Teen ace flies high

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By SAM DUFF

Tawa’s ris­ing ten­nis star Pratt Keera­sun­ton­pong keeps on pil­ing up the ti­tles.

Pratt was thrilled to win his age group at the ju­nior mas­ters points race in Auck­land last month.

Pratt, 16, al­ready the Tawa-Lyn­d­hurst club’s top player, won the boys’ un­der-16s event at the tour­na­ment, held at the Scar­bro Ten­nis Cen­tre over Labour Weekend. He won his fi­nal match 6-4, 6-1.

‘‘The match was get­ting quite tight and it took me a while to close off the first set,’’ he said. ‘‘I was relieved to fi­nally win.’’ It is the lat­est suc­cess for the year 12 Tawa Col­lege stu­dent, who has been train­ing for up to five hours a day with his coach, Fran­cis Glover, de­spite hav­ing to study for NCEA ex­ams.

‘‘I found out how much time my com­pe­ti­tion spent train­ing and I dou­bled it,’’ he said.

Pratt said he was pleased to reach the quar­ter­fi­nals of the un­der-18 Waikato in­ter­na­tional tour­na­ment in Oc­to­ber and pointed to a re­cent win over high­lyranked Adam Thomp­son as a high­light.

‘‘It was prob­a­bly the big­gest suc­cess of my ca­reer so far,’’ Pratt said.

The Tawa young­ster is get­ting good early ex­po­sure to top play­ers from around the coun­try.

The Block­house Bay club flies him to Auck­land on Fri­days so he can train along­side its lead­ing play­ers.

Pratt plans to com­pete in sev­eral in­ter­na­tional tour­na­ments next year in Auck­land, Aus­tralia, New Cale­do­nia and Fiji. But first there’s the pesky mat­ter of NCEA.

Photo: KRIS DANDO

Look out Nadal: Tawa’s Pratt Keera­sun­ton­pong is car­ry­ing on his win­ning ways.

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