Golding overcomes all obstacles; physical, mental and dental
Briton puts tough year behind him to become nation's first junior Grand Slam title-winner since 2004
Who knows what Oliver Golding might achieve when he is feeling better. The 17-year-old from Richmond upon Thames won the US Open boys' title here on Sunday night despite feeling exhausted after playing eight matches in four days, suffering from a virus that almost made him pull out of his first-round match and being in the middle of a 12-week course of major dental surgery.
Before he flew to north America last month Golding was unable to eat solids for a fortnight because his mouth was wired up and while he was playing at the Canadian Open in the build-up to Flushing Meadows he had to go to hospital after his tongue got caught in the plate he has in the roof of his mouth.
"A lot of people have questioned Oliver's fitness, but I think he's shown over the last week how strong he is," Golding's mother, Sandra, said yesterday. "He had a very difficult draw and he did so well to come through it."
Golding, who won the title by beating the Czech Republic's Jiri Vesely, the top seed, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 in the final, has not had the easiest of years. Gustavo Perino, who had been his coach, was killed in a car crash during Wimbledon, while the teenager's trial period at the Galo Blanco academy in Spain did not go as well as he had hoped.
After Wimbledon, another Argentinian coach, Horacio Rearte, who has an academy in Florida, came to London to work with Golding on a trial basis. It went so well for both sides that they have made the arrangement permanent.
Sandra, who is also a coach, said: "I watched Horacio working with Oliver for a month and I was very impressed. I think it helps that he is also a parent. He knows how to handle young people."
Rearte, who used to work with Luxembourg's Gilles Muller, said: "Oliver's a very smart kid. He showed a lot of nerves in the past, but he has been learning to handle that. He has a great serve and a great forehand, but his game is still developing. He's proved here that he has the nerve and the game to be successful. He does need to improve his fitness, but he's only 17 and we're not going to push him too hard. We know he's growing and we know it's important for him not to get injured."
Golding, who will be 18 in a fortnight's time, had planned to make this his last junior tournament, but he may play in more with the goal of finishing his last year as a junior as world No 1. He arrived at the US Open as world No 12.
He has already played in several senior events and his next appearance will be at a Futures tournament in Sweden next week. "You've got to be a lot more disciplined and focused within the matches," Golding said of his early taste of matches against senior players. "You can't give away anything, otherwise your opponent grabs it with both hands, whereas in juniors you can afford to play a couple of loose games sometimes."
Golding is the first British boy to win a Grand Slam title since Andy Murray triumphed here seven years ago. The list of former US Open junior champions includes Andy Roddick, David Nalbandian, Stefan Edberg and Pat Cash, though the examples of some other recent winners, such as Brian Dunn (1992), Daniel Elsner (1996) and Dusan Lojda (2006), show that victory is not an automatic passport to fame and fortune. Golding is an exceptional talent, but the bookmakers who yesterday offered odds of 6-1 against him winning a Grand Slam title within the next 11 years were not exactly being generous.
Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo: Compare the Barcelona and Real Madrid players in El Clasico
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo
Manchester United vs Chelsea: Jose Mourinho to push for Diego Costa to play at Old Trafford
Tim Sherwood: The mavericks have always needed special handling – but Balotelli is not delivering his side of the bargain for Liverpool
Sunderland vs Arsenal: Premier League match preview
- 1 McKamey Manor: This 'extreme' haunted house is the stuff of nightmares
- 2 Russell Brand says he will 'probably' give up acting to focus on his revolution
- 3 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 4 David Beckham's Haig Club whisky is exactly what’s wrong with the Highlands
- 5 Ottawa shootings: Bruce MacKinnon's cartoon is the perfect tribute to soldier Nathan Cirillo
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Tony Blair 'says Ed Miliband will lose 2015 general election'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Putin: The US is to blame for almost all the world's major conflicts