TENNIS: Britney Fallon is one of Gympie's brightest young tennis prospects and she will grace the court at the Brisbane International in Tennyson today.
Fallon will feature in the Brisbane International Showcase for Women in Tennis, one of eight young female players chosen to play in between the international tournament's fixtures.
The 12-year-old Gympie High Student first picked up the racquet as a five-year-old but only began playing tournaments last year.
In a little over 12 months, she has propelled herself 900 places up the national rankings to a high of 1095 out of almost 2000 female players across the country.
Fallon trains under the tutelage of Brett Cotrill in Gympie, as well as the Sunshine Coast Girls Group, which runs intensive tennis sessions multiple times each year.
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Fallon said she can't wait to play at the home of Queensland tennis in front of a large crowd.
"It will be the first big crowd I've played in front of,” she said. "There will probably be 4000 people, maybe.
"I am very excited to play there and can't wait.”
Fallon, who stands at a whopping 175cm, said her goal is improve her game to a professional level.
"Well I want to get good, to like professional stage if I can,” she said. "And I want to get my ranking below 500.”
"It'll take a lot of good effort, training, winning some tournaments.”
Her coach, Brett Cottrill, first had young Fallon start with him at Jones Hill School.
"In year one I think,” Cottrill said, "I coached with her all the way through and she does private lessons with me now.
"She's developed from a raw beginner to a fairly accomplished player.
"She's very competitive by nature and she just loves playing.
"Generally she's just a great kid, she's developing so fast for her age.
"She is just so tall.”
What surprised Cotrill about Fallon was her immediate impact on the tournament scene, winning the Sunshine Coast Junior Series in her first year.
"She's only really been playing tournaments for the last two years, she won the points race both years for the Junior Development Series on the Sunshine Coast,” he said.
"She's done extremely well for a kid who had no experience in tournament and she jumped right.”
Fallon's list of representative honours is also growing, she made the Wide Bay team, played at the State trials, and played in the Sunshine Coast side at the State Teams Carnival in December.
Her mother, Jackie, said she has been playing great tennis, always with a smile.
"She is only 12 but she is really picking it up,” Jackie said.
"She has played at Rod Laver Arena and does a lot of top level Junior Tour tournaments.
"It's a lot of travelling on weekends, but I enjoy watching it,” Jackie said.
"That's the fun part, they are the ones who sweat it out.”
After the Brisbane International Fallon will enter a two-day intensive camp with Roger Rashid, who has coached top level players such as Lleyton Hewitt and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
She will train with a select group of kids during the training camp and then run straight into a tournament in Caloundra straight after.
"In Gympie she trains with the boys because she is the only girl in competitive tennis, I think that really helps her,” Jackie said.
"It keeps her going, and keeps pushing her on.
"She's a very determined girl.”