Sarawak: Ashleigh Barty Made Stop In Kuching En-Route to Women World Tennis No. 1

The Sarawak Lawn Tennis Association (SLTA) takes pride in being part of the journey for recently crowned Australian Open women’s singles champion Ashleigh Barty.

Ashleigh Barty became the first Australian woman to win the Australia Open after Christine O'Neil (Chris O'Neil) in 1978. 


"We are proud and honoured that SLTA venue is one of the breeding grounds and giving the opportunity and platform to the world’s top junior players to be able to showcase and compete in Kuching," said Dato Patrick Liew to the Sunday Post

"We hope that more and more such players will play in Kuching and eventually be able to achieve that journey to be the top 10 or 20 ranked players in the world," added the SLTA president. 

"The Sarawak Chief Minister’s Cup ITF J1 and J3 (formerly Group 1 and Group 3) tournaments are essential journeys for them to collect ranking points to gain entry to Grand Slam tournaments," said Dato Patrick

The J1 tournament is very competitive as it attracted the top 100 ranked junior players.

The ranking points for the ITF Grade A champion is 500 points, and the first runner-up gets 350 points.

As for Grade 1 and Grade 3, the singles champion and first runner-up gets 300 points and 210 points, and 100 points and 60 points, respectively.

As for the doubles champion and first runners-up, get 375 points and 262 points for Grade A, 225 points and 157 points for Grade 1 and 75 and 45 points for Grade 3.

"We (SLTA) would like to congratulate world number one women’s singles player Ashleigh Barty for recently winning the Australian Open women’s singles event."

Ashleigh Barty

Young Barty (second left) and partner Abbie Meyers pose with Liew (left), other SLTA officials and beaten finalists at the prize-giving in this 2011 file photo. Image source via SLTA

“Ashleigh (Barty) was in Kuching in March 2011 as a 14-year-old junior and played in the 17th Sarawak Chief Minister’s Cup (1) ITF World Junior Tennis Championship."

Ashleigh Barty

Young Abbie Meyers and Ashleigh Barty in 2011. Image source via Wee Photography

She won the girls doubles crown with compatriot Abbie Meyers after beating Anna Danilina of Kazakhstan and Yuliya Lysa of Ukraine 7-5, 6-2 in the final.

She completed a double win by lifting the singles crown after defeating Canadian challenger Carol Zhao 6-3, 7-5.

Nick Kryios and Hsieh Su-Wei

Both Nick Kryios of Australia and Hsieh Su-Wei made a pit-stop in Kuching during their junior year.

Other players who have played in Kuching and become top-ranked professional players included Australian Open men’s doubles champion Nick Kryios of Australia and former world women’s doubles No. 1 Hsieh Su-Wei of Taiwan, who won 30 doubles titles on the WTA Tour.

On the Sarawak Chief Minister’s Cup, the Lawn Tennis Association of Malaysia vice president said the first edition was held in 2001 when players from four countries participated.

Over the years, the Sarawak Chief Minister Cup had evolved into one of the world's ITF junior tournaments, and Kuching, Sarawak had turned into a preferred venue for high-level junior tennis competitions.

Sarawak Chief Minister's Cup Tennis

Liew receives the challenge trophy for the 34th Sarawak Chief Minister’s Cup (I) ITF World Tennis Tour J1 from chief minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg (fifth right) as Minister of Youth and Sports Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah (fourth right), Sarawak Sports Corporation CEO Dr Ong Kong Swee (third left) and SLTA officials look on in this 2018 file photo. Image source via SLTA

“We are in the good books of ITF and always ready to organise ITF events. For the record, the highest number of ITF events we have organised is seven in one year in 2006. We have organised 16-team each qualifying event for the Junior Davis Cup, Junior Fed Cup and World Junior Team."

“By organising all these events regularly, we have also helped promote sports tourism in Sarawak,” he said.

However, SLTA could not host the international events since the 34th Sarawak Chief Minister’s Cup (I) ITF World Tennis Tour J1 in 2019, where the competition was forced to end at the quarterfinals stage due to the increasing number of Covid-19 cases around the world.

At the time of reporting, only two countries in Southeast Asia, Malaysia (Sarawak) and Thailand, host ITF World Junior Tour J1 tournaments. It is an honour that Kuching, Sarawak is one of the important circuits.

SLTA has recently received approval from ITF to host J1 and J3 tournaments back-to-back from Oct 18 to 30 this year, and hopefully, the Covid-19 pandemic is over by then.

Article from The Borneo Post

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