Two young Northern Tasmanian tennis players are bound for Melbourne in January, set to compete in the national round of the Super 10s teams championship.
Thomas Heathcote and Oliver Carswell, both 10, were named in the eight-person squad last week and were thrilled by the news, and the opportunities it will bring.
“It’s pretty much been my dream,” an ecstatic Oliver told The Examiner.
“I ran across my bed when I found out,” said Thomas.
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Throughout the year Tennis Australia runs two five-week Super 10s seasons in the state, comprising four teams in North and four in the South.
Once those seasons are complete, four stand out boys and girls are selected in the state team to represent Tasmania in the national Super 10s teams championship.
In 2019 that championship will run in Melbourne across the second week of the Australian Open.
Competitors may even find themselves on the Open court themselves with a chance to toss the coin at finals games, participate in on-court demonstrations, or receive invitations to a Tennis Australia Development Camp on offer – along with the Super 10s silverware.
However, the format this year is slightly different to past competitions.
Instead of competing as state-based teams, players are grouped with those from other states in an effort to build friendships among players and coaches that may not usually have the chance to interact.
The teams of four will play across both singles, timed at 25 minutes, and doubles, timed at 50 minutes.
James Bolzonello, the head coach at Tennis World Launceston and Thomas’ current coach, said this was a great way to encourage competitors to really give their all.
“The benefits of that is that every point, every game can count… it means that every game can be the difference between winning and losing at the end of the tie,” he said.
Thomas said his brother Jack Heathcote made the trip to compete in the 2018 event, and has been filling him.
Both will attend the Open to watch the world’s best before taking to the court themselves.
“I’m going with my family to see them play, but then I’ll come back and go again for the 10s,” Thomas said.
Mathew Carswell, Oliver’s father and coach – who has also previously coached Thomas – said it was a really great opportunity and often the first time the young players experience the game at such a level.
“It’s really designed to give these kids a bit of an experience of what tennis on tour is actually like,” he said.
“Since [Oliver] first picked up a racket that’s what he’s always wanted to do.”
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