Mitch rapt to win singles in Gladstone homecoming

By GREGOR MACTAGGARTmactaggartg@gladstoneobserver.com.au

FORMER Gladstone resident Mitch Walden was rapt to be back in the harbour city after winning the Special Men's tennis singles event yesterday.

The promising 17-year-old who is now based on the Gold Coast took home the title after defeating Aaron Farmer in an exciting final 6-3, 6-4.

'I am happy to be back here in Gladstone this weekend, I really enjoyed living here and coming back,' Walden said.

A former protege of respected local coach Ken Hick, Walden is enjoying his tennis at the Gold Coast.

He is currently ranked 87th in Australia at under-18 level and is keen on lifting that with every tournament.

'I finished school last year and am currently playing and coaching tennis,' he said.

'Tournaments like this are a good way of improving my game under pressure.'

Walden is spending more than 40 hours each week on court to build up his game for a shot at being a professional.

'At the moment, my focus is trying to build my all round game,' he said.

'I am having a real go at trying to be a professional player, that is my dream.'

Walden didn't speculate how long it would take him to be part of the professional circuit, but said he would be ready when he got there.

'To be part of the satellite tour you have to earn a world ranking and I want to be sure I can handle it,' he said.

When asked about his assets as a player, Walden mentioned his 190kph serve and forehand.

'My serve is probably my best weapon, but my forehand isn't too bad,' he said.

Like most talented junior sportsman, Walden said he wouldn't have made it this far without the support of parents Ron and Trudy.

'Mum and Dad have supported my tennis since I was young and my grandparents, who I live with, are great for me as well.

'They keep me pretty well fed which is great,' he said.



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