ACE PLAYER: Jessica Tickle is making waves on the tennis court. “I think I have improved as a player since last year.”
ACE PLAYER: Jessica Tickle is making waves on the tennis court. “I think I have improved as a player since last year.” Stuart Turner

Lismore teen working to secure tennis scholarship in US

BUDDING tennis ace Jessica Tickle is gunning for state success but also has a dream overseas adventure on her mind as well.

The promising 15-year-old is preparing for the forthcoming Medibank Junior Development Series state finals, which will feature some of the best young players from across New South Wales.

Lismore High School student Jessica has also started plans to obtain a tennis scholarship in America after Year 12, combining her sport with studies.

The talented right-hander, who is closing in on a top 500 national ranking despite her tender years, said she would love to test her skills on the tough US college tennis circuit.

"It's pretty exciting," she said. "I would miss everyone here but I am willing to give it a try and see how I can go.

"I am pretty excited about meeting new people and going out there.

"Hopefully I can do it."

This is the second year Year 10 student Jessica has qualified for the state final, which takes place next month.

She has battled through the regional circuit, a North Coast qualifier and then finished runner-up in a Champion of Champions event to secure her place.

Jessica has only been playing tennis competitively for about three years but has made great strides with her game over the years.

"I saw my Dad hitting the ball and thought I would give it a go," she said. "I'm glad I did.

"I just feel really happy when I'm hitting the ball well.

"I like running and being active, but I like being on the court.

"You get to meet heaps of people and have fun as well."

Jessica, who is coached by Alstonville's Paul Denning, will compete in the under-16 girls at the Junior Development Series finals.

"I think I have improved as player since last year," she said.

"Hopefully I can do better this time.

Tennis coaching

Ballina Tennis Club is hosting its school holiday tennis coaching program for young players.

The scheme starts on Monday and runs until Thursday.

Email ballinatennis@hotmail.com for more.


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