Mohammad Hafizuddin Mohammad Helmi (L) and Muhd Nurul Andi Hambali Abdullah rest during their boy's doubles match at yesterday's 49th International Tennis Federation (ITF) Junior Circuit.BT/ Ak Fauzi Pg Salleh
Brunei's most highly rated national tennis player yesterday said that the lack of experience and exposure the country's junior tennis players face has contributed to their poor results at the ongoing 49th International Tennis Federation (ITF) Junior Circuit.
Both Bruneians in the boy's doubles at the country's most anticipated annual competition, Muhd Nurul Andi Hambali Abdullah and tournament debutant Zen Sii, were stopped in the first round yesterday.
Muhd Nurul Andi Hambali Abdullah partnered Malaysian Mohammad Hafizuddin Mohammad Helmi to a 6-0, 6-1 loss to Indonesia's Christian Alvin Edison and Haekal Ramadhan.
Zen Sii, meanwhile, did not take to the court after his Chinese Taipei partner, Chen Chih Kuan, failed to turn up for the game at the National Tennis Centre of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas.
Muhd Nurul Andi Hambali and Zen Sii were earlier knocked out of the boy's singles on Tuesday, but journeyed national player Mohd Aiman Abdullah doesn't feel the blame should lie squarely on the duo's shoulders.
"Andi is a good player but sometimes it depends on luck," said Aiman, who coaches at the National Tennis Centre.
"When you are drawn against a seasoned player like Mohd Iqbal, it can be quite tough.
"These (foreign) players that we have here in the tournament. They will play in more than 10 tournaments in a year, whereas for the Bruneians, they only play whatever tournaments that are organised and brought here.
"I was so lucky that I was able to travel around (the region) to play in tournaments in the past and I got good support from the authorities at that time, and I am very thankful for that.
"But sometimes we cannot just rely on support from the authorities.We must sacrifice, and for the young local players, they must also play their part in proving themselves in tournaments.
"There is more to tennis than just hitting the ball hard - we need to use our heads and think of what to do before hitting the shots.
"Apart from physical strength, we also need to be mentally strong and quick and must not be scared to play against the opponent," he adviced.
Like Aiman, Muhd Nurul Andi Hambali agreed that the gap in quality was the difference on the day.
"They were too strong for us. And my serves were not good too," he said after yesterday's game, adding that a back injury affected his game.
His partner echoed his comments, saying the seasoned Indonesians proved to be too hard to handle.
"The Indonesians are quite experienced and they gave us a tough time throughout," noted Mohammad Hafizuddin.
Muhd Nurul Andi Hambali lost 6-3, 6-0 to Indonesia's Mohammad Iqbal in boy's singles event on Tuesday while Zen Sii lost 6-0, 6-0 to Indonesia's Akhbar Farraz Haidar.
Commenting on Zen Sii, who is one of the tournament's youngest players at 13, Aiman said that competing in events like these will only make him better.
"I want him to experience the feeling of playing in big tournaments," said Aiman.
"It is not easy to create a champion.
"We will take it slow and (since) this is his first tournament it will be a very good experience for him," added Aiman.
Top seed Nawakam Khunjan from Thailand continued his fine form yesterday by advancing to the third round of boy's singles event after defeating Indonesia's Amarif Abimanyu 6-0, 6-2.
Meanwhile in the girl's singles, Hong Kong's top seed Ng Kwan Yau took out Japan's Chisato Hayakawa 6-0, 6-1 to also advance to the third round.
The tournament continues at 9am today.