Stars of tomorrow open in St. Pölten


Some of the best youth players in the world show their skills at the 42nd edition of the Spring Bowl. At the most traditional international youth tournament in Austria, the local youngsters will compete with talents from 28 nations in St. Pölten until Saturday.

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem have one thing in common: They all started small before their great tennis career – some of them at the Spring Bowl. Austria’s largest youth tournament is taking place for the 42nd time – this year at the Union Parkclub St. Pölten facility. Local stars such as Alexander Antonitsch, Stefan Koubek and Tamira Paszek have already entered the list of winners.

The last Austrian Spring Bowl winner so far is Jurij Rodionov. The 22-year-old from Matzen (Gänserndorf district) won the tournament in 2017 and has experienced a steep rise since then. Rodionov has now climbed to world number 130, replacing Dominic Thiem as Austria’s number one on Monday.

Impressions from the Spring Bowl

Austria’s largest and most important youth tournament is taking place for the 42nd time this year. Until Saturday, the local youngsters will still be playing against the best talents in the world.

“The Spring Bowl has so much tradition that players from 28 nations are taking part again this year – from New Zealand to Japan,” said organizer Raimund Stefanits happily in an interview with “This is a great challenge for our talents and also a determination of where they stand in an international comparison.”

Local talent with a need to catch up

Currently, this comparison is not as successful as many red-white-red tennis fans would like. ÖTV sports director Jürgen Melzer sees a lot of room for improvement in youth work. “You can tell from both the girls and the boys that we have some catching up to do. That’s why we’re trying to optimize the training opportunities in Austria as much as possible.”

Should that succeed, Melzer hopes for greater Austrian participation in the next Spring Bowl. This year, Tamara Kostic is the biggest domestic hope among the girls. The 16-year-old Viennese is in the top 100 of the youth world rankings and has high goals. “I want to get as far up the field as possible – ideally up to number one, of course. That’s a big goal of mine.”

GEPA pictures/ Johannes Friedl

17-year-old Claudia Gasparovic from Lower Austria shows her great talent at the Spring Bowl in St. Pölten

Traiskirchnerin makes it to the round of 16

Joel Schwärzler is one of the possible stars of tomorrow for the boys. The 16-year-old from Vorarlberg is trained by Jürgen Melzer in the southern part of the city and mainly emulates Spanish role models. “I like Rafael Nadal because of his incredible attitude and Fernando Verdasco because he has a super forehand.”

There was reason to be happy on Tuesday, especially from a Lower Austrian perspective. 17-year-old Claudia Gasparovic from Traiskirchen (Baden district) reached the round of 16 after a hard fight. “I think I played pretty well and I’m happy about the win. My big goal is to reach the top of the world one day and play Grand Slams.”