Dipton girl on centre court
From Dipton to the ASB Classic professional tournament’s centre court in Auckland...
Talk about a wild ride for Southland tennis youngster Zara Orr.
The 10-year-old received a real thrill when she was one of eight youngsters picked in a draw to participate in a Kid on Court hot shots demonstration on the main court and before the men’s professional singles final at the ASB Classic in Auckland last week.
Zara’s mum, Julz Orr, said it was a fantastic experience, which worked in perfectly with their family holiday to Auckland.
‘‘I registered Zara for a place as a Kid on Court when it was promoted.
‘‘Zara was one of 36 kids to get a place and then one of eight for that particular day.
‘‘The experience was fantastic. They played for about 20 minutes prior to the men’s semis.’’
And the best part for Zara? She said she loved playing on the centre court where ‘‘the top tennis players play on’’.
Hot Shots is the national starter tennis programme for New Zealand children. It’s aimed at beginners aged three to 12.
They play on smaller courts with shorter racquets and softer balls.
The programme is very popular in Southland, but getting to rally and show her hot shots skills on the top court in New Zealand before a big crowd was a real buzz for Zara.
It also completed a top tennis time for the Dipton School youngster.
At the recent Wanaka junior tennis tournament, Zara won the 10 years girls’ consolation singles to show she was a player with potential.
Her Auckland appearance was also one of a number of recent tennis highlights for Southland juniors, who have been competing in the national championships in the 12, 14 and 16 years divisions in Auckland and Christchurch.
One of the best results saw Tim Willans and Halle Faherty win the tier 2 under-14 mixed doubles title in Christchurch.
Tier 2 represents the combinations ranked nine to 16 in the country.
The full list of Southland players in national championship action have been: Kade Wilson, Claudia Smith, Bianca Popham, Tim Willans, Finn Holden, Emma White, Halle Faherty, Riley Smith, Sophie Willans and coach Pete White.
Zara Orr, 10, of Dipton, took part in a junior tennis exhibition just before the ASB Classic men’s professional singles semi-finals in Auckland.