Hong Kong is the only territory to have three players in the main draw of the Australian Junior Open, which starts in Melbourne today. Zhang Ling, 16, Jessica Yang Zi-jun, 15, and Venise Chan Wing-yau, 16, will be among the 64 hopefuls who take to the court today in the girls' singles. Some of the best under-18 players from around the world will take part in the week-long competition, which runs alongside the Australian Open - a Grand Slam event for professionals. The Hong Kong girls qualified for the main draw because of their high world rankings. Chan, a former Marymount Secondary School student, is now ranked 38 in the world after finishing strongly last year, when she reached the quarter-finals of the Grade A Osaka Mayor's Cup. Mainland import Zhang is the highest-ranked Hong Kong player, at 35, and Yang is 94. Yang only learned last week that she was included in the main draw, having expected to play in the qualifiers. Last October, the three girls took part in the 16-team Junior Federation Cup in Barcelona, Spain, finishing a respectable 11th. It was the first time Hong Kong had qualified for the world finals of the prestigious junior competition. Being part of a Grand Slam event is an adventure for the girls, said their coach Raphael Maurer. 'It has been a great learning experience for them and they are very excited about playing in the Open,' he said. 'I want them to believe in themselves and play their hardest. I have not really been impressed with the standard at the event and I believe the girls have a good chance at the Australian Open. 'Most of the girls here have played at this level for a while, and have more experience than our players. But in terms of fitness, we have done many short sessions of explosive power and speed. The girls are fit.' The under-18 World Junior Circuit has helped nurture top tennis talent. The world's current top-two men's players, Roger Federer of Switzerland and American Andy Roddick, were both year-end number one-ranked juniors back in 1998 and 2000, respectively. Most ranking points are awarded for the nine major championships (Grade A), which include the four Grand Slam events, Coffee Bowl, Banana Bowl, Italian Junior Open, Osaka Mayor's Cup, and Orange Bowl.