Long rally to raise money

Target 10,000

GEORGE HEAGNEY
Last updated 12:00 15/08/2012
Jono Spring
ROBERT KITCHIN/Fairfax NZ
SERVING UP AN ACE: Jono Spring is planning on hitting 10,000 shots without a mistake as a fundraiser next month.

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Jono Spring isn't one to shy away from a challenge and he has just taken up a huge one.

Spring is going to try to hit 10,000 shots without a mistake as a fundraiser for the Manawatu Lawn Tennis Club on September 22.

A few months ago, Spring was trying to get some of his students to hit 40 or 50 balls in a row without making a mistake.

"I said, tongue in cheek, ‘if I made a mistake in 10,000 shots, I'd be pretty dark on myself'. They said ‘you're talking rubbish' and I said ‘honestly I believe I can hit 10,000 balls and not make a mistake'. They said ‘prove it'."

As tough as it sounds, Spring is confident he and Bridget Dickins - his playing partner for the event - will be able to complete the challenge, which is expected to take 3 hours. "I'm one of those people who if someone thinks I can't do something, I want to prove them wrong," Spring said. "I've been that way my whole life."

When he was 17 he ran the 37km from Marton, where he is originally from, to Whanganui, just because no-one believed he could.

If the pair make a mistake in the first 500 strokes they'll restart, but otherwise they will keep going.

"I'll do everything in my power to make it happen. It's going to be pretty physical. About three and three-quarter hours of constant hitting, but as far as I'm aware, it's never been attempted in New Zealand before."

The longest tennis rally was 25,944 strokes between Ettore Rossetti and Angelo Rossetti from the United States, which was in the back of Spring's mind.

"If we actually get over 10,000 without making a mistake, I'm not stopping."

There will be a couple of backup people in case Dickins needs a break and there will also be people on standby for when they need a drink.

Spring said he was up to the task mentally and was hoping for a nice day because it would still go ahead in wind or rain.

The pair have been training for the attempt, hitting more than 1000 shots and now they had to increase to 2000, then 5000 before getting to 10,000.

"Your average Joe would be happy with five or 10 shots going over the net, so to complete this would be a huge achievement."

Spring said he learned how to conserve energy over the time period.

He had wanted to do the event on a road but thought it would be too dangerous.

The tennis coach hopes the event will get more Manawatu kids playing tennis as well as helping fundraise for the club.

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- Manawatu Standard

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