Youngsters competing for chance to play in Australian Open
A CHANCE to play in front of Australian Open crowds looms for 16 young players who will be on court in Grafton tomorrow.
It is not the main draw they are vying for. It is the national finals of the annual Tennis Australia Super 10s.
Four boys and four girls from each state will be handpicked for the tournament, aimed at emerging athletes aged 10 and under, to be played at Melbourne Park during the Australian Open in January.
This year, Super 10s has branched into country areas, giving players from the north-east region the chance to catch the eye of talent scouts for the first time.
"This is the first time in the country. It's always been a metro thing," North East Super 10s delegate and Junction Hill tennis coach Darren Crispin said.
"Tennis Australia are really looking into kids aged 10 to 12 for future development, and a rep will be watching this weekend.
"From this, they'll have the opportunity to be selected to play in the NSW team at the Australian Open."
The third and final round of the North East Super 10s will take place from 1pm at Grafton Tennis Club tomorrow.
Split into teams of two boys and two girls, each player will contest one singles and one doubles match across three rounds.
The host city provides a quarter of the field: the second-highest ranked girl Charlie Tkalec, from Junction Hill Tennis Club, and Grafton City players Celine McGarvie, Lily Allen and Whitney Moon.
"Charlie has just returned from the state finals where she made the quarters," Crispin said.
"Celine and Lily are also right up there with the best players in the region."
Tennis Australia's project talent leader, Kim Kachel, said in this format there was less emphasis on the outcome.
"Super 10s aims to create a fun, competitive environment for our younger athletes," Kachel said.
"It is important they get quality matches for this stage of their development.
"Awards named after Australian tennis stars are presented at each round to players demonstrating specific attributes, encouraging technique, movement, determination, tactics, focus and sportsmanship during play.''
The talent identification component means players are competing for a chance to play at Melbourne Park, toss the coin at Australian Open matches and participate in demonstrations.