Ali Saleh of Bradbury is only 9 years old but he’s already playing and sometimes beating tennis opponents several years older.
He’s also using a standard tennis ball.(Most players under 12 use special coloured balls of different compressions, designed for small hitters.)
But Ali is definitely a big hitter.
He’s also the latest winner of Campbelltown Catholic Club’s monthly Sports Hotshot award.
The Bradbury Public School student has won $500 to help his family’s coaching expenses as he tries to follow in the footsteps of his tennis idol, Rafael Nadal.
Closer to home, Ali has met the rising Australian star Tanaki Kokinakis, who earlier this year in Miami defeated Roger Federer.
Another nice link is that Kokinakis’s coach once trained Ali’s coach, Kyle Anderson.
“Ali is a very good player for his age and does well,” Anderson said at the Tennis Macarthur courts in Leumeah, “but if he wants to do this as a career he needs to put the hard work in.”
Ali’s proud mum, Niddal, believes her son can one day represent Australia.
“My little guy has the best attitude towards tennis and he loves playing more than anything,” she said. “He is the youngest player to play at his Saturday junior comp and versus 11 and 12 year olds and at times wins against them.
“Thanks to the Campbelltown Catholic Club for their great support.”
The Club’s Sports Hot Shot award encourages young sportspeople to share their story online for the chance to win cash every month. It’s simple for any talented young local sportspeople to enter, smiply click here and share your sporting story in 250 words (or less) about your junior ‘Sports Hot Shot’. Every month the Club will Award $500 for the best entry. Stories don’t just have to be around sporting achievement. It could be about participation, overcoming personal adversity or you may have had your own ‘Steven Bradbury’ moment where you had an unexpected win against all the odds.
Entrants must live in Macarthur and the nominating parent must be a member of Campbelltown Catholic Club.Sports Hot Shot must be 21 years of age or younger. Management’s decision shall be final and no correspondence will be entered into. If you’re not already a member and want to take part in this program, you can join Campbelltown Catholic Club membership for as little as $8 per year.
Article and Photography by Jeff McGill