Competing in the scorching Los Angeles summer heat will be a new challenge for tennis player Kade Wilson when he jets off to the United States for five tennis tournaments at the end of the month.
Kade (16), of Gore, along with three other players from Oamaru and Australia, will travel to Los Angeles with coach Steve Dries, of Timaru, for one month.
The tournaments are played outside in the middle of summer and have attracted 64 entries overall.
Kade was not used to playing in sweltering temperatures, but he was prepared to be “drinking lots and lots of water”.
He will be competing in both singles and doubles events, linking up with the Australian athletes to compete in the doubles.
Dries asked Kade to attend the tournament when they started working together about 15 months ago.
Dries said Kade’s “consistency and shot selection had improved immensely” over the time they had been together.
“His strength is definitely his forehand stroke. It’s very strong,” he said.
Dries said the American competition was “tough and pretty cut-throat”.
“I think Kade will do quite well being competitive, but it will be a matter of self-management – staying hydrated and cooling down properly,” he said.
Away from the court, Kade will be experiencing what life in Los Angeles has to offer. Dries has organised for the group to visit Universal Studios and Disneyland and do a tour around Hollywood, which Kade said he was excited to visit.
Kade began playing tennis about five years ago after joining the Citizens Tennis Club in Gore, and is incredibly passionate about the sport.
Earlier this year, he competed at the 2018 16U ew Zealand Junior Championships and took out first place in the tier-three doubles event.
The American competition would be a step up for Kade, but it was a challenge he was looking forward to.
“I’m just really excited to get over there and play,” he said.