Juniors flock to tennis slowly building up their skills
THE courts of Gladstone and District Tennis Association may be far from those entertaining adoring crowds at Melbourne Park, but when kids return from holidays to the baseline, ambitions will be running high.
After watching the winners of the Australian Open on Saturday and Sunday night over this weekend, adrenaline to become one of the greats will stream through the veins and make the sport seem easy.
It is the job of coach Rob McBean to keep the youngsters' feet firmly on the ground, slowly building their skills to tournament-level.
"Hopefully we will get up to 200 in the coaching program, which is good," McBean said.
"Seeing the kids successful in our region is good, anything else is a bonus."
Despite it being 36 years since we have had an Australian win our home open, McBean said participation is still high among children and adults.
Locally, tennis has triple figures in its junior playing program, trying to emulate Novak Djokovic, Victoria Azarenka and come Monday two new Australian Open champions.
"That junior program is Friday afternoons, it includes kids from five years to 15-years-old," McBean said.
"Things are pretty much the same this year, especially for juniors and night tennis."
Following the successfully implemented programs from previous years, McBean and the association have little time to themselves, with training constant and matches scattered throughout the week.
With singles matches on Tuesday nights and doubles on Thursday evening sandwiching a slot on Wednesday morning for a more social match, the week presents a busy schedule for the Gladstone coach.