James Watt hoping to serve up surprise at ITF tournament in Fiji

Timaru Boys’ High School tennis player James Watt is off to Fiji to compete in an under-18 ITF event. Photo: DOUG FIELD/STUFF

Talented teenage tennis player James Watt is set to rub shoulders with well known Kiwi tennis coach Simon Rea.

Watt is set to get a few pointers from Rea throughout the week.

Rea was in charge of Nick Kyrgios when he defeated Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon, while he’s also taken fellow Australian Samantha Stosur.

Watt is off to an International Tennis Federation event in Lautoka Fiji, where Rae will be.

The Timaru Boys’ High School year 12 pupil has been given a wildcard to the Oceania closed event from Tennis New Zealand, meaning only under-18 players from Australia, the Pacific Islands and New Zealand will be attending.

“It’s going to be a massive opportunity for James to work with someone like Simon,” coach Kane Newlands said.

Newlands said their game plan would be pretty simple.

“We hope to keep the games as short as possible. James being as tall as he is relies a lot on his serve so short, fast, aggressive points will be the way to go for us and it sounds like the courts could suit that sort of play.”

Newlands said experience was the key in him heading to Fiji.

“If he gets a good draw and wins some matches then that’s great as it’ll mean plenty of ranking points, but if not then it doesn’t matter as he’s over there for the challenge.”

Watt recently returned from Australia in the school holidays, where he competed in two other ITF events.

“He was just coming off an injury so we didn’t expect too much, it was more about getting him back playing.”

Following this event there’s more ITF tournaments scheduled to happen in New Zealand in October, with Watt looking to take part.

Watt said he was excited at the opportunity in front of him.

“It’s going to a very good challenge. I’m looking forward to the warmer weather but also the Fijian lifestyle and living over there for a week as I’ve never been to the Islands before.”

The courts in Fiji are expected to suit Watt, who stands at 2.05m (6 foot 9 inches), with plenty of pace and bounce.

“I’m excited and just wanting to play some tennis, that’s really my focus.”

Watt, who has returned from a broken arm suffered in January, said the chance to play quality tennis would be a bonus.

“It’s not about results over there it’s about me getting more experience at events like these to help for the fututre.”

He heads away on Friday, and begins playing on Monday, in both the singles and doubles.

 Source: Stuff