YOG serves up ace tennis moments

As the 2020 French Open gets underway at Roland Garros, olympic.org takes a look back at some of the best tennis highlights from previous editions of the Youth Olympic Games (YOG).

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Home favourites celebrate gold

Argentine duo Facundo Diaz Acosta and Sebastian Baez were popular winners of the men’s doubles at the YOG Buenos Aires 2018, with 5,000 enthusiastic home fans cheering them on to gold in the city’s Green Park. With many of the partisan crowd decked out in Argentina’s famous blue and white for the highly anticipated final, Diaz Acosta and Baez were able to live up to the lofty expectations, defeating Bulgaria’s Adrian Andreev and Australia’s Rinky Hijikata, 6-4 6-4. “Everyone wanted the same thing as we did, and that was beautiful,” said Baez afterwards. “It’s much more enjoyable when one is playing at home.”

Double joy for Juvan

The YOG Buenos Aires 2018 also saw rising star Kaja Juvan underline her status as one of the most promising young players in the game, as she became the first Youth Olympian to win two tennis gold medals. The Slovenian first partnered Poland’s Iga Swiatek to victory in the women’s doubles, securing top spot on the podium after an epic three-set win against Japanese duo Yuki Naito and Naho Sato. Juvan, 17 at the time, then clinched women’s singles gold with a close-fought 7-5, 6-4 win over France’s Clara Burel. “That’s just really special,” said Juvan after winning her historic second gold. “It’s just so amazing to have both of them. I’m just happy for it and currently I’m speechless.”

Tennis YOG
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Daria dances in the rain

Not long after winning Youth Olympic gold in the final of the women’s singles at the YOG Singapore 2010, Daria Gavrilova was once again entertaining the fans in the Kallang Tennis Centre – but this time without a racquet in her hands. With a thunderstorm delaying the start of her bronze medal doubles match, Gavrilova decided to turn centre court into a dancefloor, as she and rival Timea Babos danced in the rain to the likes of Lady Gaga, Usher and the Black Eyed Peas prior to facing each other for a place on the podium. “I don't know how it happened,” said Gavrilova afterwards. “Babos just turned to me and was like, ‘You are the only one who will do this. Let's go’.”

The perfect mix

Mixed doubles made its debut at the YOG Nanjing 2014, with Switzerland's Jill Teichmann and Poland's Jan Zielinski proving to be the perfect pairing, as they defeated China's Ye Qiu Yu and Japan's Jumpei Yamasaki to clinch gold. “I couldn't ask for a better partner,” beamed a delighted Zielinski afterwards, although the European pairing didn’t have it easy. The duo initially found themselves on the backfoot, losing the first set 4-6 and trailing 0-2 in the second, before fighting back to secure a 4-6 6-3 10-4 victory, culminating in a tense tiebreaker that saw Zielinski close out the win with a deft drop shot.