile 6-3, 6-4 in the singles first round before going down to Canadian Matthias Kask in the second round 6-3, 6-3. In the doubles, Phillips and partner Mailish Nath of Spain reached the semi-finals before losing 8-6.
The Junior Orange Bowl started on December 10, with Phillips advancing to the main draw where he beat Hayden Menon of Malaysia 6-0, 6-4 in the round of 128. In the round of 64 Phillips came from behind to beat Gaku Okuma of Japan 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 before going down to Hao Duan, of the United States 6-1, 6-0 in the round of 32.
In the consolation draw, Phillips lost in the third round to Hoyoung Roh, of Kazakhstan, 6-2, 6-0.
Phillips is now back home for Christmas and New Year before returning to Spain where he is in his second year at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca.
“When I go back I will be playing in local and probably one Tennis Europe [tournament], it’s always a challenge,” said Phillips who is in his second year at the Academy. “I feel I’m improving so much faster now, getting bigger and strong, but feel I can always do better.”
Next year it is hoped Phillips will play in the Road to Wimbledon tournament, an under-14s UK tournament which starts at club level, then progresses to county and then national level where they play at Wimbledon.
“One of Daniel’s coaches is in the UK and we’re working out whether to put him in this year or next year because next year he’ll be 13 and it is a 14 and under tournament,” explained his mother, Sarah Fellows.
“That will be the best in the UK and the Orange Bowl which he’s just come from is the biggest world tournament for under-12s and under-14s.”
The Junior Orange Bowl International is one of the most important and prestigious junior tournaments in the world, bringing together over 1,500 of the top ranked male and female 12-and-under and 14-and-under players from more than 76 countries.
Legendary players such as Chris Evert, Jimmy Conners, Mary Joe Fernández, Monica Seles, Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf have featured in the tournament as well as current pros Caroline Wozniacki, Eugenie Bouchard, Maria Sharapova, Sloane Stevens, Roger Federer, Juan Martín del Potro, Kei Nishikori, and Andy Murray.
Phillips’s family are grateful for the support given to his tennis education. “I’m exceptionally proud and thankful for the people who have helped financially, from Sam Maybury and one hundred people coordinated by coach Maybury to get Daniel to the trials for the Academy in 2016,” said his mom.
“There is a group who helped support in part for three years at the Academy; people like Keith Fisher, Zane DeSilva, Jim Butterfield, Kevin Fee and Vera Van Tienhoven, who spends the majority of her time in Spain and introduced Daniel to the Nadals.
“They’re supporting Daniel too; they gave him a 25 per cent scholarship.”
In the summer of 2016 the Bermuda Marathon Derby committee presented Phillips with a cheque for $5,000 to help fund his schooling at the Academy. In the last year he hs been learning Spanish as well as German and French. “With Spanish I know most of the words and I speak German nearly as good as English,” said the youngster who admits he has learnt a lot during his time in Spain.
“I feel it can help me come to where I want to be as a professional, and even more than that,” he said. “I just want to keep improving in school, life and tennis.”
In August, Phillips won the under-12 title at the Frinton Junior Tournament in Essex, England.
He also has two tennis playing siblings, sister Amani, 15, one of the top junior female players, and brother Andrew, 10.
Daniel credits the likes of coaches Maybury, Javon Whitter, Gavin Manders, Ashley Brooks, Brent Smith and the late Howard Cross for helping in his early tennis development.
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