junior star Olivia Tjandramulia
junior star Olivia Tjandramulia Sharyn O'Neill

Rockhampton star's dad accuses Tennis Australia of bias

TENNIS Australia is in the firing line as the father of junior star Olivia Tjandramulia makes a stand for country kids and serves up a series of questions about his daughter's non-selection.

Rockhampton resident Judy Tjandramulia has confronted Tennis Australia hierarchy, including tennis great Pat Rafter, Fed Cup captain Alicia Molik and Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley, asking why his daughter was continually overlooked by the sport's governing body.

Put simply, Tjandramulia wants Olivia to receive a fair go.

Tjandramulia said Olivia, who is the World No.67 junior girls player, had unfairly missed out on Junior Federation Cup selection and singles and doubles wildcard entries to major tournaments.

He said in one instance his daughter, who won the Australian under-18 girls title in December, had put her hand up to represent Australia in Fed Cup ties when other players declined or were unavailable.

Olivia, 17, joined Kimberley Birrell and Naiktha Barnes in the 2013 Fed Cup team which helped Australia progress through the Asia/Oceania qualifiers and into the finals.

Despite winning both her singles and doubles matches, she was then overlooked for selection for the final.

"I was surprised when Olivia wasn't selected to be in the team for the finals in Mexico," Tjandramulia said.

"The question is, why (did) TA chuck Olivia out of the team without any reason and choose Priscilla (Hon) and Sara (Tomic) who declined for the finals over Olivia?

"What selection criteria is this based on? Please don't tell me this is because Olivia is not with TA and Maddy (Maddison Inglis) is with TA," he said.

"It's all about promoting TA - the national academy's image not the actual tennis in Australia.

"Or is it because she is coached by me or maybe she simply does not live in the city, she lives in a regional town?

"If that's the case it is going against the Australian way of life, which is to give everyone a fair go.''

Tjandramulia said Olivia had not received a wildcard entry into a major tournament since she won the Australian under-14 and under-16 titles.

During her eight months as a Tennis Australia player, he said his daughter was in the constant eye of selectors.

However that all changed when the Tjandramulias decided to go it alone.

"When she was in TA for eight months she got everything - the wildcard, including the Aus Open women's doubles," he said.

"Now she is not with TA she doesn't get anything.

"If this bias keeps on it will destroy Australia's women's tennis.

"I'm not asking much from TA, I won't even ask for funding, as TA doesn't believe Olivia will become a good player, I just want TA to give her a fair go."

In an email to Tjandramulia, Molik said she was not involved in the selection process for the Fed Cup team, but would find out why Olivia was not selected for the final.

She said there were no criteria for wildcard selection, the purpose of which was to provide an opportunity for a player whose ranking does not give them acceptance into a draw.

Molik urged Tjandramulia to remain optimistic about his daughter's future.

"I like how Olivia plays, I believe she has a future," Molik said. "If she continues to progress and improve there will always be opportunities."

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