A rising Ballarat tennis star is keeping her fingers crossed for a meeting with her favourite player, Serena Williams, as she prepares to toss the coin at a Australian Open match this week.
Ava Walkenhorst, 7, has been chosen to toss the coin at a match on January 19 as part of the tennis Grand Slam. She will also get a chance to play with other juniors on one of the courts at Melbourne Park as part of Australian tennis’ Hot Shots program.
Ava said she would be to see Serena Williams play with her dream to toss the coin for one of Williams’ matches.
“She’s my favourite player, I love that she’s so confident,” Ava said.
Ava has only been playing tennis for the past year, but her application to the sport had impressed her coach Tomas, who put her name forward.
“I tried really hard and it’s a sport I really like to play and I can play it at home.”
As well as getting to toss the coin and play on the courts, Ava will also get to take home the commemorative coin which is unique to this tournament.
The coins have been specially minted with 1962 and 1969 Grand Slam champion Rod Laver on the heads side and the ANZ logo on the tails side.
The chance to meet tennis stars was made possible through the ANZ sponsorship of the event.
ANZ Retail Distribution managing director Catriona Noble said: “We are proud of the support we provide to grassroots tennis through the ANZ Hot Shots program across Australia. With the Australian Open fast approaching, the ANZ Coin Crew kids will receive their own commemorative coin to practise their skills ahead of the big event.”
Ava won’t be the only person flying the Australian flag from Ballarat with rising star Zoe Hives making her grand slam debut in the first round against returning American veteran Bethanie Mattek-Sands who is making a comeback from injury.
Hives is currently ranked 211 in the world and received a wildcard into the event. Mattek-Sands is ranked 348 and is a five-time Grand Slam doubles champion.