Sport

'Little Rafa' serves up love

Nine-year-old tennis star Ralph Armstrong, at Sawtell courts.
Nine-year-old tennis star Ralph Armstrong, at Sawtell courts. Trevor Veale

HE'S a pint-sized version of his hero, displaying a killer forehand, quickness and a love for clay courts.

It's no exaggeration that Ralph Armstrong is already starting to show the potential to be the Coffs Coast's own Rafael Nadal.

Nicknamed 'Little Rafa' after his love of the Spanish tennis superstar, the youngster recently took out the Under-10 division of the Sawtell Clay Court Championships.

Ralph's mother Maria Armstrong can't believe how quickly her son's tennis skills have developed.

"Ralph loves his tennis, he is always excited to play and will sit for hours watching his hero, Rafael Nadal, on TV," Armstrong said.

"He practises with his brother Nathan and has to have all the same equipment as Nadal.

"I was always worried that he would have trouble getting the ball over the net because he is so short, but he plays so well."

The Grade 4 student at Mary Help of Christians Primary School was a standout performer in his division at the clay court championships and said the win was one of his best.

"The competition was really hard and all the players were really good," Ralph said.

"I was happy to win because of how tough it was."

Training 10 hours a week at the Sawtell Tennis Club under head coach Eli Bayliss, Armstrong is aspiring to one day play like his idol.

"I love how he (Nadal) plays the game and that is how I try to play," he said. "I like Nadal's character and his bright clothes and he always has fun.

"Hopefully one day I can play at all the big competitions like Nadal and maybe even win one."

Despite his young age Armstrong may reach his goal of playing on Paris's famous clay courts sooner rather than later.

"Ralph has qualified for the Australian finals of a competition called Once Upon A Time in Tennis and the winner of gets to play in Paris," Maria Armstrong said.

"He will have to play in Cairns later this year against some of the best players in his age group.

"He is only young so as long as he has fun that is all that matters."

While 'Little Rafa' is finding success on the court, Ralph is just enjoying playing the game he loves. "I always look forward to the next time I can play," he said.

"Tennis is all about fun and making new friends and that is why I love it."

Topics:  sawtell tennis



Six hideaway bars to escape winter chill

THE last season of GoT finally uttered the words we’ve been waiting six seasons to hear and now that the weather has cooled down in Brisbane, “winter is here.”

Our six art gallery picks for a creative day out

Queensland's Gallery of Modern Art always has a fun, exciting and interesting exhibition on show for the whole family to enjoy.

YOU'D be mistaken in thinking Brisbane wasn't an arty city.

Brisbane's arts and culture events centre stage

You loved the film, now you're about to love the musical. Don't miss The Bodyguard The Musical in Brisbane this July.

THE arts and culture events you don't want to miss.

Homewares stores to fulfil your Instagram dreams

No Caption

You too can become an Insta-star with these fab stores.

Date nights under $50

Nothing is more romantic than a picnic with a cracking view.

NOT every date has to cost you a bomb.

Top 10 Brisbane experiences to cross off your bucket list

Do yourself a favour and get amongst the food truck scene. Eat Street is a great place to start.

A GOOD bucket list doesn’t have to span continents or cost millions.

Six mega sporting events you need to be at this year

Don't miss all the action trackside this season.

IF THERE is one thing Brisbane does damn well, it’s play host.

Man in critical condition after Stanthorpe accident

A 77-year-old man is freed from car after two-vehicle crash on Britannia St in Stanthorpe.

One driver critical after accident on Friday at Stanthorpe

Ute found in river after being "stolen" from Warwick school

A ute in the Condamine River at the Grafton St Bridge in Warwick on Sunday morning

Ute pulled from Condamine River on Sunday morning

Toddler airlifted after foot partially amputated by mower

RACQ LifeFlight was called to Stanthorpe after a young boy suffered a foot injury when he fell from a ride-on mower.

Stanthorpe ambulance called to property after ride-on mower accident

Local Partners

Shot at the live shows slips through Sally's fingers

SUNSHINE Coast singer's dramatic elimination from The Voice nearly saw her form a duo with her battle round opponent.

Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor split after 17 years

They were married in May 2000 and have two children, who they said will remain their priority.

Ben Stiller and his wife Christine Taylor have called it a day

Why The Voice hasn't produced a star

Boy George responds to Brittania Clifford-Pugh's heart-warming message.

It's the industry, not the show, says Boy George

These actors hated their movies and didn’t mind admitting it

Channing Tatum and Marlon Wayans in a scene from GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

Every year, Hollywood blesses us with plenty of God awful movies.

Miranda Kerr and fiance hang up backyard tent for wedding

The decorators and caterers are arriving for the final preparations for the wedding of Miranda Kerr and Evan Spiegel. Pictures: Splash

Evan Spiegel and Miranda Kerr are set to marry today

Book review: Mia Freedman's book meets her critics head on

I appreciated Freedman's blunt honesty in the book

Man's amazing comeback from monster crisis

Pat O'Driscoll agents Penny Keating and Doug Webber sold 56 Agnes St, The Range at auction over the weekend.

NOT long ago, he sold his possessions to pay staff. Now he's back.

Report reveals progress on $319m airport upgrade

Aerials of the Sunshine Coast.Jetstar plane in front of the Susnhine Coast terminal, Sunshine Coast Airport.

Over two dozen government approvals needed for airport expansion

Lost dough leaves sour taste after company collapse

Kathleen and John Mahoney from Sugar and Spice Bakery were stung after the collapse of Cantro Pty Ltd and are still owed money.

Supermarket operator collapse leaves sour taste for bakery

Open for inspection homes May 25-31

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!