Raphael Savelli is among the stars of tomorrow competing at the December Showdown in Melbourne this week.
The inclement weather didn’t dampen spirits at Melbourne Park today, as a host of youngsters took to the courts for the 12/u Australian Invitational Masters.
The annual December Showdown, presented by Kia, is the first to be held in Melbourne since 2019 due to the impacts of the COVID pandemic.
For those in the 12/u age group, this is often a first a taste of what life on the tour is like – and they hit the ground with plenty of enthusiasm.
Raphael Savelli, an 11-year-old Victorian, literally did hit the ground on match point, landing heavily on his elbow. But he got up and closed it out with a smile.
“I just had a little trip, but I’m fine now,” Savelli said after his 6-3 6-1 victory against the ACT’s Tommy Camus.
“I feel like I played pretty well so I’m really happy.
“It’s just so cool. In a couple of weeks the pros will be here, so it’s great playing on these wonderful courts.”
The second seed started young and he’s hoping to emulate the youngest-ever world No.1 in the men’s game.
“I started playing when I was four. And I’ve always loved it,” Savelli said.
“I’d love to be like Carlos Alcaraz, I really love the way he plays.”
Savelli scored two wins today, also completing a straight-sets win against fellow Victorian Oliver Hancin in a rain-delayed match from yesterday.
In the girls’ singles competition, top seeds Vesna Marinkov, Emilie Chen, Valentyna Rosa, Aimee Jin and Tori Russell were all able to prevail before the rain swept in.
12 and under Australian Invitational Masters
Boys’ singles, round robin
 Raphael Savelli (Vic) d Oliver Hancin (Vic) 6-3 6-4
 Raphael Savelli (Vic) d Tommy Camus (ACT) 6-3 6-1
 Sehun Park (WA) d Jonathan Shao (NSW) 6-2 7-6
 Jenson Yokota-Ho (Vic) d  Arkin Amin-Patel (Qld) 6-4 6-2
Boaz Fong (NSW) d Alec Tasovac (WA) 6-1 6-4
Girls’ singles, round robin
 Vesna Marinkov (NSW) d Ceressa Jackson (Qld) 6-3 6-1
 Emilie Chen (NSW) d Jovana Novakovic (WA) 6-0 6-1
 Valentyna Rosa (NSW) d Pauline Ma (Vic) 6-2 6-3
 Aimee Jin (NSW) d Claudia Shearwood (WA) 6-4 6-1
 Tori Russell (Qld) d Sophia Gregg (NSW) 6-1 6-3
 Angel Warang (NSW) d Valenova Tsai (Qld) 6-1 2-6 6-0
Mia Slatina (NSW) d  Elise Virr (QLD) 6-2 6-3
The December Showdown, with more than 150 of Australia’s most promising junior athletes competing for national titles, continues at Melbourne Park until 17 December. Entry is free for spectators.
Book online, play today: Visit play.tennis.com.au to get out on court and have some fun!