Tennis: Potts ready to learn from the best

By Peter White

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Otumoetai tennis player Caelan Potts will train at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida. Photo / George Novak
Otumoetai tennis player Caelan Potts will train at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida. Photo / George Novak

A Tauranga teenager will soon train at one of the world's most famous tennis academies.

Caelan Potts, 15, from the Otumoetai Tennis Club is one of just eight players in his age group from around the world who will spend next week at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida.

Players to have trained there include Kei Nishikori, Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Boris Becker, Maria Sharapova, Serena and Venus Williams and Monica Seles.

Caelan, who is part of the respected tennis programme at Tauranga Boys' College, is a big fan of Japanese star Nishikori.

"I quite like the way he plays. I like his backhand, how solid it is, and I see myself a bit in the way he plays. We play quite similar I think," Caelan said.

He was invited to attend the camp and play in the IMG Academy Discovery Open to follow in Florida after he finished third at the Kiwi Junior Championships held in Auckland in March.

Caelan is excited to learn from some of the best tennis coaches in the world.

"There will be a lot of hours on the court but they also have really good facilities for gym work and stuff so I think we will probably do a bit of that as well," he said.

"Hopefully at the training camp I will get to play quite a lot as well. I think because there have been so many great players come through the academy then they obviously know what they are doing.

"I can hopefully learn a bit more about what I can do to try and get up to that level and bring back some ideas that we are going to be doing over there."

Caelan began playing at the Otumoetai club when he was seven.

He was coached by club pro Jason Young and for the last four years has been mentored by Western Bay Tennis coach Peter Blow.

"Caelan is ranked in the top three or four nationally for his age group. He has improved out of sight in the last year or so," Blow said.

"He has all the attributes to become a professional tennis player if he wanted to or whether he just chooses to use that to go and play college tennis in the States and explore whatever happens from there."

Blow is enthusiastic about the growth of tennis in the Western Bay.

"We have also got Corban Crowther who is ranked one in the country in the 12s (age group).

"So we actually have two players who are doing exceedingly well which I suppose is a reflection of the programme Luis Luna at Tauranga Lawn and myself are running.

"All-round numbers at club level are on the increase where nationally the trend is downwards and also the numbers of kids we have playing tournaments regionally and nationally is increasing."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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