Fri | Mar 23, 2018

Azar brothers eager to defend All Jamaica Junior Tennis titles

Published:Friday | July 1, 2016 | 12:00 AMMarc Stamp
John Azar Jr
Daniel Azar

The Azar brothers, John Jr and Daniel, are ready to defend their Under-14 and Under-12 titles, respectively, at the Access Financial Services All Jamaica Junior Open Tennis Tournament set for the Eric Bell Centre from July 6-10.

Both siblings are unbeaten in tournaments locally since the start of the year and they are determined to add more silverware to their trophy cases.

Fourteen-year-old John Jr will also contest the 16-and-under category at the All Jamaica next week.

"I am expected to be seeded at number one in both age groups. This is the most important junior tourney in Jamaica and I'm training hard for both titles," John Jr told The Gleaner.




"Right now, I am very excited and looking forward to some tough competition from my opponents as the All Jamaica normally attracts overseas-based Jamaicans," he disclosed.

He has been playing against older boys, and won the under-18 title at the Liguanea Junior Open tournament last month.

John Jr says his game has improved as he has been doing a lot of fitness drills and stepping up the training regime.

"When I was about 12, my matches were longer. Now, my game has changed as I am getting more aggressive. I have not lost a tournament this year, and the aim is to continue winning titles," the Hillel Academy student said confidently .

One the other hand, 12-year-old Daniel is also eagerly awaiting the All Jamaica tourney.

"I'm excited and confident. I have played against those in the under-12s and know about them. I am confident of defending the title," Daniel shared.

Daniel also competes in the under-14 in other tournaments and has not lost in any category this year.

Naturally, both brothers are saddened by the sudden passing of their uncle and coach Eddie Smatt. The former national tennis star collapsed and died earlier in the year.

The boys are now under the guidance of local coach Matthew Rodriquez.

The Azar brothers are aiming to become professional players in the future.

Daniel is yet to beat his older brother in tournament play and he is looking forward to a clash in the under-14s at All Jamaica.

"I'm looking forward to meeting John again. He beat me in the semi-finals of the 14s in All Jamaica last year. I was very disappointed," Daniel pointed out.

Daniel is also preparing for the Central American and Caribbean Tennis Confederation (COTECC) trial in July. COTECC is the continental governing body for tennis in Central America and the Caribbean. It is affiliated to the International Tennis Federation and has headquarters in San Salvador, El Salvador.