For Joel Schwärzler it’s been going perfectly this week so far. His partnership with Red Bull became official on Wednesday, and the world-famous Austrian energy drink manufacturer will support him as a sponsor in the future. On Friday, at the 38th Perin Memorial, an ITF J300 youth tournament, he secured his fifth and biggest doubles title at an international U18 event. And on Saturday morning, the 17-year-old ÖTV contract player, who is looked after on site by Marco Hammerl, also reached the individual final in Vrsar. And with a highly sovereign performance: The seventh-placed Vorarlberger (ITF 50), who trains in the Südstadt association training center with ÖTV sports director and Davis Cup captain Jürgen Melzer, finished the semi-finals with Swede Albert Saar (ITF 66), the same age, with an impressively clear 6th place :1, 6:2 down.
“That was solid today,” Schwärzler said modestly after his strong performance against the Austrian Tennis Association. The young bull is still without losing a set after his fourth game in the Croatian region of Istria. In the quarter-finals he had already eliminated number two in the seeding list and number twelve in the youth world rankings, Serb Branko Djuric. On Sunday, the big red-white-red hope for the future will have the chance to win the biggest ITF singles cup so far – at this level he has two J5 titles in 2021 (Ostrava and Seefeld) and a J2 double in Pilsen 2022 stand in beech. The tournament in Vrsar would be a J1 event according to the old category designations.
Open scores with opponents in the final, but “opportunities are always there”
Schwärzler’s opponent in the final is the Estonian Oliver Ojakaar (ITF 41), who is ranked fifth. He even has three open scores with the 18-year-old Balt: The two have not yet faced each other in singles, but in doubles the Harder has lost all three previous duels. Nevertheless, he was quite confident for the final showdown: “There are always chances.” Thanks to his success in Vrsar, Schwärzler should be in the youth world rankings from 33rd place around his career high. If he also wins the final, he could make it into the top 30 in the world for the first time. Namely as a born in 2006, who is still eligible to play in U18 youth tournaments in 2024.
Here are all the results of the ITF J300 youth tournament in Vrsar.