Alicia Molik serves up a storm with Poppy Loeskow
AN UP-AND-COMING Bundaberg tennis player had the opportunity of a lifetime yesterday, taking to the court to train with ANZ Tennis Hot Shots ambassador and Fed Cup captain Alicia Molik.
Poppy Loeskow, 11, was announced the 2017 ANZ Tennis Hot Shot of the Year winner at an official ceremony at the Rod Laver Arena during Australian Open 2018.
Poppy was awarded $5,000 from ANZ, a year of free tennis coaching, and had the chance to learn from and train with Molik at the Bundaberg Junior Tennis Association.
Molik said she would pass on tips and tricks to Poppy to improve her training and playing, and said Hot Shots is a great way for kids to get into tennis.
"I'll be having a hit with Poppy and some of her friends here at her local tennis club along with her coaches, and have a bit of a gala afternoon,” Molik said.
"I'm really going to test her out this afternoon. Today will be about improving other areas of her game - I can see she has great height so I'll be encouraging her probably to play some aggressive tennis.
"I think for me and my perspective - coming from professional tennis - I think every child's first touch and interaction with tennis has to be a positive one and an enjoyable one. I think kids just want to play the sport right away and that is what Hot Shots allows them to do right away.”
Poppy was grateful and excited to be given the opportunity to learn from an experienced player.
"I was really excited and completely shocked. I didn't think I would win it. I was surprised and shocked and I was happy,” Poppy said.
"I think its going to be really special and definitely a once in a lifetime, money can't buy opportunity. I think I will learn some cool tips and tricks.”
Molik said coming to regional areas like Bundaberg is the best part of her job and reminded her of playing as a child.
"I was saying earlier today to a friend it's probably the most enjoyable part of my job. I grew up in humble beginnings - small club, small town - in Adelaide and I just loved playing tennis because it was my safe haven. Very similar to this,” she said.
"It was always a sport I really loved and had a sense of community - a safe place to go and meet friends and play. It was out of pure enjoyment, no different to the reasons why Poppy is playing tennis.
"So for me it was about friends and it is no different with Poppy and having her friends and mates and local club as well. It is a sport for life and you can play it forever and a day unlike so many others.”