LONDON // Marton Fucsovics yesterday became the first Hungarian to win a singles title at Wimbledon when he comfortably got the better of Australia's Benjamin Mitchell 6-4, 6-4 in their Court One final. The new champion expressed a desire to take his impressive form into the professional ranks, but recent history suggests that this latest emerging prospect will struggle to make an impact at the top level of his sport.
Fucsovics, 18, is the 12th youngster since Roger Federer in 1998 to capture this coveted honour. None of the other 11 have even gone close to following Federer into the grand slam hall of fame. Gael Monfils, the Frenchman who was top junior in 2004, has put in the most solid effort in making a successful transition to the main tour, having risen to a career high world No 9 ranking at the start of last year and has two titles and nearly US$4 million (Dh14.6m) of prize money to his credit.
After bowing out of this year's Wimbledon to Lleyton Hewitt at the fourth round stage, the 21st seed gave a simple answer to the question of why junior champions have not followed up with major victories. "It is hard when Federer and [Rafael] Nadal have been winning almost everything," he said. Nicolas Mahut, a French forerunner of Monfils who was head boy in the Millennium year of 2000, may not have added a significant title to that honour, but he will forever be in Wimbledon and world tennis folklore. He was the much-praised loser of that extraordinary longest match in history against John Isner, the American who took the final set of their first round battle by the margin of 70-68.
Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia, last year's boys' champion, was given a wild card into this year's main draw as a reward for his achievement. That guaranteed him a welcome pay day of £11,250 to compensate for his brave five-set defeat at the hands of the Victor Hanescu, the Romanian. That prize money for being one of the 64 first round losers here more than doubled Kuznetsov's earnings during a season spent mainly on the Challenger circuit.