Melbourne Park, 22 January 2012 |

The Australian Open Junior Championships geta underway today with the world’s best juniors set to compete against each other at Melbourne Park.

The newly ranked world No.1 junior Luke Saville from South Australia will lead the boys’ field and will take on Israel’s Or Ram-Harel in the opening round. The 17-year-old had a remarkable year in 2011 winning the Junior Wimbledon Championships, two ITF junior titles in Korea and the Optus 18s Australian Championships in December. Most recently he was runner-up at this week’s Loy Yang Power Traralgon International.

Joining Saville and rounding out the top five boys in the draw are second seed Thiago Monteiro (BRA) who plays Australian wildcard Jack Schipanski, third seed Liam Broady (GBR) who will face Italy’s Matteo Donati, fourth seed Kaichi Uchida (JPN) who is playing Italy’s Pietro Licciardi and fifth seed Frederico Ferreira Silva of Portugal who will meet Australian wildcard Li Tu in the first round.

Australians including Andrew Harris (Blackburn, Vic), Nick Kyrgios (Watson, ACT), James Frawley (O’Connor, ACT) and Jay Andrijic (South Penrith, NSW) will also contend for the title, while Matthew Tanza (Carlingford, NSW), Jordan Thompson (Cherrybrook, NSW), Christopher O’Connell (Belrose, NSW), Thanasi Kokkinakis (Seacombe Heights, Daniel Guccione (Bundoora, Vic) and Bradley Mousley (Wynn Vale, SA) have also been awarded wildcards.

Irina Khromacheva from Russia, the world’s top junior girl heads up the girls’ draw and will play Australian wildcard Naiktha Bains on Sunday.

Canadian second seed Eugenie Bouchard plays Japan’s Miyu Kato, third-seeded Estonian Anett Kontaveit (EST) will take on Japan’s Maho Kowase, fourth seed Yulia Putintseva of Russia will facer American Catherine Harrison and fifth seed Indy de Vroome will play Japan’s Eri Hozumi.

With Ash Barty not playing, Australia’s highest ranked junior is world No.55 Abbie Myers who has been been drawn to play Romanian qualifier Ioana Loredana Rosca in the opening round.

Other girls to watch are Eliza Long (Knowsley, Vic), Brooke Rischbieth (Berri, SA), Storm Sanders (Safety Bay, WA), Belinda Woolcock (Mt Waverley, Vic), Georgiana Ruhrig (St Albans, Vic), Priscilla Hon (Rochedale, Qld) and Bernard Tomic’s younger sister Sara Tomic (Southport, Qld) who have received wildcards.

Tournament Director Francis Soyer welcomes the world’s junior tennis elite to Melbourne Park.

“We’re excited to have the best juniors on-site to compete at this year’s Australian Open Junior Championships.

“The event offers players the opportunity to compete at a Grand Slam level, giving them a taste of what is required to become a professional tennis player. We hope they enjoy their time here in Australia,” said Soyer.

> View the boys’ draw

> View the girls’ draw

> View the schedule of play