KUCHING: Malaysia need to raise the standard of tennis of its junior players and set a target of finishing among the top eight teams of the Asia-Oceania Zone Final Qualifying for the World Junior Team Competition (WJTC) for Boys and Girls.
Lawn Tennis Association of Malaysia (LTAM) vice president Dato Patrick Liew said when compared to countries like Australia, China, Japan and South Korea, Malaysia are still way behind as can be seen from their performances at the WJTC final qualifiers at SLTA tennis centre from Apr 30 to May 12.
“Our boys have dropped from 11th position last year to 15th this year while the girls have improved from 12th to 11th, and this slight improvement doesn’t mean we are able to compete, we would like to see them finish in the top eight,” Liew told The Borneo Post.
According to Liew, once a team is in the top eight, they are seeded which means they will have a better chance in the competition.
He said judging from the standard of playing in this year’s competition, Malaysia has improved substantially but the other countries are progressing at a much faster pace.
“We need to raise our level of standard to be higher than the others. We cannot say that we are good in our country, we must be good too in the Asia-Oceania region,” he said.
Liew added that countries like Australia, China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and India were very consistent with their performance because they have very good grass roots development programmes.
“You can see that in China, Japan, Australia and the Philippines, they have a large base of players for their development and back-up teams while our base is still very small with only a handful of players to choose from and it is very hard for us to pick the best for our development programme,” revealed Liew.
Taking note from this year’s results, Liew said a post-mortem would be carried out in July and some restructuring of the training programme would be made in the hope of making a breakthrough next year.