KUALA LUMPUR: Her family's decision to pack their bags and move to Australia in 2011 has paid off handsomely for Anja Nayar who is now one of the top junior tennis players Down Under.
Anja had last month won the Australian National Schools Under-12 singles title at the Shepparton Lawn Tennis Club in Melbourne which is one of four major junior tournaments in Australia. Her win propelled her to sixth in Australia’s under-12 rankings.
Her father Murali Nayar, who is a former Malaysian Davis Cup player, is pleased with her progress.
"The tournament had featured all the top under-12 players in the country so it was quite an achievement for her to win," said Murali, when contacted in Australia on Tuesday.
"It was also surprising as it was her first time competing on grass. She has the ability to adapt when the going gets tough.
"Overall, it has been a good year for her and she will next compete for Queensland in the National Team Event competition in Melbourne next month."
Murali stressed that the move to Australia has helped open doors for her.
"It (the sport) is professionally run here with enough tournaments in the initial development years. The ranking system is also very transparent, so there is no issue of the best players not being selected.
"For example, Anja is ranked second in Queensland, so there is no drama in the selection process for the under-12 team. The top three girls will be in the team event.
"The coaches here also continuously update themselves with the latest techniques in the sport. Australia is a grand slam nation and we can learn a lot from them.
"There are also a lot of Pro Futures tournaments for players. It is good to know there is a pathway for her,” Murali added.
Anja's elder sisters Uma and Sara are also well established players. Uma, 17, represented Malaysia at the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games and Fed Cup while Sara, 16, is the highest ranked Malaysian Junior in the ITF rankings.