No stopping young champ
He’s 15, returning from an injury, and had a rowdy crowd barracking every mistake he made – but that didn’t stop Pratt Keerasuntonpong.
The Tawa College tennis player took out the College Sport regional championships at the Renouf Centre on February 27, an event that hosted the best under- 18 players from across the central region.
His opponent in the final, from Scots College, was almost 19 years old and had a parochial crowd behind him, Pratt says.
‘‘He’s inside the top 1000 in the world for juniors, so it was a big test for me. The crowd were pretty loud, they were cheering every double fault I made.’’
The match started disastrously for Pratt, blasted off the court 6-0 in the first set. He broke early in the second set and held his nerve to win it 6-4.
Due to time constraints they had to go to a super tie-breaker, meaning the first to 10 points would win the match and the title – Pratt took it 10-4.
‘‘It was more relief than anything else. I was so angry with myself after that first set that I had to just get off the court and re-set myself. I focused harder and didn’t make those errors.’’
Though he was the top seed for the tournament, Pratt was up against much older players, but his experience at the club level for Tawa/ Lyndhurst and in overseas competitions held him in good stead. He is unbeaten in Wellington club tennis, but is easing back into the game after a month-long injury layoff.
‘‘I didn’t give myself a huge chance to win [the College Sport event], so I was pretty happy.’’
Flying high: Tawa College’s Pratt Keerasuntonpong is producing top results on the tennis circuit.