IT’S officially game on for local junior tennis talent Hannah O’Brien, with her having recently been added to Tennis Australia’s ranking list.
At just 11 years-old, and after playing competitively for less than two years, Hannah is listed 2,026th in the Australian women’s rankings.
In order to move up the rankings, Hannah needs to accrue points by reaching the finals at Tennis Australia junior tour tournaments; something she said she is very keen to do.
“Now that I have a ranking I just want to work harder and harder to get higher in the rankings so I can get to the Australian Open,” she said.
Tennis is far from just a summer sport for Hannah; she has been competing in Bendigo throughout winter as part of the Futures Tennis program, and also travels to Echuca twice each week for coaching.
Having gained much more experience since the Leader first spoke to her in April 2018, when she had played on a hard court for the first time at the Wayne Arthurs Cup at Kooyong, Hannah said she now much prefers synthetic courts.
Coming into summer, Hannah will once again be playing in the local senior competition which she joined early last year due to a lack of girls for her to play against in the junior age groups, especially at her skill level.
Hannah became a member of the GV junior representative side early last year, and will soon be competing with the squad at both the Judy Dalton Cup and the Alicia Molik Cup.
Although neither of those tournaments will help her accrue points towards her ranking, they will be good experience and she does have tournaments coming up in Bendigo and Yarrawonga where she will have the opportunity to gain more points.
Hannah’s mum Sharon said that there are a limited number of junior tour tournaments, which provide the competitive pathway for aspiring junior players to accrue points, within a reasonable driving distance.
“There are junior players who travel around to interstate tournaments chasing points, and as much as we’d love to be able to do that, it just isn’t possible,” Sharon said.
“When you’ve got the rest of the family to think about there’s just too much time and money involved.”
Hannah is pretty clear about how things would be if she could get herself there though.
“If I had my driver’s licence I’d be going to all of the tournaments for sure,” she said.
“I want those points.”