All the hard yakka paying off for Josh Graetz

IT has been an arduous semester of tennis training for Josh Graetz, but the dividends are now rolling in.

Graetz, 19, yesterday successfully navigated his way through the first few rounds of qualifying for the Victorian Grasscourt Championships in Wodonga.

He defeated Matthew Leffler 6-3 1-6 6-3 in his first match, before breezing through his second match — 6-0 6-2 against Matthew Logan.

Graetz now has to play one more match to qualify for the main draw of the AMT men’s singles event, which begins today.

The Border product, from Gerogery, is back home for the first time since his move to Metropolitan State University in Denver, Colorado.

“I love it over there,” Graetz said.

“It’s a very different culture.

“I’ve had to adjust to life away from home, but I must say I’m really enjoying it.

“The tennis is much more intense over there, especially the training.

“I have very early morning starts.

“Sometimes it’s weights training at 6am, or sometimes it’s conditioning work at 5.30am.

“But the reward is worth it.

“My tennis has improved a fair bit, and I’m playing every day.”

Graetz was offered a four-year scholarship last July to play tennis in the US. Not surprisingly, he jumped at the chance to study at Metropolitan State which has a well-established tennis program.

“I’m studying a degree in sports industry, and I’m hoping to minor in either marketing or management,” he said.

Graetz, who is only home for a month before he jets back to Colorado, entered tournaments over his break in order to stay match fit.

“It’s been a little bit hard adjusting to the grass here because we only play on hard court usually and it’s a totally different surface,” Graetz said.

“I was a little rusty during the Margaret Court Cup, but I’m getting used to it now.”

Graetz said the calibre of tennis at both the Margaret Court Cup and the Victorian Grasscourt Championships had kept him on his toes.

“It’s very high-quality tennis,” he said.”

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