Jimboomba wheelchair tennis champion is ranked top nine in Australia

SPEED: Kyle Haslam is among the top nine Australian under 18 wheelchair tennis players. Photo: Jacob Wilson
SPEED: Kyle Haslam is among the top nine Australian under 18 wheelchair tennis players. Photo: Jacob Wilson

PHENOMENAL upper body strength and swift movement on the court has made a Jimboomba teen’s desire to seek a top 40 international tennis ranking a realistic goal.

Kyle Haslam has been competing in wheelchair tennis for two years and has already secured a top nine Australian ranking for under 18 wheelchair tennis.

The 16-year-old took part in a national talent camp during the September holidays where Haslam rubbed shoulders with some of the most elite wheelchair tennis juniors in the country.

Next year, the International Australian Open Series is in Haslam’s sights as he hopes to be among the top 35 ranked under 18 wheelchair tennis players in the world by mid-2019.

FuturePros Tennis Academy coach AJ Thompson said coaching Haslam over the past two years was an educational experience for both player and coach.

“There is not a lot of literature on wheelchair tennis. As a coach there is not a whole lot of resources for us. We very much learn together as a group,” she said.

“Kyle will often bring along another wheelchair and we go through training courses. In a chair you have to be aware of certain things.”

Thompson said Haslam had a variety of skills which made him a formidable opponent.

 “He is really quick...he fell out of the chair once when I asked him to do a fitness exercise...he is almost too fast and uses a lot of energy in the chair,” she said.

“He has great upper body strength and rotation. From that we have a big serve which makes him a competitive player on the world circuit.

“It also allows him to rotate his body with forehands and backhands. He has more range of motion than many (players).”

 Haslam said wheelchair tennis was difficult when he first started two years ago and has come a long way with coaching.

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