17 August 2022

Griffith's Sophia Romeo eyes victory at Temora tennis tournament

| Oliver Jacques
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Sophia Romeo stands next to sister Cecelia

Sophia Romeo supported by sister Cecelia at Griffith Tennis Club. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

Griffith rising tennis star Sophia Romeo is aiming to win the U12 division of the South West Regional Matchplay Series to be held in Temora on Sunday, 28 August.

“I’m hitting the ball really well these days – I always feel I can do well,” Sophia said.

The 11-year-old Griffith East student – who models her style of play on Spanish great Rafael Nadal – has already developed a reputation within the Griffith Tennis Club for her fierce top-spinning forehand. The only time the prolific baseliner comes to the net is to shake the hand of her opponent at the end of the match.

“I’m more comfortable on the back of the court. I can hit the ball with power here,” she said.

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Coach Danny Dossetor said she already gets more top spin than many of the adults playing at the club and wouldn’t be surprised to see her go one better than her efforts at the MIA Open this year. At that tournament, Sophia finished a narrow runner-up in the B Grade Girls Singles, despite playing several opponents much older than her.

“I want to be a professional tennis player when I grow up – that’s my aim,” Sophia said. She added that she doesn’t want to ever have to work in a nine-to-five office job.

Every Monday at training, she is cheered on by her mum Josephine and 8-year-old baby sister Cecelia.

“Novak is the best for me … I’d like to compete like my sister one day, too,” Cecelia said.

Sophia has already played tournaments across regional NSW and represented the Riverina at a major Sydney event. A finals victory in the South West Regional Matchplay Series would be a career milestone for the rising star who could well follow in the footsteps of Griffith-born tennis icon Evonne Goolagong.

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The South West Regional Matchplay Series is a juniors tennis event played across several towns in regional NSW. The top players will meet in the finals in November.

Joining Sophia at Monday training sessions are other exciting prospects at the club – Oliver Howard, 7, and his twin sisters Lylah and Violet, 5. The trio are part of the Griffith Tennis Club’s booming junior program and all hope to one day compete in tournaments as well.

Lylah Howard holds tennis racquet

Lylah Howard. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

“I stay on the baseline and love whacking the ball really hard,” Oliver said.

Like Sophia, he also wants to be professional tennis player when he grows up, but says his back-up plan is to become a policeman.

Griffith Tennis Club always welcomes new players who can sign up for lessons, play in socials or register for tournaments. For more information, log on the Griffith Tennis Club Facebook page.

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