Isaac Becroft grabs dual tennis titles in New Caledonia

Wellington College tennis player, Isaac Becroft stands with his trophies for his wins at the BNP Paribas Junior ITF Tournament in New Caledonia earlier this month.


Tennis whiz Isaac Becroft (Year 12) has won the singles and doubles finals at the recent BNP Paribas Junior ITF Tournament in New Caledonia. The 16-year-old Wellington College student was runner-up in both the singles and doubles finals of the New Caledonia ITF Junior from June 6-11, but a week later won both titles at the BNP Paribas Junior Open from June 12-17. On his way to the singles top prize in the second week, he beat his close friend and doubles partner Finley Hall of Scots College in the semi-finals. The pair teamed up for the doubles final, which they won 6-2 and 6-3. Isaac then went on to win the singles title against Hong Kong's Denton Ho in two straight sets of 6-4.

Isaac shared two coaches with Hall at Planitpro Tennis, Clint Packer and Tristan Stayt. Despite discussing the possibility of facing each other, Isaac said it was difficult to move on from his match with Hall. That was a hard match because obviously we were rooming together. We're pretty good mates off the court and it was just hard because we had to play the doubles final 25 minutes after we finished. "It just had a weird touch knowing that you were going to be enemies now but friends in 25 minutes and going into another match together.

He had increased his training, through Planitpro at the Renouf Centre in Brooklyn, including strength and psychological work, in the lead-up to the events. This was done five days a week, with tennis training in the morning, a gym session at lunch then more tennis training after school.

Isaac said he had played tennis overseas when he was younger, but it was more for experience. I've just slowly been trying to get better here in Wellington and it was cool to be deep in those tournaments which I would have lost first round really easily two years ago.

Isaac hoped to be selected for the upcoming B2 grade of the Oceania Junior Closed Championships in Fiji in August, and would find out the result in a couple of weeks.

Coach Clint Packer said Isaac was a rising star. He's always flown under the radar in New Zealand. He's really committed to try and practice and competing as an adult. It's starting to pay off for him and it's good to see him get a few rewards from it. I'm happy he's done really well in the last couple of weeks. He said Isaac's training regime was adult-focussed, and included aggressive racket-head speed and positioning. We're trying to make him a great 23-year- old rather than a great 16-year- old. The important thing for me wasn't that he won that title, the important thing was how he won it.

Isaac was also captain of Wellington College's senior tennis team, for which he had been playing in since year 10. He also hoped to captain the team for his final year next year. He said his success was due to Packer and Stayt, as well as his supportive parents. For a while I was never that good, I was never that good of an athlete, I was lost. But recently I've just been working specifically on my athletic ability and [Packer] is just persistent with me.

Isaac has played tennis since he was five, but began competing about age nine. His interest began by watching then-neighbour Finn Tearney, now New Zealand tennis No 1, on his journey up national then international tennis rankings. I just remember him going through the college system and he gave me a couple of grips and I guess it just started from there. "I've still got one of the pairs of pants he gave me.

Finn Tearney (26) [Class of 2008] is the country's top-ranked singles player, currently sitting at 361 internationally. The two shared several similarities, including being coached by Packer. Finn also attended Wellington College.

Isaac said Finn's support has been invaluable. I benefit heaps from Finn's support. He's encouraging and gives me lots of good tips. "He went to college in the [United] States and got a scholarship over there and that's definitely the path I want to take.

Isaac was starting to scope out potential universities now, but had his eyes on the University of Washington or Pepperdine University, which Finn attended from 2009-2013. Packer said he sees a lot of Finn's talent and resemblance in Isaac.

They look the same, they move the same, they play the same, they wear the same clothes. He's like Finn's mini-me.


 - Stuff