9-year-old tennis ace banned from adult league after straight-sets debut win

A 9-year-old boy from Alderley Edge has been banned from playing in an adult league after winning his first match in straight sets.

Yannick Mendler-Jackson, who started playing tennis aged 4, was selected to make his debut for the Alderley Edge men's first team as they were a player short.

His father Andrew explained "As I'm a first team member but not available for the match I told the organisers that Yannick is available. Also they know he is of a good standard."

Yannick, who practices with the men's first and second team players, was part of the squad of four who played in a national league tournament against Lymm Lawn Tennis Club last month.

Each member of the team played one singles and one doubles match with Yannick beating the opposition's team captain 6-1 6-3.

However, after they arrived home they were informed by a coach from the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) that Yannick's match had been disallowed because he was too young.

Speaking about his son's reaction Andrew said "As the team had won in a tie break shootout he was really happy to have had the fun experience playing with the three team mates. He wasn't unhappy. He had a really fun experience."

He added "We as part of the first team at AECC believe 'if you are good enough you are old enough'.

"Also team matches are fun for juniors. We believe the LTA tend to push juniors to play too many junior tournaments even at very young ages and it can easily dissuade a young kid who could be excellent if allowed to blossom in time."

An LTA spokesperson said "There are age eligibility rules for National League competitions that are designed to protect young players and manage their development.

"There are a wide variety of competitions and leagues open to players of this age that will provide opportunities against other children of a similar ability, so every child can continue to compete and develop their tennis."

Photos: Tennis ace Yannick, after being asked to play an exhibition at the recent Liverpool international tennis tournament.


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