Scianimanico eyes golden goodbye in Bucharest
Melvil Scianimanico is already looking ahead to the ESF European U19 Championships in Bucharest as he bids to leave the junior ranks with a bang.
The Frenchman turns 19 in April, so the back-to-back European U19 individual and team events in March will be perfectly timed for him to taste victory while wearing goggles for a final time.
Speaking after his semi-final defeat to eventual champion Mohamed Zakaria at the British Junior Open in Birmingham, Scianimanico said: "Before this season, I had my targets - the US Junior Open, the British Junior Open and the Europeans. Now this match is over, the Europeans is my focus before I turn pro."
After finishing his studies this summer, the ESF boys' U19 No.2 will move from his current training base in Clermont-Ferrand, where he works with coach Christophe Carrouget, to France's famous high-performance centre in Aix-en-Provence.
Before that, Scianimanico is determined to succeed in his last big junior event in Bucharest - perhaps fuelled by several near-misses so far this season.
At the World Junior Championships in Melbourne last July, he battled back from two games down and held match point against eventual title winner Hamza Khan, but agonisingly could not convert and lost 13-11 in the fifth.
At the British Junior Open, his rapid defeat to the all-conquering Zakaria was followed by a four-game loss to Switzerland's David Bernet in the third-place play-off, where even Scianimanico's often breath-taking retrieval wasn't enough to earn him a bronze medal.
Bernet has also proved to be a roadblock for Scianimanico in the ESF junior rankings - it's the Swiss youngster who is currently preventing the Suresnes-born player from reaching top spot for the first time.
Despite these frustrations, the boy from western Paris took great encouragement from his wins at the Dutch and French Junior Opens last year and is now looking ahead to a bright future as a full-time professional. He is already ranked PSA No.147 after reaching the quarter-finals at $12k Cognac Open and $15k Des Hauts de France in Lille (where he lost to the title winner Bernat Jaume).
"The ESF junior tournaments give me great experience as a person and for my future life on the PSA," he said. "I want to be No.1 in the world and be the best player.
"From here [after the BJO], I need to build my confidence. I am strong physically, that is always my first quality. Now I will try to be more aggressive and try to think better on the court.
"I am already in the top 150 on PSA - that's a good start for a junior, so now it's sleep, eat and just train, train, train!"