Youngsters fired up for age grade champs

TENNIS JONATHAN MCKEOWN
Last updated 13:00 10/01/2014

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The biggest week in New Zealand tennis will see Nelson represented at the national age grade championships.

While world number three David Ferrer battles for a record fifth Heineken Open title, seven of Nelson's brightest young tennis stars will take to the court around the country.

A group of players will head to Wilding Park in Christchurch for the 12-and-under champs. Marshall Hore, Luca Molnar (boys), Jordan Berry, Sophie Hurst and Monique Hore (girls) will play in both doubles and singles competition over five days.

Amy Hurst and Sophie Olaman will head north to the Waikato Tennis Centre in Hamilton for the under-16 competition, matching it with the top 64 players in their age group from across the country.

Representing Nelson and their clubs of Richmond, Hope and Golden Bay, coach Ngaire Calder - who will travel with the young team - said this competition was more than just on-court action.

"They will train together each morning before they play and we will all stay together so they are a team," Calder said.

"Tennis is such an individual sport so it is quite nice for them to be together and have a bit of fun."

With the fun also came the responsibility of representing the region and Calder said this was something the players would focus on with their self-discipline.

"It's hard yakka. They will be on court each day from 7.30, it is a big day, so it is about learning and managing themselves.

"It's not just about playing tennis, it is about being away from the comforts of home and learning to manage themselves off court," Calder said.

On-court, Calder said it was hard to tell how the Nelson players would go but they were "showing a lot of promise" already.

"It is a good experience for these 12-and-under kids, because a lot of them are only 10 and 11. It is good for them to gauge where they are in New Zealand and it is a chance to compete against players from different areas."

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- The Nelson Mail

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