New Zealand Under 12 tennis champion Aulky Wang is staying close to his Kelston roots and a training programme led by his father and fulltime coach Yiyong Wang.

It has so far proven a recipe for success.

Thirteen-year-old Wang, who was born in west Auckland and has grown up in Kelston, recently returned from the 2017 ITF World Junior Tennis Asia Oceania Zone qualifiers in Bangkok, where he and his teammates finished ninth.

He has started Year 9 at Kelston BHS, where he has for the past nine years had access to a free tennis court, where he trains for at least 15 hours a week with his father. It means he doesn't have to worry about cost, or bookings, and he can walk to the courts from home.

Wang was head-hunted by schools outside of his home suburb of Kelston, but he and his parents Yiyong Wang and Bridgette Li have decided to stay loyal to the school that has already offered the family plenty over the years.


Kelston BHS principal Brian Evans says the school is also stepping up to offer Wang a special Kelston scholarship package, which allows him to study flexibly and also supports his travel and tournament expenses. While the school has a series of scholarships, providing this one to Wang was easy as it was investing in one of Kelston's own.

His parents have worked as cleaners at the school for more than 10 years. During that time, Wang has trained at the school with his father, who has coached him since he began playing at age five. His older brother Waikie is also at Kelston, in Year 11.

The family is fortunate enough to live within walking distance of the school, which helps enormously time-wise, for both him and his Dad.

Yiyong Wang is a self-taught coach, whom Aulky says has learned everything he knows through research. He didn't play or have any involvement with tennis while growing up in China.

"When we are working on a forehand or another swing, he does heaps of research and thinks about it. He considers ideas all night. In the morning he shares it with me."

Wang says his father is a strict coach, which is good for him. He also benefits by having a 'live-in' mentor to make sure he eats well and does all the right things to make him successful.

"Dad doesn't make me do anything, but he tells me what to do to become successful. Things like not giving up and having self-discipline."

Wang enjoyed the experience of playing in the ITF World Junior Tennis Competition Asia Oceania Zone qualifiers alongside teammates Kevin Fu and Corban Crowther. The event gives young tennis players the opportunity to experience international competition and the unique atmosphere of playing in a team representing their country.

Team coach Lan Bale, who arrived back in New Zealand this week, said Wang had been a good team member and he was very happy with his contribution.

Wang's goals for his tennis career are ambitious. He wants to play professionally and to be in the top 10 in the world. He feels he can make progress towards these goals by staying local at this stage.