Clarence Hot Shot gets a chance at centre court
TENNIS: While she only took to tennis competitively just over two years ago, Grafton's Rahni McGrath is making serious waves.
And now the effervescent school girl is set to walk on to Australia's home of tennis, Rod Laver Arena, to fulfil a dream at the Australian Open.
McGrath has come along in leaps and bounds on the court under the tutelage of Grafton City Tennis Club coach Phil Beckman to be named the ANZ Tennis Hot Shot of December.
"Last year she was our best improved player, she was having a little bit of trouble with competitions,” Beckman said.
"But then last year we had a big one here where she beat all of these girls she had never played before and it was just a moment of her realising "wow I can really do this.
"She is a really good player and her keen attitude has just shone through.”
Thanks to the program, McGrath, along with 11 other rising tennis stars from across the country, will have the opportunity to play on Rod Laver Arena, take an exclusive visit behind the scenes of the Open to see what's involved in being a world-class athlete, and see their idols live in action.
One particular star she will be looking out for is Swiss sensation Roger Federer who will make a long-awaited return to grand slam tennis at the Open.
"I really want to meet Roger and Serena Williams,” she said. "I think Roger is a great sport and Serena is just so powerful it's great.”
The 10-year-old tennis star was buzzing with excitement about the opportunity and showed not a sign of nerves about playing on one of tennis' biggest stages.
"I feel excited and extremely lucky that I have been chosen from all the kids in Australia,” she said.
As the December winner McGrath is also has a chance at clinching the ANZ Tennis Hot Shot of the Year at an official ceremony on centre court.
The award includes a year of free coaching, one private coaching session from Alicia Molik and $5000 cash.