Set to make a racquet
BUDDING tennis ace Jaykob Rowe carries the hopes of the region - and the proudest family in Goonellabah - as he prepares to take on the some of the state's best young players.
The 15-year-old is among several Northern Rivers and Far North Coast representatives competing alongside NSW's most promising juniors at the Medibank State Final tournament.
Rowe, a student at Summerland Christian College, earned his place in the Richmond Tennis Centre event after battling through a host of matches earlier this year.
Dad John said he and his wife Nic were delighted with the efforts of hard-working Jaykob.
"We are very proud of him," John Rowe said.
"You have got to be dedicated to play tennis three or four times a week. Jaykob has really stuck at it and done well.
"Tennis is his passion and he is really excited about going to State."
The three-day tournament, that commences Saturday, features girls and boys aged 10 to 16 who have played in their regional Medibank Junior Development Series tournaments in 2012.
Players earn points at each tournament, with the best performers invited to compete at Champion of Champion events to decide the State field.
The Northern Rivers and FNC will be well represented with a number of players from the region qualifying.
Suffolk Park player Louis Clark, Lismore's Sarah Herington and another Goonellabah star, Sophie Johnston, have qualified.
Byron Bay's Jamie Krause, Jessica Tickle (Wardell), and Saduni Wijeweera (Tweed Heads South), will also be in action.
Rowe, who took up the game about seven years ago, will be one of more than 30 players in his age group.
The division is split into eight round-robin groups, with group winners progressing to the knockout rounds.
John Rowe said his son, who trains at the Raising Aces Tennis Academy in Casino, should be confident of achieving a good result.
"He has beaten three or four of the guys in his division before," he said.
"If he stays focused and has a chance, then I think he will do it."