Launceston tennis prodigy Sam Whitehead is ready to take another big step in his career.
The 18-year-old has accepted a four-year scholarship to play for the University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley beginning in mid-2021.
You are playing against not only American players - these colleges attract players from around the world.James Bolzonello
Whitehead, who recently finished school at Newstead College, said the confirmation of the scholarship was a relief.
"I've been working towards this for a long time and I'm happy that it's come through," he said.
Whitehead was put in contact with the college by a former student who now lives in Tasmania.
UT, Rio Grande Valley's tennis program is in division one of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
"They're definitely a strong tennis school ... a few other Tassie boys have gone over there and competed at that level," Whitehead said.
"The competition there is really good and I'm excited to be matching up with some really strong players."
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Collegiate tennis in the US is seen as a melting pot and accelerator for up-and-coming tennis players, according to Whitehead's coach James Bolzonello.
"You are playing against not only American players - these colleges attract players from around the world," he said.
"You look at some of these teams and they're built up with players from Europe and Asia; you're playing with some of the best in the world."
Whitehead's move across the Pacific comes at a tumultuous time, with the COVID-19 situation in America still up in the air.
"I know there's a vaccine coming and everyone's working to get it under control, I'll have to wait and see," he said.