Steffi wins way to United States
Horsham tennis young gun Steffi McDonald will take another step towards a professional career in the sport when she attends Lindsey Wilson College in the USA on a scholarship next year.
Mcdonald, courted by several colleges with scholarship offers, settled on Lindsey Wilson in Kentucky due to its small size and strong coaching program, offering her more support.
She said she had received the offers after signing up with an agency which posted statistics and videos of her training, as well as her academic transcripts, on its website.
“A couple of months ago they emailed me and asked if I was interested in a scholarship with Lindsey Wilson and playing for them from January onwards,” she said.
“I’ve had a lot of colleges contact me, but it was the one I was most interested in.
“Ever since I’ve signed with them I’ve had colleges still reaching out, but it was the best fit for me.
“It’s a private college, so it’s not as big as some of the other colleges I was talking to, which had about 50,000 people there.
“Coming from a small town like Horsham it’s a big step, especially being in a different country as well.
“We looked for somewhere smaller that had a good tennis and training program and where I was going to get looked after well.
“They’ve got a good program and they’ve had pretty good results.”
The scholarship will cover Mcdonald’s board, tuition and tennis costs during her four years at the college.
She said she would study sports management, but her focus was on forging a professional career. “I’d like to go on and play pro tours,” she said. “Otherwise, I’d probably try to get a job in the sports-management field, but I’d definitely like to keep going on with tennis and play a lot more pro tours.”
Mcdonald created history by becoming the first woman to compete in the men’s section of Central Wimmera Tennis Association’s pennant competition this year.
The talented 18-year-old has represented School Sport Victoria at the 18 and under Pizzey Cup and Australian Cup Singles Championships, and was a member of the Australian Merit team last year.
Tennis Australia’s website shows she is currently the 148th ranked female tennis player in Australia.
Mcdonald said she was nervous and excited to begin her college experience.
She thanked her family for supporting her tennis ambitions.