Melbourne, Australia , 6 December 2023 | Leigh Rogers

Ashlee Narker is proudly proving there are no barriers to achieving your dreams at this week’s 18-and-under Australian Championships.

The annual championships are being played at Melbourne Park as part of the December Showdown.

A year after losing in the opening qualifying round, Narker is firming as a genuine title contender in 2023.

The 18-year-old from New South Wales, who was born profoundly deaf, has advanced to the girls’ singles quarterfinals without dropping a set.

“I’m hoping to win the tournament,” Narker declared after scoring a 6-4 6-4 win today against South Australian Elim Yan to complete a clean sweep of the round-robin stage.

“Obviously all the girls are really good, but I think I have a chance.

“To win this tournament has been one of my goals, so I’m hoping to achieve that.”

The determined Narker refuses to let her hearing impairment hold her back from competing with her peers.

“I just adapt and play,” explained the No.3 seed. “Anyone can achieve whatever they want if they put their mind to it.”

Set to relocate to America next month to play college tennis, Narker is proving this in many ways.

After deciding she wanted to attend US college, Narker has had a busy year trying to improve her ranking and also complete her studies at Pymble Ladies’ College in Sydney.

“I hadn’t done any travel before because my parents couldn’t afford it. But when I decided I wanted to go to college, I had to travel to try to get in,” she said.

“It was a bit hard doing Year 12 on top of that. I learned a lot about time management.”

Narker, who is one of the few deaf players competing on tour, won 19 of her 24 singles matches on the ITF World Junior Tour throughout 2023.

She also contested seven professional tournaments, with her best result a semifinal appearance at an Australian Pro Tour event at Caloundra in July.

These efforts have paid off for Narker, a recipeint of a full scholarship to attend Iowa State University next year.

But for now, Narker’s immediate focus is on a quarterfinal clash tomorrow with fifth seed Isabella Crossman, a 16-year-old Victorian.

“I’m feeling good,” Narker said of her form.

> FOLLOW: Live scores from the December Showdown

More than 260 of Australia’s leading junior athletes are competing at the 2023 December Showdown, which runs until 16 December at Melbourne Park. Entry is free for spectators wishing to attend.


Girls’ singles, round-robin
[1] Lily Taylor (Qld) d [WC] Alice Stevens (WA) 6-1 6-2
[2] Kimiko Cooper (NSW) d [WC] Bridget Mihulka (Vic) 6-3 6-3
[3] Ashlee Narker (NSW) d Elim Yan (SA) 6-4 6-4
[4] Jelena Cvijanovic (Vic) d Cara Korhonen (Qld) 7-5 6-3
[5] Isabella Crossman (Vic) d [Q] Ashley Katz (NSW) 4-6 6-2 6-4
[6] Gabrielle Villegas (Vic) d [Q] Amelia Zylberman (Vic) 6-4 6-0
[LL] Elizabeth Ivanov (NSW) d [Q] Susannah Su (NSW) 6-2 7-5
[Q] Sarah Mildren (SA) d [LL] Christina Dodaj (Vic) 6-3 6-0

Boys’ singles, round-robin
[3] Zane Stevens (Qld) d Jay Fairclough (WA) 6-4 6-3
[4] Daniel Jovanovski (Vic) d Nicolas Tremblay (NT) 6-3 7-5
[5] Daniel Jankoski (NSW) d [LL] Vitoria Sardinha (NSW) 6-4 6-3
[8] Rohan Hazratwala (Qld) d [Q] Michael Korobitsin (Vic) 6-4 6-3
[WC] Jonas Hahn (SA) d [1] Alexander Despoja (SA) 6-4 2-1 ret.
Boyd Schreiber (NSW) d [2] Cooper Errey (Vic) 6-4 7-6(3)
[Q] Diordan Macababbad (Vic) d [7] Cruz Hewitt (NSW) 3-6 6-4 6-0
[LL] Myron Papadimitriou (NSW) d [Q] Oliver James King (Qld) w/o

Girls’ singles, quarterfinals
[1] Lily Taylor (Qld) v [Q] Sarah Mildren (SA)
[2] Kimiko Cooper (NSW) v [LL] Elizabeth Ivanov (NSW)
[3] Ashlee Narker (NSW) v [5] Isabella Crossman (Vic)
[4] Jelena Cvijanovic (Vic) v Elim Yan (SA)

Boys’ singles, quarterfinals
[1] Alexander Despoja (SA) v Boyd Schreiber (NSW)
[3] Zane Stevens (Qld) v [4] Daniel Jovanovski (Vic)
[5] Daniel Jankoski (NSW) v Jay Fairclough (WA)
[8] Rohan Hazratwala (Qld) v [Q] Diordan Macababbad (Vic)

> VIEW: 18/u Australian Championships draws

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