Three Parkes junior tennis players spent a month in the US with their coach Helen Magill last month. Ben Evans (14), Abbey Kennedy (13) and Jake Magill (15) answered some questions reflecting on the trip of a lifetime.
What did you like about life in the US?
Jake: I liked the food, how cheap food and clothes are and the big cities. For the tennis I liked playing and training on hardcourts the whole time because we don’t get to play on them much.
Abby: Everything is on a grand scale. The shopping centres and food outlets are streets long. There were so many choices on every menu. I couldn’t believe how many ways you could have a baked potato. I liked how they had so many facilities available like public parks that had tennis courts. I couldn’t believe they had gun shops the size of department stores. The tennis universities on the other hand were amazing.
Ben: The facilities, staying with my host families and learning about how they live.
How did the trip benefit your tennis?
Ben: Playing in different conditions, court surfaces and the ideas from the coaches helped me think more about changing my game to suit each situation.
Abby: I could never have imagined how much my tennis would improve.
What did you learn about yourself?
Ben: How much further I can push myself and my body.
Jake: That I can get around airports and cities by myself. That I was able to prepare myself for matches and make sure I stayed healthy.
What are the biggest differences between playing tennis in Australia and playing tennis in the US?
Jake: They play on hardcourts the whole time, while we train on synthetic grass and play on clay and hardcourts sometimes for tournaments. The tennis clubs are a lot bigger in the States.
What will you always remember about the trip?
Jake: The host families that looked after us extremely well. They were very nice. The new friendships I made with some of the USA kids.
Abby: Absolutely everything. All the lovely people I met along the way and the amazing friends I made with other tennis players on the tour. The host families who treated us like royalty. I was gobsmacked with the tennis centres and the facilities. It was an amazing opportunity to play against players from another country and in conditions so
extreme. Disneyland and Universal Studios were amazing and I will always remember the laughs Helen, Jake, Ben and I shared. I loved our visit to Alcatraz and our bike ride across the golden gate bridge in San Francisco. Every day was amazing and brought with it another life-long memory.