Bernet overjoyed by bronze after

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Bernet overjoyed by bronze after "brutal week" in Birmingham

European No.1 David Bernet described his boys' Under-19 bronze medal at the British Junior Open as "an amazing feeling."

Bernet, who was 3/4 seed at the prestigious event in Birmingham, began his campaign with two lengthy five-game matches, firstly against Jeonguk Rya of South Korea then South African double-hander Luhann Groenewald, who took the first two games.

Swiss star Bernet's next two encounters also saw him lose the first game - against Colombia's Juan Isarri and Egypt's Yahya Abouraya - before hitting back to win both in three.

The 18-year-old's semi-final against second seed Jonah Bryant of England on the glass court proved to be a step too far. Bryant's awesome speed and court coverage saw Bernet lose the first two games quickly although he did take the third to a tie-break.

In the third-place play-off, Bernet enjoyed a richly entertaining clash against France's Melvil Scianimanico, full of wonderful, high-intensity rallies, which once again went deep. Bernet took it 11-3, 5-11, 11-9, 11-8, and was a relieved man afterwards.

"It's an amazing feeling," he said. "It was a brutal week - it was so tough. I played two five-game matches, but I think I got better during the week, even against Jonah.

"It's my last British Junior Open and my last international tournament. I've still got the European Juniors [in Bucharest in March] but with every country playing here including Egypt and USA, I've still got the bronze medal and it's unreal."

In 2023, Bernet started to mix it with the big boys on the PSA World Tour with a semi-final appearance at the $6k Swiss Open and a runner-up finish at the $3k Liechtenstein Open. On the ESF junior circuit, he won the European Junior Open and Italian Junior Open to maintain his ESF No.1 junior ranking.

"The ESF junior circuit has really helped me," he said. "On the PSA Tour you play one match and if you lose it, you're out. But on the European tour you play until the end, so you have five or six good matches throughout a week which is amazing. And travelling to all the countries is very nice."

Bernet was greatly encouraged by Switzerland's superb joint bronze medal at the World Team Championships in New Zealand in December, which he says "showed everyone that Switzerland is not only good at skiing!"

He added: "The boys did so well in New Zealand. It's amazing for the sport in Switzerland and the federation. We have so many good players, Nikki [Mueller], Dimi [Steinmann], Yannick [Wilhelmi], Robin [Gadola] and some others coming through."

Bernet's immediate plans are to finish school, where he is on an apprenticeship scheme, combining education with an office-based part-time job as a consultant. After graduating, he will then dedicate himself to training and playing pro squash and working hard with his coaching team, which includes Florian Pößl and the Australian Jonny Williams.

Further ahead, there is of course the golden horizon of Los Angeles 2028. He laughs: "It's a long way off, but the Olympics are the biggest sporting event in the world so to be there would be unreal."

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