Four of Launceston’s brightest tennis prospects are gracing a Grand Slam venue this weekend.
Under-12s Rebecca Clarke and Alex Martin and under-14s Arwen Koesmapahlawan and Jake Elmer are the Northern members of a 12-strong Tasmanian squad competing at the Australian teams championships at Melbourne Park.
The Australian Open venue will see the top three athletes from each age group play other states plus teams from China, Japan, Pacific Oceania and New Zealand from Friday to Monday.
James Bolzonello coaches all four players through Tennis World, a division of Tennis Australia.
“It’s my favourite event of the year because not only is it played at a Grand Slam venue but the Australian Open wildcard playoffs and 16s and 18s nationals are also going on,” he said.
“So they are in a high-performance environment and get to see what players are doing on and off the court.
“It’s a great opportunity to play against some of the best kids not only in the country but the world.”
Bolzonello has high hopes for his young charges.
“We are quite competitive but they will be challenged and hopefully they see it as a great opportunity to better their own game and see where they are at.
“Jake and Arwen have had a little bit more experience and this is not their first team nationals. They’ve both experienced it before and know where they are at and are keen to challenge themselves and see what results they can get both for themselves and the state.
“For Rebecca and Alex it’s their first nationals so a really great opportunity. They are the top in the state for their age and it’s a great challenge ahead for them to see what they need to improve on and where they are mentally, physically and technically.”