Maybe this is a bit early to start a thread, but she's been receiving a lot of hype for someone of such a young age. It reminds me a bit of the attention that Bernard Tomic was receiving a while back. She's from Brookfield, Queensland and is born 17th December 1997, so she's 13 years old. I first heard about her when I read a BBC article
about her a couple of months ago. She's of Indian descent and born in Leeds, United Kingdom. She started playing tennis at the David Lloyd club in Leeds aged six. As a seven year old in 2005 she emerged from a UK-wide talent search of almost 10,000 to win the Ariel Tennis Ace competition, catching the eye of Boris Becker (who she got to hit with) and Tim Henman in the final at Wimbledon. Shortly after she moved to Brisbane, Australia for "lifestyle and business reasons". She still wanted to represent Great Britain but the LTA showed little interest in her development which caused her to defect to Australia. Apparently the LTA are furious that they let her go as she's now a widely recognised talent.
They're trying to pull her back now because they realise they made a huge mistake but it's too late as she's happily receiving support from Tennis Australia. It seems now that she will definitely play under the Australian flag for the rest of her career.
She's won a lot of national titles including the Optus 16s Claycourt Championships in April this year as 13 year old without dropping a set! She captained Australia in the Asia/Oceania qualifying tournament for August's ITF World Junior Tennis finals in the Czech Republic winning seven matches to help Australia clinch victory. She's now competing regularly in international top level U14 junior events.
I highly recommend reading the BBC article
. It's very in depth and pretty much tells you everything there is to know about her career.
She's getting a lot of attention from a lot of the Australian coaches as well.
Scott Draper: "I try to play it down a bit because she's only 13, but Naiktha is a very special talent. It's a long journey to become a professional tennis player at the highest level but she's certainly ahead of her peers and has the potential to go all the way."
Gary Stickler: "She loves centre stage and is fearless under pressure. She plays each ball on its merit and has a huge power base for her size - she hits harder than most 16 year olds. It wouldn't surprise me if she became a top-10 player. She really is that special."
She recently wowed leading coach Darren Cahill during a specially arranged training week in Las Vegas. "I think the world of her, she's going to be a very good player." She embarked on a seven-day training camp in Vegas, where Naiktha had the rare privilege of working one-on-one with Cahill and renowned fitness trainer Gil Reyes. The week included an on-court session with 22-time Grand Slam winner Steffi Graf, who was hugely impressed. Cahill posted a video clip to the social networking site Twitter with a message saying: "13-year-old Aussie, yes 13, going toe-to-toe with Steffi today.. keep an eye on Naiktha Bains." Brad Gilbert, another leading coach, saw the footage and wrote: "Wow what did Stef say?" Cahill replied: "Impressed.. and it takes a lot to get her attention, as you know."
Here is a photo of Naiktha and Steffi.
I think that just about covers everything.
Good luck to Naiktha in her career.
I just hope that the hype doesn't get to her!