The Border will host Australia’s best primary-aged tennis players next week.
The Bruce Cup comprises the best boys and girls from each state and territory.
“It’s a prestigious event when you think about the best of the best at that age group,” NSW Primary Schools Sports Association’s Peter Moore said.
Albury whizz-kid Rory Parnell made last year’s NSW team, an extremely rare feat for a student in Year Four.
Unfortunately, injury has ruled him out of his home event.
“It’s the top seven boys and top seven girls, and with around 110 players, it will be one of the biggest tennis events we will see here this year,” Margaret Court Academy’s Phil Shanahan said.
While the event will showcase Australia’s rising talent, two of the sport’s Hall of Famers will also be in attendance.
Eight-time Grand Slam singles winner Ken Rosewall will join former world No. 5 Rex Hartwig.
Hartwig won four Grand Slam doubles titles, and played Davis Cup in the mid-1950s.
Both are members of the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame, while Rosewall has also been elevated into the sport’s international elite.
“Ken will be at the opening ceremony from 5pm at the Albury grasscourts on Saturday, and Rex is the guest speaker at the official dinner on the Tuesday night at the Commercial Club,” Shanahan said.
The Bruce Cup holds a special place in Rosewall’s heart as he met his wife Wilma at the event.
“You name it, this event has had the greats of Australian tennis from Ken Rosewall, to Pat Rafter and through Lleyton Hewitt to the current players like Nick Kyrgios, Thanasi Kokkinakis and Ashleigh Barty,” National Secretary Tennis School Sport Australia’s Graeme Waight said.
The Bruce Cup is a teams event, which will be played throughout the morning.
“Some of the players mightn’t have been exposed much to a teams event, so it’s good for them to be able to play with others and adopt a team-first mentality,” Waight said.
“We hope it makes them better people, as well as better players.”
But there’s also an individual component, with players targeting school sport’s national singles titles.
“Players will be chasing ranking points, in what’s called a platinum event,” Waight said.
The event is a money-spinner for the region with players and their families set to spend at least a week on the Border.