The only way is up for hard-hitting Harry


It’s onward and upward for a Queenstown tennis young gun heading to Melbourne on Wednesday to battle the Aussies.

Harry James, 14, is the only Wakatipu player on the New Zealand elite 12s and 14s tennis tour, which includes a three-day training camp and the Australian state and national comps.

Coach Lan Bale, who trains Harry in the Queenstown Tennis Club’s elite programme, says the youngster’s game has rocketed in the past 12-18 months.

“He’s at that age where he’s growing a bit and getting stronger and maturing, so his tennis has improved heaps.

The hard-hitter ranks in the top three Kiwi players for his age group and travelled to China last April for the junior world champs.

Harry stands at about 170cm but has lofty ambitions: “I’m not in the world rankings yet, I’m too young, but I want to be.”

Bale, himself a pocket rocket on the professional tour in his playing days, reckons Harry will get better as the teen naturally gets taller. “[Height] will ultimately affect the way kids play, but he’s only 14 so he still may grow.

“His dad’s not that short, so if Harry gets to that 5ft 10in height (178cm), he should be right.”

The youngster will be tested again at the NZ nationals in Auckland in January.