Nonthaburi, Thailand, 18 April 2016 |

Six of Australia’s best 14-and-under junior tennis players will compete in Nonthaburi, Thailand at the ITF World Junior Tennis Asia/Oceania final qualifying tournament beginning Monday.

Alex Bulte (Sandhurst, Vic), Philip Sekulic (Wakerley, Qld) and Enzo Aguiard (Parkville, Vic) will make their debut for Australia in the boys’ competition. They will be guided by captain Bernhard Goerlitz, National Academy Victoria coach.

Goerlitz said the team was looking forward to competing against other countries in Thailand.

“The team is really excited to compete in a team format for the first time,” he said.

“The boys had three days of training together in Melbourne last week and have started to build a team spirit both on and off the court. This is the first international trip for two of our team members.

“There are several strong nations competing this year including the likes of China, Japan and Korea. The conditions will be tough so managing our team’s recovery and nutrition will be important throughout the week.”

The boys’ competition will run from Monday until Saturday 23 April. Australia will play Malaysia in their first round robin tie before facing Indonesia and India in Group D.

In the girls’ competition, Olivia Gadecki (Hollywell, Qld) will be joined by Natasha Russell (Coromandel East, SA) and Annerly Poulos (Canberra, ACT) who are set to play for Australia for the first time. National Academy ACT head coach Todd Larkham will lead the team in Thailand from 25-30 April.

“The girls are really excited to compete. For Annerly and Natasha it will be their first time overseas to play in a tennis tournament,” Larkham said.

“The girls will travel to Thailand with plenty of matches, both singles and doubles, under their belt. Annerly and Natasha competed in some high quality matches at the Australian Grasscourt Nationals last week in Adelaide while Olivia is competing at the Gallipoli Youth Cup this week.

“It is a great honour and achievement to be selected to represent your country. The girls will need to play their best tennis to finish top three and qualify for the world finals later this year.”

The ITF World Junior Tennis event is an international team competition for players aged 14-and-under.

Nations from five qualification zones: Africa, North/Central America, South America, Europe and Asia/Oceania must win through regional qualifying for the opportunity to be one of 16 nations to compete at the World Junior Team finals held in Prostejov, Czech Republic from 1–6 August.

Korea and Russia are the defending boys’ and girls’ champions respectively.

The World Junior Tennis competition has helped launch the careers of current and former world No.1s including Novak Djokovic (SRB), Lleyton Hewitt (AUS), Rafael Nadal (ESP), Kim Clijsters (BEL) and Justine Henin (BEL).