Melbourne, 5 April 2011 |

Australia’s rising tennis stars will be on show at the Optus National Claycourt Championships, to be held at the George Alder Tennis Centre in Ipswich, Queensland in April.

The 12/u, 14/u and 16/u tournaments form part of the Optus Junior Tour, a series of events offering the country’s talented juniors valuable match experience on all the Grand Slam® court surfaces – grass, clay and hardcourt.

The 16/u event will open the Optus National Claycourt Championships, with Rhys Johnson (Winthrop, WA) and Ebony Panoho (Heritage Park, Qld) expected to be top seeds in their respective boys’ and girls’ draws.

Other players set to feature are Optus 14s Australian champion Harry Bourchier (Kingston, Tas), Optus 14s National Grasscourt champion Omar Jasika (Endeavour Hills, Vic), last year’s Optus 14s National Claycourt champion Bradley Mousley (Wynn Vale, SA) and Junior Fed Cup representative Molly Polak (Melbourne, Vic).

The 14/u event’s top seeds Jordan Smith (Castle Hill, NSW) and Isabelle Wallace (East Bentleigh, Vic) will face a strong challenge from last year’s Optus 12s National Claycourt champions Akira Santillan (Surfers Paradise, Qld) and Naiktha Bains (Brisbane, Qld), and Optus 14s Australian Championships runner-up Annabelle Andrinopoulos (Oakleigh, Vic). 

The 12/u event will include top seeds Mislav Bosnjak (Cumberland Park, SA) and Destanee Aiava (Narre Warren, Vic), Optus 12s Australian Championships quarterfinalist Audrey Teo (Berwick, Vic), and Optus 12s National Grasscourt champions Alexei Popyrin (Pymble, NSW) and Michelle Pits (Brighton, Vic).

Tournament Director Francis Soyer looked forward to watching the exciting crop of young talent in Mildura and believes they will benefit from the experience of playing on clay.

“It’s important for kids to learn about technique and playing styles on other courts surfaces so that they can match it with the world’s best junior players,” Soyer said.

“Playing on clay and grass is an important part of their development and could even be the first steps in finding our next Australian champion at the French Open or Wimbledon.”

The Optus Junior Tour provides a clear competitive pathway for aspiring tennis players and in 2011 will offer Australian Ranking points across five levels – Platinum (also known as the Optus National Junior Championships), Gold, Silver, Bronze and White.

These tournaments offer points across the 12/u, 14/u and 16/u age groups, with select tournaments also offering points in the 18/u age group. In total, 185 tournaments across Australia make up the Optus Junior Tour in 2011, giving all juniors the opportunity to obtain an Australian Ranking.

Tournament                                                                            Date

Optus 16s National Claycourt Championships                 8 to 12 April

Optus 14s National Claycourt Championships                 13 to 18 April

Optus 12s National Claycourt Championships                 20 to 25 April