Playing tennis since he was six years old is ex-NIAS athlete Cooper Wilkinson.
Wilkinson began playing tennis as he saw people playing on his local tennis courts and he asked his parents if he could have a hit.
Since then, he has been excelling in the sport and the Gunnedah local has multiple achievements under his belt.
During his time with NIAS, he was presented with multiple awards for his commitment and success on the court. This includes being the joint recipient of the most dedicated award in 2016.
He also received the athlete of the year award in 2018 at the NIAS annual awards night.
He made the under-14 NSW state final, represented NSW in the Bruce Cup and has represented NSW at the national teams event.
On top of this, in 2019 he placed third at the Australian Claycourt Championships and gained his first International Tennis Federation junior ranking.
However, these achievements did not come easy. Even with isolation measures in place, Wilkinson stated: "I train every day of the week with both fitness off-court and tennis on-court."
Luckily, he can engage in fitness training on his farm, which has helped him balance both his tennis and school commitments during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Looking towards the future, Wilkinson will be continuing to work hard to keep improving his on-court performance as he shifts up in age groups. When sporting competitions finally return back to normal, he will be coordinating his tournaments so he is able to compete both nationally and internationally.
Like any budding sports star, Wilkinson looks up to some of the greatest in the game, his favourite player being Alex de Minaur.
At only 21 years of age, de Minaur holds the No 1 ranking in Australia.
He is Wilkinson's favourite player because "he gives 110 per cent both in the match and on the practice court, and also in his off-court work".
Wilkinson shared his favourite memory of the sport. It involves the longest grand slam final in tennis history. This match occurred in 2012 between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal and lasted for nearly six hours
As a tennis players who has come out of the Northern Inland Academy of Sport and is continuing to improve in his sporting goals, Wilkinson's advice to athletes is to "set realistic and attainable goals and work hard to achieve them".