By Geoff Newling
ALICIA Smith is hoping to break into the main women’s circuit, the WTA, this year.
The 17-year-old tennis player was back home from the Pure Tennis Academy in Brisbane that has been her home for the past two years and having a hit with her former Tamworth coach Jarrod Campbell at the Tamworth Tennis Club’s Treloar Park courts yesterday.
“It’s been fun,” Alicia said of her two year stint at the Pure Tennis Academy.
“Hard work but fun. I focused on fitness a lot too as well as a few technical changes.”
Alicia also spent a lot of time in 2013 travelling around the globe improving her game and experience at ITF tournaments, playing in the Under 18 and open divisions.
Barbados, Puerto Rico, Fiji, New Zealand were just some of her destinations for tournaments.
Runner-up in NZ and making the semi finals in Puerto Rico were highlight efforts.
“I’ve finished school now,” Alicia said.
“My focus now will be all tennis.”
She’ll still play the ITF circuit but will also try and crack it for a spot on the WTA as well.
“That’s the aim,” she said.
“Hopefully I’ll get a start on the WTA. I have to qualify. That will be hard.”
Her former coach, Campbell, was glad to “see her back for Christmas”.
“Two years we came to a point where she could stay here and I’d coach her full time or she went to Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne and an environment that was more cutthroat.
“We sifted through her options and she decided on Brisbane.
“We couldn’t provide the depth of talent and competition here as she could get up there. We’re extremely proud of her and what she’s done so far.
“But she also serves as a role model for all our kids down here too. And she is living the dream up there. Whether she makes it or not she’s given herself the chance to reach her goal.”
He said Alicia is extremely fast and powerful.
She used to prefer the baseline game but has broadened that since moving north and now plays a more “all over game”.
“I love to be creative,” she said.
“Just hope to keep improving my game.”
She also thanked her sponsors, Kensell Holden, McDonald’s and Sean Hofman Electrical, for their support over the past few years.