Thanks sponsor: (from left) Dave and Bjorn Pollock, SBS’ Honor Mathieson, Jesse Eccles and Lan Bale
Queenstown tennis is notching good results on and off court.
Queenstown youngsters have helped Southern Lakes win the under-12s tennis quadrangular.
The side – including Queenstown’s Manawa Rakete-Shea, 12, Bjorn Pollock, 11, Jesse Eccles, 12, and Queenstown-coached Emelia Price, 11, of Winton – beat Canterbury A and B, Otago, South Canterbury and Southland last month in Timaru.
Queenstown coach Lan Bale says it’s great for the kids to get reward for the time they put into training. Meanwhile, SBS has signed onto Bale’s Queenstown Tennis Academy as a sponsor, supplying tennis balls, caps and water bottles.
And for the past three weeks academy members have been benefiting from coaching by former academy graduate Riki McLachlan, now on a full scholarship at the University of California.
McLachlan is back in Queenstown on a break and helping coach Matt Davies train up to 10 academy kids for four hours daily while Bale is in Africa visiting family.
McLachlan, whose younger brother Ben is also in California on a tennis scholarship, says it doesn’t seem like work at all and the kids’ feel for the game has improved since his last visit at Christmas time.
“It’s cool to see Queenstown kids working hard and going after it and maybe following in Ben and my footsteps,” Riki says.
“It’s cool to come back and help these guys ... I enjoy coming back and hitting with them and I think they do too.
“It’s great that there’s a lot of them. Ben and I used to get a little bit stagnant.”
Riki graduates in May next year and says he plans to stay involved with tennis afterwards either as a player or coach.
“I really enjoy tennis, I can’t imagine doing too much else.”
Meanwhile, Ben, who gained his first professional ranking point last month by winning four matches at an entry-level tournament in the US, is playing more pro events in the UK during the next month.
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