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ACE AMELIE: Promising young tennis player from Abbots ranked 19th in the country

 Published on: 26th April 2024   |   By: Annabel Stock   |   Category: Uncategorized

An eight-year-old tennis player from Abbots Langley has progressed from learning to play on a village court to being ranked 19th in the country for her age category.

Amelie Austin picked up a racket for the first time just after her fourth birthday, following the reopening of the newly refurbished Manor House courts in the village.

Unusually, Amelie doesn’t come from a tennis family – her mum admits she can “barely hit a ball!” – but it was clear that Amelie had a natural affinity for the sport, and she quickly excelled.

Despite everything grinding to a halt during the COVID-19 pandemic, Amelie returned to the courts once lockdown lifted.

She was soon observed by a county coach who invited her to a tennis potential session. Amelie, aged only six, was then selected from a large group of girls to represent Hertfordshire and is the youngest on the team.

Now aged eight, Amelie has gone on to represent Hertfordshire five times. In September 2023, she was selected for a coveted spot in the East & Central region tennis performance camps, which bring together the best young tennis players in the UK to be coached by the U10 GB National coaches.

At the beginning of 2024, Amelie won a wildcard invitation to take part in her first national competition. She played in the Grade 2 Junior National Championships, an event where the top 16 girls in Great Britian compete for the national title. Despite the tough competition, she finished as a runner-up in the compass draw. Furthermore, her exceptional performance earned her a national award for her ‘Super Strength’, recognising her ability to wield her shots as deadly weapons on the court.

Building on her success, Amelie has achieved her highest ranking yet and secured a place in the Grade 1 National Championships at Bolton Arena, the top event in junior tennis. Taking place on April 2 and 3, this was Amelie’s first two-day event, which saw her qualify out of her box and into the main draw on day 2, finishing top 19 in the U9 category.

Her mum Rachel said: “She has one private lesson a week with a coach in Finchley and otherwise plays with her dad and friends. To put that into context, most of her peers in junior tennis have seven private lessons a week, so she is doing really well considering the amount of coaching she is having.”

Like many tennis-loving children, Amelie dreams of one day playing at Wimbledon and last year queued for hours in the rain to see her first tournament. She bought a giant tennis ball to be signed by the professionals and described the experience as “the best day ever”. While Amelie is still very young, she says she already dreams of going to college in the USA to play Division 1 tennis.

Rachel added: “She works really hard but absolutely loves it. Having a passion and being good at something gives children a real sense of confidence, and that’s clear with Amelie.”

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