Cherie Howie

Cherie Howie is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Nieces of famous player serve up US tennis success

Caroline Lewis, 15, attends the Ivan Lendl tennis academy in the US and trains up to five hours a day. Photo / Supplied
Caroline Lewis, 15, attends the Ivan Lendl tennis academy in the US and trains up to five hours a day. Photo / Supplied

Teenage nieces of a Kiwi Wimbledon finalist are making an impact on the United States junior tennis scene.

Carolina and Jade Lewis moved from Auckland to Hilton Head Island in South Carolina a year ago when their father David Lewis won the job of head coach at the newly-opened Ivan Lendl International Junior Tennis Academy.

David is a former professional tennis player and the brother of Wimbledon 1983 finalist Chris Lewis.

Carolina, 15, and Jade, 13, now train four or five hours a day and have played more than 100 matches in the US.

Both have big dreams. Jade wants to play professionally, while Carolina aspires to emulate New Zealand tennis No 1 Marina Erakovic.

"I really like her style, she plays not like a typical woman, she gets lots of spin and she serves really well. I'd like to serve like that," said Carolina.

David said his girls were very driven and their hard work was starting to pay off.

Both had been playing in the tough Southern competition, which pits tennis players against others from nine states.

"It's the strongest competition in the country. There's a lot of depth and a lot of top players have come from there," said David.

Jade has a ranking of 35 and Carolina is ranked 52 in the Southern 16 and under category.

Although the girls had played club tennis while living in New Zealand for six years, they did not play competitively because of the link to their famous uncle, said David.

"I was probably being a little over protective of them. Being a Lewis, I didn't want to put the pressure on them. The time is right for them now and they're certainly making up for lost time."

- Herald on Sunday

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