Dip­ton girl on cen­tre court

The Invercargill Eye - - OUT & ABOUT - DARYL HOLDEN

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.

SUP­PLIED

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.

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