Banney serves notice
PATRICK Banney only started playing tennis because his sisters were playing competitively and their team was short of numbers.
Eight years later, he’s still playing and he’s turning out to be a real ace of a player.
The 16-year-old member of the Maryborough and District Tennis Junior Tennis Association is proving that by the way he’s making his way up the Australian singles rankings for men.
He started the year ranked number 1550 – now, after another impressive season of points gathering (you earn ranking points depending on how far you progress in tournaments), he’s number 470.
Banney, whose favourite player is Scotland’s Andy Murray because of his variety and “bit of flair”, is also ranked in the top 20 in his age group.
The St Mary’s College student is aiming to improve on both rankings when he heads to Melbourne next week to contest the Australian 16 years and under Championships.
It’s the first time Banney’s played in the nationals and not surprisingly he’s looking forward to it.
“It’s going to be a great experience – not only playing in the tournament but also playing at Melbourne Park,” Banney, who is coached by Bruce Rayner, said.
“I cannot wait to get down there and start playing.”
Banney has won 30 junior titles in his career and he said he’s hoping to carry on winning and make a career out of the game.
“I’d love to become a professional one day but I realise that there are so many other young players who dream of doing the same,” he said.
“All I can do is keep working hard and give it everything I’ve got in everything I do whether it’s training on court, in the gym or playing in tournaments.
“I’ve worked hard this year and I’ve made a lot of progress – I am determined to keep doing it.”
Coach Rayner said there was no reason why Banney couldn’t continue to keep climbing up the rankings.
“Pat is improving with each tournament he plays,” Rayner said.
“He’s worked so hard on his game and he’s got something all top players need in their armoury.
“It’s essential they have a weapon and because Pat generates good racquet head speed, his forehand is one.”