FINANCE is a major factor affecting the progress of the local tennis players.
The Oceania Closed Junior Championship played at the Construction and Equipment Hire Limited in Lautoka last week featured many top players from the region like 15-year-old Sara Tomic of Australia who has a world junior ranking of 55.
Tomic lost in the quarter-final. This year she participated in the Australian Open Championship, Roland Garros Junior French Championship and Junior Wimbledon Championship.
She will be featuring in the upcoming US Open and has also played in Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Romania, Morocco and Germany
National coach Naga Reddy said the local players had learnt a lot from visitors.
"The tournament brought many good players who are highly ranked in the world and our players have learnt a lot from them," Reddy said.
"They have seen what it is like to play at that level. Many of the overseas players that have played in this tournament in Fiji have gone on to play in the grand slam events.
"Our regional tennis centre in Lautoka is great for the development of the sport. Our players do not get the opportunity to travel abroad to participate in tournaments.
"With the overseas players coming here, it gives them the idea of what it takes to reach that high level. Our players lack finance.
"They need to play against better opponents to lift their standard. Over here they only play among themselves and are not able to get tougher opponents."