American girl hopes to take Grafton magic back to Hollywood
THE migration of Grafton's best young tennis stars to training camps and college scholarships in the United States is not all one way traffic.
Meet Micheline Aubuchon, a 16-year-old from Los Angeles who has traded her ritzy Riviera Tennis Club facilities - where Pete Sampras and Victoria Azarenka regularly hit up - for an intensive month of tennis coaching with Grafton's Phil Beckman.
"I've been training up to six hours a day, and will play in the Sawtell, Grafton and Newcastle Platinum Money events during my time here," Aubuchon or "Michie" said.
"I've only been here a few days but the courts are beautiful, everyone has been very welcoming and it's great to only have to concentrate on tennis.
"Your candy here is outrageously good too. I love the snakes and red frogs best."
Michie first heard about our red frogs while training under Darren Beckman, Phil's brother, who has been coaching in Los Angeles for 14 years.
That is how she also met Phil and decided to come out to Australia, and more specifically Grafton, for her intensive month of tennis during her summer break.
"I come over the road and play tennis from 6am in the morning, come back in the afternoon and have been coming over at night too," Micheline said.
"Playing tennis at a high level is really great way to get a college scholarship and while I'm lucky that my family is not in dire need to get one for me to go to college, it's definitely my aim to make it onto the college circuit.
"I've been playing here already with (Grafton's) Brittany Huxley who is already playing for the University of Arkansas, and have had a hit with Kelly Adamson who was also previously on the college tour.
"You have some really great players over here and it's really good for me to play against different people.
"I find that at home I play the same people week in and week out."
If you think Michie is blessed to have such a great opportunity in her life, she is.
Identifying as both an African and native American, Micheline was adopted at birth by her mother Joanna Lipari, who is here in Grafton with her, and television-series-producing father.
Remi Aubuchon is listed in the credits of the current Falling Skies series on Foxtel, and has also been involved in producing Summerland the popular 24 series.
Joanna, a clinical psychologist has also enjoyed a career as an actress including in Jaws: The Revenge and A Nightmare on Elm Street among a string of other TV appearances in series such as ER and The Practice.
"I hear that one of the girls playing at Sawtell this week is ranked number 12 in Australia, so I'm excited to do my best and get as many matches in as I can," Michie says.
"I don't have an Australian ranking so I could come up against anyone in the early rounds.
"I'm looking forward to it."