Juan Antonio Los Santos will make his grand slam debut in the junior ranks on Jan 25-31 at Melbourne Park. The 17-year-old will be the first Malaysian in almost 20 years (!) to compete in a grand slam junior event.
Los Santos is currently ranked at no. 139 in the junior ranking, will compete in the qualifying rounds.
If you think why Los Santos's name doesn't sound Malaysian, it's because he's of mixed Spanish-Chinese parentage.
He is currently competing in the ITF Grade One Loy Yang Power Traralgon International and will later play in the Optus Notting Hill International (Jan 16-23), both in Melbourne.
National coach Rahizam Rahim said Juan's acceptance into the Australian Open marks a new beginning for Malaysian tennis.
"It's an indication that local tennis is progressing. However, his parents should be given credit for supporting him," said Rahizam yesterday.Los Santos, in an recent interview, said he hopes to become a successful professional player one day.
His mother, Gabby, is a former international who played in the Junior Wimbledon in 1981.
Los Santos has been making steady progress since he was 13 when he won several ATF Under-14 championships and also held the Asian no. 1 ranking in this category.
In 2007, he become the youngest Malaysian winner of the ITF junior circuit when he won the Grade Four Brunei event.
His mom Gabby still haven't reply my email which request for Los Santos photos and updates. However I managed to find one photo online.
Los Santos, who will be making his Australian Junior Open debut on Sunday, failed to make an impact in two recent ITF Grade One Junior events.
At the Loy Yong Power International, Los Santos fell 6-2, 6-3 to Australia's Jason Murry Kubler in the first round in Traralgon.
In Melbourne, Los Santos, the World No 139 in the junior ranking, was beaten 6-4, 6-1 by Italy' Alessandro Colella in the Optus Nottinghill International.