IC Council News

December 2023
IC India win the IC Rod Laver IC Junior Challenge Worldwide Finals in La Jolla

IC India win the IC Rod Laver IC Junior Challenge Worldwide Finals in La Jolla

The Finals were celebrated in one of the most prestigious and ideal venues for the competition at La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club. The teams participating as a result of their performance in the Regional Qualifiers were: Argentina, Great Britain, India, Italy, South Africa and USA. 

The competition started with an outstanding inaugural ceremony at the Club, and we were honoured to be joined by two legends of the game: Rod Laver and Charlie Pasarell. A representative of the City Council also attended, and proclaimed this as The IC Rod Laver Junior Challenge Week, and we were also joined by Julian Tatum from the IC of Great Britain, who created the event X years ago. Rod and Charlie shared a few words with the participants and that kicked-off what was one of the most memorable Finals we have had to date.

On court the competition was intense. All teams had top juniors from their countries, which translated into very close matches and ties to the delight of the spectators, which over the week increased in numbers - including Rod himself, who came to watch some tennis almost every day of the competition. The matches were very close and as you can see in the detail results, the ties could have gone either way, with several matches being determined by tie breaks and a mixed 10 point tie break determining the tie between USA and Argentina. Throughout the event, two teams established themselves as the frontrunners: India and Italy. After five days of fierce competition, India were crowned as champions, followed by Italy in second place and the British team coming in third place. Argentina, South Africa and USA shared the fourth place.

A clear demonstration of the spirit of the event was shown in the last match between South Africa and Italy. The tie was already decided before the final girls' doubles match, and one of the girls had a potential injury that after 5 days of competition wasn't worth risking. The players of both teams, seeing how much people were enjoying watching their matches and having become friends, decided to do a mixed doubles exhibition championship tie break. They exchanged shirts and played exhibition level tennis, with several trick shots, under the 'supervision' of one of the South African boys as 'umpire' and aided by 'ball girls' from both teams.

The awards ceremony was celebrated with a host of prominent attendees and a large audience. The national anthems were played for the first, second and third places and the medals were awarded by Rod Laver, Charlie Pasarell and Karen Hantze Susman respectively. This was followed by a banquet, where representatives of each team came up to the stage and talked about their favourite moments from the event, with friendship, philanthropy and sportsmanship being referenced frequently. The IC Philanthropy Foundation's Chairman, Felipe Bunster Galeno, had the opportunity to showcase some of the work that ICPF does at a global level - and Phil Cox, who leads the ICPF programme in Rwanda, gave a very engaging insight into what has been achieved in a short period of time. The evening concluded with the presentation of the tournament's Sportsmanship Awards, which were given to Mari-Louise Van Zyl from South Africa and Lorenzo Angelini from Italy - each of whom came up to the stage and told us how much this award meant to them.

Off the court, the teams enjoyed different activities every day, including a visit to a military aircraft carrier and war memorial, a talk on the US college sports scholarship application process, pickleball, golf and different beach activities, including making s'mores around a campfire. One of the key highlights was taking part in a philanthropy clinic at the Barnes Center in San Diego, which not only inspired the underprivileged children - who enjoyed rallying with and watching the players - but also the players themselves. They all appreciated the experience, which was mentioned by several of them at different stages of the event to the committee and also during the awards ceremony. 

The event coverage included a live stream of the two main courts, local television coverage including interviews to the teams, radio broadcasts each day of the event. Extensive social media content - including daily highlights, "Off Court Challenges" and other fun videos - was also provided by Laura Bunster Galeno, receiving unprecedented levels of engagement for IC events, with our videos being watched over 28K times to date.

Overall, the event was a great success - several players mentioned that it was the best event they have ever participated in, and that they were going back home with a different perspective. It is important to highlight the efforts made by all countries that participated in the event and their Captains who had a very important role leading the teams on and off court.

The success of this event is due to a lot of hard work by the hosts US IC, led by Don Tansey, Robb Bunnen and David Gollob, and the team and volunteers at La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, led by Bill Kellogg. Thanks also go to Marylynn Baker, the tournament umpire and her team of umpires, who went above and beyond their usual role by mentoring the players on sportsmanship throughout the event. Special thanks also go to our donors, without whose support the event would not have been possible: Lemann Foundation and Palantir.

Final Standings

Position

Team

Played

Won

Lost

1

India

5

5

0

2

Italy

5

4

1

3

Great Britain

5

3

2

4

United States

5

1

4

4

South Africa

5

1

4

4

Argentina

5

1

4

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