Ferrer and Li fly the flag for Biloela at Australian Open
WORLD number three David Ferrer and 2011 French Open winner Li Na are putting their national allegiances aside at the 2014 Australian Open to play for one very lucky Central Queensland town.
Helan Ambrey and the Biloela tennis community put their town on the international tennis map by finishing fifth in the inaugural Australian Open competition, the AO Blitz.
Callide Valley Tennis Club coach Ambrey and keen lovers of the sport played their way into the top five out of 970 registered towns in Australia, through completing various challenges to gain points.
Their hard work has paid off with women's No.3 Na and 2013 French Open finalist Ferrer to represent Biloela at the Australian Open tournament at Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena from January 13-26.
Ambrey said the initiative, which focused on growing national participation in tennis, had definitely done its job.
"It has been a really good way for people to get involved in the sport. Kids have brought their parents down and the parents have joined in some of the challenges," Ambrey said.
"As the club coach I feel very proud of our tennis community and how we have come together to complete these challenges and get our town's points up to this level.
"The only other Queensland town that is above us is Cooroy and they have all of the Sunshine Coast logging points on for them. We have achieved our points all by ourselves."
Ambrey said the competition came at the right time of the year, keeping students busy and active during the school holidays.
"It's a really great thing to do, especially with the school holidays on, and has been a good chance to get in some extra training," she said.
"We're all excited about the tennis and were really keen to get involved.
"It's pretty exciting to be number five in Australia, and to have Li Na and David Ferrer playing for us sounds pretty good."
Ambrey said Biloela's St Josephs Primary School were also heavily involved in the contest and managed to finish seventh overall in the schools division of the competition.
Callide Valley Tennis Club coach Helan Ambrey's son Owen Ambrey and his and St Joseph's College year six peers made the AO Blitz Hall of Fame for Owen's impersonation of Maria Sharapova.
To check out Owen's impersonation, head to http://www.aoblitz.com.au.