Racquets: Barry readies himself for senior step-up with focus on adult events
TEENAGE ace Sam Barry has made the decision to focus largely on adult tournaments for the rest of this year -- his final 12 months as an U-18 player.
And with the exception of the European Championships, Wimbledon and the US Open, Barry plans to take part in very few junior events following next month's French Junior Open.
Indeed, even prior to the Roland Garros event the Limerick native, who recently made the major breakthrough of winning his first ITF U-18 Grade 1 boys' doubles title, is set to play in two IFT men's tournaments in Britain.
"I expect to play in the Futures events in Newcastle and Edinburgh in early May," said Barry, who partnered New Zealand's Ben McLachlan to victory in the boys' doubles final of the recent ITF U-18 Grade 1 event in Nagoya, Japan.
"The fact I won't be able to play in U-18 tournaments next year makes it more sensible for me to get used to playing in senior tournaments for the rest of this year."
After making his Grand Slam debut in last year's Wimbledon Junior Open and also participating in the Australian Junior Open for the first time last January, Barry is eagerly looking forward to his initial assault on the French Open.
But because he is sitting his Leaving Certificate this year, he fears that his preparations for the Paris clay-court event will have to be curtailed to some extent.
"I had hoped to play in a number of warm-up (junior) tournaments before the French Open, but I may now have to change my plans a bit," explained Barry.
"With the Leaving Certificate starting in early June, and the French Open running from May 30 to June 6, I'll have a fair bit of study done before I travel to Paris."
Due to his doubles title win in Nagoya, Barry has improved to eighth position in the world U-18 doubles rankings, and he also plans to link up with McLachlan in the French Open.
In badminton, Irish men's No 1 Scott Evans pushed world No 21 Raj Ouseph of England to three sets in the European Championships in Manchester. Ouseph clinched a semi-final berth on a 15-21 23-21 21-12 scoreline.