TRARALGON JUNIOR INTERNATIONAL
By LIAM DURKIN
THE AGL Loy Yang Traralgon Junior International finals are on today.
More than 160 of the world’s best junior tennis players have been taking part in the week-long tournament, which acts as a lead-in to the Australian Open Juniors.
While finalists were not known at the time The Express went to press, one can say with a degree of certainty players who have taken to the courts of Traralgon in the last few days will become household names in the tennis world in years to come.
It has been a hectic few weeks for the Traralgon Tennis Association, who came straight out of hosting the ATP Challenger and ITF Women’s World Tour to host the Junior International.
The Traralgon Tennis Complex has been
transformed into what feels like a university campus, such is the array of nationalities walking around, and one cannot help but think “what are they saying?” when coaches and players are heard talking to each other during a match in a language other than English.
While the spoken word might prove a language barrier, the virtues of tennis are being displayed as competitors from different backgrounds are coming together to play a game they all know and love.
The youthful enthusiasm of junior players has also been a highlight of the tournament, with some doubles partners even overheard planning what type of high five will follow winning a point.
Russian women’s top seed Diana Shnaider was in action during the third round, and defeated Qavia Lopez of the United States, 1-6 6-3 6-3.
Speaking with The Express on Sunday, event organiser Francis Soyer from Tennis Australia said Traralgon had once again put on a great spectacle.
“It has been going well, the international players are settling in after a long trip to Australia and getting through all the arrival protocols … not easy, but now they have settled in and having a great time in Traralgon,” he said.
“As always Traralgon have a great crew, everyone knows their role and what they need to deliver, they’ve been a great help, as have council and sponsors.
“There are some promising young players who have had it tough over the last two years of COVID, they haven’t played at a high level very often, especially the Australian players who have been mainly stuck in Australia, so it is great experience for everyone involved getting to play the AO Juniors in this event, which didn’t take place in 2021, it’s a great opportunity for everyone and everyone is excited.”
Winners of today’s final will join esteemed company, which includes Roger Federer and Nick Kyrgios, and take home a famed Traralgon Akubra.