DESPITE being on school holidays, Cambewarra’s Hannah Phillips did anything but have a break over the summer.
The tennis prodigy started her busy couple of weeks on the court at the State Junior Closed Championships in Springwood in December – with the top four players from each NSW country region’s Junior Development Series invited to take part.
The Cambewarra Public School student performed strongly, finishing as the runner-up in both the under 12s consolation singles and doubles.
Phillips then took part in the under 10 City vs Country Challenge, which pitted the top four girls and boys in each age group against once another – with former Shoalhaven talent Boyd Schreiber lining up for the City side – at the Sydney International.
After a one day training camp and tour around Sydney Olympic Park, Phillips, the number one ranked played, and her team went down in a tough battle, despite her winning one set in the mixed doubles.
Following Sydney, the 10-year-old headed south to the National Super 10s at Melbourne Park, staged during week two of the Australian Open.
During the five day competition, where she was in camp with her coach, Phillips, going in as the number one ranked player from ACT, played a total of 14 matches (seven singles and seven doubles), to come home with a 6-1 record in both divisions.
“Melbourne was a great experience, despite it being very hot,” Phillips said.
“A personal highlight was watching the women’s semi-final at Rod Laver Arena.
“I also got to meet Rafa [Nadal] which was amazing.
“But doing the coin toss for the women’s doubles final, which featured Sam Stosur, was the pick of the bunch – it was a once in a lifetime experience and I’m lucky enough to keep the coin.”
Upon reflecting on the her on court exploits, Phillips said all three tournament have made her into a better player.
“Learning from experienced coaches over the summer has taught me different aspects, that I’ve added to my game,” she said.
“In particular, they stressed how important practice is – both on and off the court.
“For example, watching how hard Rafa [Nadal] trained in the heat, showed me the level you need to work at if you’re going to be successful.”
On the back of her busy summer, Phillips, who had a massive 2018 season, is preparing for an assault on the court in 2019.
“I’m stepping up to under 12 events this year, which means more ranking tournaments,” she said.
“I start my JDS series over the next couple of weekends before attempting to make the South Coast tennis team again – which will travel to Inverell later in the year.”