The Lawn Tennis Association of Malaysia (LTAM) have embarked on a pilot project to send their young talents to train abroad.
Disturbed by the constant bickering among certain parties who have disrupted plans to set up a proper academy in the country, a group of junior players — Ariez Elyaas Deen Heshaam (pic), Assri Merzuki, Mohd Nazim Khan, Ahmed Deedat and Syed Agil Syed Naguib — will hone their skills at the Alberto Portas High Performance tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain, during a month-long stint.
Ariez has left earlier while Assri and Syed Agil left on Friday. Ahmed, meanwhile, will not be able to join his teammates as he has yet to fully recover from an ankle injury.
The academy was founded by former top-20 ATP player Albert Portas. He was formerly attached to the Sanchez Casal academy also in Spain.
"We need to move forward. It's disappointing we can't seem to set up a proper academy here as the players are distracted by outside influences," said LTAM president Datuk Abdul Razak Latiff.
"We will monitor the progress of our players and will send them to other academies as well to see where they best fit. We're looking at sending the girls too in the near future."
The boys will return in time to represent their respective States for the Sukma in Malacca next month.
"There they will know the meaning of discipline, eating the right food and adopting the right attitude. We want to mould tennis players and they have to play against stronger opponents."
When asked about national coach S. Selvarajoo's tenure in the national set up, Abdul Razak added. "Selvarajoo's key performance index will be the Davis Cup (in July). We will then sit down and evaluate his performance and that of the team." - LTAM website.