Today the World Junior Tennis girls’ Asia/Oceania qualifying event gets underway in Kuching with an all Queensland team including Sara Tomic (Southport), Priscilla Hon (Rochedale) and Kimberly Birrell (Hope Island) representing Australia.
The girls’ have posted some impressive results in recent weeks with Birrell reaching the quarterfinals and Tomic winning the Optus 14s National Claycourt Championships, while Hon won through to the semifinals of the Gallipoli Youth Cup, an ITF Junior Grade 4 event.
This week the girls’ are the top seeds for the competition and have drawn Uzbekistan, Philippines and No.8 seeds New Zealand in their pool. They will play Uzbekistan in their first round-robin match and will need to advance to the semifinals in order to join the boys’ in the Czech Republic.
Ahead of the tournament, Priscilla Hon said the team had trained and prepared well and was looking forward to competing.
“We’re feeling excited and confident coming into this week. We were the first girls’ team to arrive and we’ve prepared well. It took a little while to get used to the conditions, but we are ready to go for our first round match,” Hon said.
“It’s an honour to play for our country and we are hopeful that we can do Australia proud. We have all represented Australia before on international tours, but this is our first opportunity to play as Team Australia,” Kimberly Birrell added.
Anthony Richardson, National Academy Coach QLD is captaining the side and is happy with the way the girls’ have trained over the weekend.
“The girls have settled into the tour really well. All of the girls are from Queensland – they often train together and are really great friends, so I think this familiarity really helps when you are trying to prepare well for a prestigious event in a foreign country,” Richardson said.
“As the top seeds, I expect the girls to compete strongly. However, it is really important that as a team we establish some really professional habits in terms of the way we prepare and execute with a disciplined mentality.
“Hopefully we qualify and then we can go to Europe with some positive routines in place and some refined doubles combinations also.
“China, Japan, India and Korea will no doubt be strong. Our main priority will be performing to the best of our ability regardless of the opposition.”
The World Junior Tennis competition is an ITF tournament for players aged 14 and under. The top 16 boys’ and girls’ teams from regional qualifying compete for the title with over 100 countries represented in the opening stages of the competition.
The finals will be played in Prostejov, Czech Republic from 13-18 August 2012. Korea is the reigning boys’ champion and Serbia is the reigning girls’ champion.