Grafton City Tennis Club to host highest ranking tournament
A TOTAL prize pool of $7500 will be up for grabs when Grafton City Tennis Club hosts its highest ranking tournament of the year this weekend.
Thirty-eight of the best men and 19 women from across the eastern states will converge on the valley for the 2015 Grafton Gold AMT tournament.
One notable absentee, however, will be hometown girl Taylah Beckman, who flies out of Australia on Sunday to pursue her dreams on the tennis court.
Beckman is set to follow in the footsteps of friends and former hitting partners Brittany Huxley, Jacob Sullivan and Ashleigh Elward and play tennis on the US College circuit.
She is bound for Brigham Young University (BYU) in Utah, which is the same college as Sullivan.
"I'll get to compete with the college tennis team and study to get a degree as well," she said.
"If I was to stay out here it's pretty much choose one or the other.
"One of my priorities was to be part of a really strong tennis team. It's going to be really good to be training with 10 or so other girls, all in the same competitive environment, when it's usually myself, dad and Phil (Beckman)."
"Lately I have been mainly work on my game and my fitness and not playing many tournaments."
Beckman is not at all daunted by what lies in front of her. Her trip with dad and co-coach Michael Beckman will include a stopover in Los Angeles to her uncle Darren Beckman, who is a tennis coach at the luxurious Riviera Country Club.
"I visited the college in February so I know where I'm going and I also have a lot of family over there as in LA, Florida and Austin."
According to Beckman, the university has a strong business reputation, which could influence her decision when deciding what to study after her freshman year.
She is also not fussed by Utah's reputation as the home to the biggest population of Mormons.
"They have their beliefs like everyone does everywhere. It doesn't really affect me," she said.
She is also venturing to a part of the world renowned as a snow skiing paradise with some of the driest powder in the world.
"I've never been skiing. So I'm really excited to do that."