On its silver year, the Mitsubishi Lancer International Junior Tennis Championship (MLIJTC) is set to bring more action and excitement in the hard court. More than 100 players coming from thirty two different countries around the globe will be competing on this year’s tournament. Qualifying draw will be from March 16 to 17 and the main draw will commence on March 18 and will be until March 23, 2014. This tournament will be held at the Rizal Memorial Tennis Center in Malate Manila. The MLIJTC is considered as the country’s longest running junior tennis tournament and is also one of the biggest junior tournaments in the international scene.
Once more the 25th MLIJTC is expected to hit sports headlines with its roster of players. This year’s top seeded players are Duck Hee Lee of Korea, Harry Boucher of Australia, Ken Onishi of Japan and Marc Polmans of Australia for the boys division. For the girls division top seeded players are Shilin Xu, Ziyue Sun and Xiaodi You, all representing China, and Katie Boulter of Great Britain. While the country welcomes these top seeded junior netters, the organizers are hoping that our very own Alberto Lim, Jr., Eric Olivares, Jr, John Bryan Decasa, Joachim Samson, Roxanne Resma, Khim Iglupas, and Maia Bernadette Balce will make it to the finals.
Since then the MLIJTC has been among the significant and prestigious tournaments which has honed some of today’s tennis icons. The MLIJTC is a Grade One tournament which makes the level of competition a lot tougher and more challenging. On its twenty fifth year, the organizers International Tennis Federation (ITF), Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Philippine Tennis Association (PHILTA) and Mitsubishi Motors Phils. Corp. (MMPC) commemorates how this tourney became one of the grassroots of some of the world’s tennis superstars. Some of those former MLIJTC players who had established their name in this field were Lleyton Hewitt who was the youngest male tennis player to rank as number one and recognized as one of the 40 greatest tennis players since 1965 by Tennis Magazine, American Andy Roddick who was former world number 1 professional tennis player, and Leander Paes of India. Among the host country’s pride were Francesca La’o, Jennifer Saret, and Maricris Fernandez. Maricris Fernandez captured the No. 1 ranking in Asia among players under 14 and the last Filipino to win a gold medal in the singles of the Southeast Asian Games. In 2009 and 2010, the tournament witnessed Francis Alcantara who was an Australian Open Grand Slam winner in 2009. Throughout the years the MLIJTC has become training ground for aspiring tennis superstars and the road towards the achievement of their successful athletic career. This has also been MMPC’s active way of fostering youth development through encouraging the future generation to engage in sports.
The MLIJTC would have not reach 25 years without the collaboration of major sponsors who have generously shared their resources and untiringly supported the tournament throughout years. These are renowned sports brand, Accel, and including Dunlop which is the official tennis ball for the 25th MLIJTC, Gatorade, Refresh Purified Water the official drinking water for this year’s tournament and Century Park Hotel.
MMPC is inviting everyone to witness these junior netters sweat it out for the grand championship title and to support the Filipino players by watching the games from March 16 to 23, 2014 at Rizal Memorial Tennis Center in Malate Manila. Admission is free!