Sport

'Little Rafa' serves up love

Nine-year-old tennis star Ralph Armstrong, at Sawtell courts.
Nine-year-old tennis star Ralph Armstrong, at Sawtell courts. Trevor Veale

HE'S a pint-sized version of his hero, displaying a killer forehand, quickness and a love for clay courts.

It's no exaggeration that Ralph Armstrong is already starting to show the potential to be the Coffs Coast's own Rafael Nadal.

Nicknamed 'Little Rafa' after his love of the Spanish tennis superstar, the youngster recently took out the Under-10 division of the Sawtell Clay Court Championships.

Ralph's mother Maria Armstrong can't believe how quickly her son's tennis skills have developed.

"Ralph loves his tennis, he is always excited to play and will sit for hours watching his hero, Rafael Nadal, on TV," Armstrong said.

"He practises with his brother Nathan and has to have all the same equipment as Nadal.

"I was always worried that he would have trouble getting the ball over the net because he is so short, but he plays so well."

The Grade 4 student at Mary Help of Christians Primary School was a standout performer in his division at the clay court championships and said the win was one of his best.

"The competition was really hard and all the players were really good," Ralph said.

"I was happy to win because of how tough it was."

Training 10 hours a week at the Sawtell Tennis Club under head coach Eli Bayliss, Armstrong is aspiring to one day play like his idol.

"I love how he (Nadal) plays the game and that is how I try to play," he said. "I like Nadal's character and his bright clothes and he always has fun.

"Hopefully one day I can play at all the big competitions like Nadal and maybe even win one."

Despite his young age Armstrong may reach his goal of playing on Paris's famous clay courts sooner rather than later.

"Ralph has qualified for the Australian finals of a competition called Once Upon A Time in Tennis and the winner of gets to play in Paris," Maria Armstrong said.

"He will have to play in Cairns later this year against some of the best players in his age group.

"He is only young so as long as he has fun that is all that matters."

While 'Little Rafa' is finding success on the court, Ralph is just enjoying playing the game he loves. "I always look forward to the next time I can play," he said.

"Tennis is all about fun and making new friends and that is why I love it."

Topics:  sawtell tennis



Foodies' scavenger hunt: are you up for it?

IF YOU want to give your tastebuds the flavour sensations of a lifetime, here is the ultimate foodie’s scavenger hunt through Brisbane.

5 minutes with Israel Folau on footy, life and love

Israel Folau and Silver Fern netballer Maria Tutaia announced their engagement last last year.

WE CAUGHT up with football star and Brisbane ex-pat Israel Folau.

10 reasons to head to South Bank this summer

Head to the only inner-city beach in Australia!

South Bank has a ridiculous amount of fun things to do.

Five mammoth events you need in your life

No Caption

BRISBANE isn’t known for doing things by halves…

How to make your child's every dream come true...

Take a dip at South Bank in the inner-city beach.

‘I DON’T want to do fun things, Mum and Dad’… said no child ever!

How to do Eat Street the right way

Know where to start and where to end to avoid a huge food coma before you get to experience all the goodies!

EVERY Friday and Saturday night, Hamilton comes alive.

You can do WHAT in Brisbane?!

Talk about arriving in style! Take your pub crawl to the next level with a helicopter!

BET you didn't know you could do these things in Brisbane...

Redundancies not happening, says Blue Care

NOT HAPPENING: Blue Care has rejected claims staff will be given redundancies at Millbank Village.

Organisation says it will 'fully support' staff

Bundy man discovers what lurks wolfishly below

CREEPY CRAWLY: Mitch Galikanokus came across this wolf spider in his front yard at the Hummock.

"It was more scared of me than I was of it.”

There's something very different about this new takeaway shop

WELCOME: The Tasty Club's Viola Rezk outside the new business on Lester St.

Want to experience Egypt without leaving Bundy?

Local Partners

Matthew McConaughey wrongly used as medical example

Doctor tried to steal credit for McConaughey's hair treatment

J.K. Rowling writes through severe back pain

An aching back couldn't stop J.K. Rowling catching inspiration

Elsa voice actor's son hates Frozen

Idina Menzel's son "hates" his mother's most famous film 'Frozen'

Chrissy Teigen likes her "soft" stretch marks

Stretch marks are no problem for Chrissy Teigen

Naomie Harris in the dark over Daniel Craig's future as 007

Naomie Harris has no idea if Daniel Craig will be returning as 007

REVIEW: Will Kasey Chambers' Dragonfly take off with fans?

Kasey Chambers’ new album Dragonfly gets 3.5 stars from Cameron Adams.

CHAMBERS is back with her 11th studio album.

By the water's edge

Secure your seachange

HOT PROPERTY: Money to spend on land, buildings

File picture.

Sale, leasing of industrial real estate picks up in Mackay

Bundy hotel on the market for a cool $8.5m

FOR SALE: The Burnett Riverside Motel has gone on the market, with a price guide of more than $8 million.

Premier hotel up for sale for more than $8m

Collapsed Coast company could owe up to $5 million

Staff, ATO, landlords among those out of pocket.

Ipswich block of dirt sells for $582 a square metre

JUST SOLD: A property on the Brookwater golf course sold for a record-breaking $612,000.

Property smashed 2007 record by close to $100,000

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!