2 April 2019 | Tennis Australia

Australia’s top 14-and-under boys and girls are in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to compete in the 2019 ITF World Junior Tennis Asia / Oceania qualifying event underway from 1-13 April.

The Aussie teams are vying for a top four finish in the Asia / Oceania regional event to earn a spot in the ITF World Junior Tennis Finals to be held August in Projestov, Czech Republic.

Zach Viiala (WA), Jeremy Zhang (NSW) and Alex Despoja (SA) make up the 14/u boys’ team are competing from 1-6 April under the guidance of National Academy coach Damien Ward.

The girls’ team is made up of Hana Sonton (Qld), Taylah Preston (WA) and Jessie Culley (WA), will depart on Thursday 4 April to compete from 8-13 April led by National Academy coach Steve Blundell.

The Aussie hopefuls follow in the footsteps of some of the world’s top players including Novak Djokovic (SRB), Rafael Nadal (ESP), Lleyton Hewitt (AUS), Kim Clijsters (BEL) and Justine Henin (BEL), who all participated in the event as juniors.

“Being selected to represent your country at just 13 and 14 is a big opportunity for these junior players and I’m sure they will enjoy the international competition and embrace the  team environment, which is not something you often have the chance to do in tennis,” Director of Performance Wally Masur said.

“World Junior Tennis is a great platform for our players to compete against the world’s best junior players, and these events really give the kids the chance to see where they stand and benchmark themselves against the top players in the Asia / Oceania region.

“Junior team competitions such as World Junior Tennis and Junior Davis and Fed Cup become a springboard for fostering growth, performance and development within the tennis world, and many of the current world top 100 men and women have played in these events,” Masur continued.

Australia will face off against teams from 16 Asia / Oceania nations in their respective pool, before moving into elimination quarterfinals to decide the top four nations. China, Japan, Sri Lanka, India, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Syria, Thailand, Qatar, and Uzbekistan are all represented in the event.

The top four teams from the qualifying event will progress to the finals in August alongside the world’s top 16 nations who have qualified from other world zones including Africa, North/Central America, South America and Europe.

Australian 14s Boys team

1-6 April (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

Zach Viiala – (Nedlands, WA)

Jeremy Zhang – (Carlton, NSW)

Alex Despoja – (Hawthorndene, SA)

Captain – Damien Ward

Australian 14s Girls team

8-13 April (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

Hana Sonton – (Pacific Pines, Qld)

Taylah Preston – (Hocking, WA)

Jessie Culley (Cottesloe, WA)

Captain – Steve Blundell

The ITF World Junior Tennis tournament is an international team competition for players aged 14-and-under. Players compete for their nation against the world’s top 14/u stars.