Holden makes history

22:16, Feb 10 2014
Southland Times photo
Top Southland tennis junior Finn Holden, who has broken a tournament mark that stood for 22 years.

@SearleJamieStar junior Finn Holden has become a Southland tennis history maker by breaking a 22-year barrier.

The gifted right-hander became the first player to win the Southland junior open 10-years-and-under boys singles titles in successive seasons when he beat Tim Willans in straight sets in Saturday's final. That win followed his finals victory the previous season over Ayoub Ahmad, from Otago.

It was the first time any player had won the title and the Southland Junior Lawn Tennis Association Cup twice since its inception in 1993.

Holden, 10, was thrilled at his history-making feat.

"I felt really proud because no-one had ever done it before," he said.

The record breaking did not stop there for the James Hargest College year 7 pupil, because he also won the 10-years-and-under boys doubles title for the third straight season when he partnered Willans to take out the trophy.


Holden's first doubles win in the junior open's 10s division was in the 2011-12 season, when he was just 8.

Tennis Southland coach Pete White, who has mentored Holden for the past three seasons, saluted his young charge.

"Its a testament to hard work, commitment and travel [to tournaments throughout the South Island," White said.

"I have no doubt he will continue to develop."

Holden's efforts last weekend also rounded off a fine tournament run and another Southland first for the youngster.

In the past two months, he has also won the Queenstown, Wanaka, Timaru and Otago 10 years singles titles.

Holden said his best win was in Wanaka, where he beat a top Auckland junior in the quarterfinal and then a leading Canterbury player, who was also the top seed, in the final.

Holden beat the same Canterbury player again in the Timaru final two weeks later.

"That was awesome," Holden said.

"Because it showed that I'm the better player."

The Southland Times