Brendon a hits winner
BUNDABERG'S Brendon Schultz continued his golden year at the Queensland Junior Masters finals in Rockhampton on the weekend, taking out the boys' 11 years and under title.
It was his first state junior masters victory, and he has come a long way since placing ninth in the event 12 months ago.
2011 has been a red-letter year for the Kalkie State Primary School year 6 student, with his other major victories including boys 10 and under divisions of both the Rod Laver and Brisbane Open Age Championships.
He also finished a creditable 10th at the Queensland Primary Schools titles.
Schultz's maiden state junior masters' triumph came hot on the heels of winning both the Central Queensland Masters boys 13 title and the 11 years and under gong for the second year in a row.
His coach Murray Whitbread, who has been his mentor since he started playing tennis at the age of six, praised his protégé.
"To win the Brisbane age and Rod Laver titles earlier this year and now the masters is a good and pretty classical performance - they are three significant wins," Whitbread said.
"Brendon seems to play better in the big matches - in run-of-the-mill fixtures, he's a bit up and down, as players his age can do, but he can rise to the major challenges or the status of the event."
Whitbread named "competitive spirit" as a major reason for his success.
"Brendon also has got a good sense of where the other person is on the court and what shot to play at the time and hopefully that stays with him for the next four or five years," he said.
"But he is not a classical player and is a bit unconventional with his double-handed shots and he reminds me a bit of Frenchman Fabrice Santoro."
Schultz's mother Anna said he trains two or three times per week under Whitbread and while it was his "main sport", he also loves cricket and he was happy to be chosen in the Bundaberg primary schools cricket team.
He also did well in that team at the recent Wide Bay trials despite not gaining selection in that zone team.
A Rafael Nadal fan, his next major event will be the State Teams event in Brisbane in
December where he will again represent Central Queensland, and Whitbread believes he has got the potential to go on to bigger and better things.
"But how far he can go is the million-dollar question - we will let him develop for the next four or five years and see what his enthusiasm for the sport is like then," he said.
"I'm a bit hesitant to put a burden on players - he could develop into one of Queensland's top players but we'll wait and see when he's 16 if he wants to keep going with it
"Next year, he will try and repeat his major wins in 12 and under and so forth and on the circuit, he will go up another age group - to win the CQ 13 and 11 years double is quite a good achievement.
"But he'll move up to 15 and 17 years to get better match play - that's the one of the hard things with country kids - getting significant match play."