FOR one Gunnedah rising tennis star, 2018 has been a year of major improvements and accomplishments.
St Mary’s College student Vitorio Sardinha’s hard work throughout the year has seen him sky rocket up the Australian tennis rankings to 1070, almost 500 places higher than where he began the year.
The Gunnedah Tennis Club member’s hard work was rewarded further when he recently claimed a spot in the 2019 Foundation Cup in Melbourne.
“It was a goal of mine at the start of this year to make the Foundation Cup team,” Sardinha said.
“My coach Craig Louis and I worked out what I wanted to achieve and what I needed to do to get there.
“It basically involved a lot of tournaments right across the state and in Victoria, and a lot of hard work.”
Sardinha will represent the state at the Foundation Cup as one of the two best junior men’s players in NSW.
The 13-year-old will be following in the recent footsteps of fellow Gunnedah Tennis Club members Cooper Wilkinson, Shaylee Martin, Emily Osmond, Gabby O'Gorman and Andrew Osmond who have also played in the Foundation Cup.
“It’s so awesome to have those guys around to get information off,” Sardinha said.
“We have had about five or six players from Gunnedah play in the cup over the last six years and to be one of those players is pretty cool.”
Vitorio’s father Wellington Sardinha said his son’s selection was a testament to the quality of coaching available in the region.
“Having Vitorio involved not just with Craig but with NIAS as well has been terrific,” he said.
“I think the amount of quality players Gunnedah has produced over the last few years and some of the things they have gone onto achieve, really shows how great our pathway systems are at the moment.
“His mother and I are certainly proud of him, and she certainly deserves a lot of credit as she is often the one travelling all over to take him to training, tournaments and things like that.”
Sardinha said he was looking forward to the challenge of playing on Melbourne’s grass courts.
“I recently got my first experience playing on grass during a tournament in Albury,” he said.
“It was a bit different to playing on synthetic and clay but it should be something I’ll be more comfortable with as we get closer to the cup.
“Hopefully it all goes well and I can get my ranking out of the postcodes and into the triple digits.”
- The 2019 Foundation Cup will be held at Melbourne’s Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club in January.