Young hot­shots climb CQ rank­ings

... un­til pull of mo­tocross wrests away el­der brother

Central and North Burnett Times - - SPORT -

HOT shot broth­ers Mitchell and Kody Baker are climb­ing the ju­nior Cen­tral Queens­land ten­nis rank­ings.

Mitchell, 11, re­cently placed first in un­der-11 sin­gles and sec­ond in dou­bles at the Med­ibank Ju­nior Mas­ters Tour­na­ment in Her­vey Bay, where brother Kody, 9, placed sec­ond in the un­der-10s sin­gles.

The Gayn­dah broth­ers, who prac­tise twice a week and train un­der pro­fes­sional coach Kevin Ban­ner, will par­tic­i­pate in a ten­nis devel­op­ment course this week­end in Glad­stone.

Kody has been play­ing tour­na­ments for four years and said he en­joyed “ev­ery­thing” about ten­nis.

“I want to keep play­ing for ages; I want to play Wim­ble­don,” Kody said.

He ex­plained the joy of hit­ting the ball meant “you don’t know if it’s go­ing to be in or out”.

An ad­dict of back­hand be­cause “it gives you more power”, the left-han­der’s next favourite shots were the smash and vol­ley.

Both boys play touch, which Kody val­ued for “im­prov­ing the run­ning; there’s a lot of run­ning in touch”.

While Mitchell started play­ing ten­nis tour­na­ments when he was seven, mum Leisa Baker said he was hit­ting a ball at two.

“It started with golf as that was Grand­dad’s thing,” Mrs Baker said.

As the grand­par­ents also had a ten­nis court, it was only nat­u­ral that Mitchell would learn to play the game, she said.

In the un­der-10s Cen­tral Queens­land com­pe­ti­tion, Mitchell’s near­est ri­val was Jack Hickey of Bund­aberg – with whom he played the win­ning dou­bles match, and who tri­umphed in the sin­gles fi­nal.

While Mitchell named his favourite shots as “fore­hands and serves – the eas­i­est ones”, it’s the so­cial as­pect that keeps him com­ing back – for now.

“I will con­tinue play­ing ten­nis un­til I get enough money to do mo­tocross; I’m sav­ing up for a bike,” he said.

“I come from a whole fam­ily of mo­tor­bike rid­ers.”

PHOTO: SHIRLEY WAY

TEN­NIS CHAMPS: Broth­ers Kody and Mitchell Baker are climb­ing the un­der-10s rank­ings in the Cen­tral Queens­land Ju­nior Mas­ters ten­nis se­ries.

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