Carel Ngounoue finishes runner-up at inaugural 14-and-under Wimbledon event

Carel Ngounoue serves against Matie Todoran of Romania during their boys' 14 and under singles semifinals.
July 11, 2022 10:00 AM

One of the USTA Foundation's most talented young players had the honor of competing in the inaugural under-14 Wimbledon event last week: 13-year-old Carel Ngounoue, the younger brother of fellow USTA Foundation Excellence Team member and 2022 junior Australian Open doubles champion Clervie and University of Kansas star Malkia, finished as the runner-up in the boys' division. 

Like his sisters, Ngounoue honed his tennis game from childhood thanks to the Metropolitan Tennis & Education Group, an NJTL chapter in Silver Spring, Md., and has also been supported in his tennis endeavors by the USTA Foundation's Excellence Program, which identifies elite-level tennis talent amongst NJTL student-athletes

Sixteen boys and 16 girls born in 2008 and 2009 were selected from 20 different countries to compete in this new Wimbledon event, which was played in a round-robin format with knockout semifinals and a consolation draw, and ran concurrently to the older junior championships. Ngounoue joined fellow Americans Nicole Okhtenberg and Keaton Hance in the field.

He went unbeaten in his round-robin group, beating players from Australia, Brazil and Jordan with the loss of just six games in three sets, and came from a set down to defeat Romania's Matei Todoran in the semifinals, 3-6, 6-4, [11-9]. For the trophy, however, Ngounoue was beaten by Cho Se-hyuk of South Korea in straight sets. Off the court, Ngounoue had an unforgettable opportunity, too: He met the Duchess of Cambridge, who's the patron of the All-England Club where Wimbledon is held. 

The result is the latest splash made by the younger Ngounoue internationally this year in his first year competing in ITF junior events; he played his first ITF event in Las Vegas in March, and he won two titles in Mexico and Cameroon in April and May. In January, he was the singles runner-up and doubles champion at the prestigious Les Petits As event in France. It was the same result his sister Clervie posted two years ago. Held annually for the best young tennis players ages 12-14 worldwide, its previous winners include Rafael Nadal, Michael Chang, Martina Hingis, Kim Clijsters and Jelena Ostapenko, all of whom grew up to be Grand Slam champions.

 

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