By Emilie Ng
ASPIRING Queensland tennis champion Casey Hoole will rub shoulders with the world’s best players when he represents Australia in a prestigious French junior tournament this week.
The rising tennis star from Padua College, Kedron, is one of only 16 young men from 16 countries hand-picked to compete at the Longines Future Tennis Aces tournament at Roland Garros, where the French Open is held.
He is the only player chosen from Australia to play at the tournament, which is on from May 28 to 30 in Paris.
Casey is ranked second in Australia among players born in 2003.
The 12-year-old hit a round with former doubles number-one player Todd Woodbridge at the Queensland Tennis Centre in the lead-up to the French tournament.
“It’s cool to be able to hit with Todd because he was number one in the world for doubles,” Casey said.
The Year 7 student will also attend the Longines Academy, a training camp for young players who will be coached by grand slam finalist Arnaud Clement.
There’s also a chance the young player will meet United States champion Andre Agassi and his wife Steffi Graf.
Spaniard Rafael Nadal is Casey’s favourite player, but he admitted to playing more in the style of tennis master Roger Federer.
“But I don’t have anything on his backhand,” Casey said.
Casey’s love for tennis grew from his family.
His uncle is former Australian tennis professional Scott Draper.
Padua College sports coach Tony Guilfoyle said Casey was “an excellent player” but an even better young man.
“He’s a genuinely hard-working man, unpretentious and overall a humble kid,” Mr Guilfoyle said.
He said Casey was the first Padua College student to be picked for the Longines junior tournament.
After the tournament, Casey will watch a few matches at the French Open before heading to Barcelona with his parents to play for Tennis Australia.
“Long term I want to become professional, just to be able to compete with the best players in the world,” Casey said.
“I guess, like every junior, my dream is to become number one in the world and win everything.”
When asked if “everything” also included snatching Australian history-maker Rod Laver’s successive double grand slam wins, Casey seemed doubtful.
“Well, I don’t think anyone could play as well as Rod Laver,” he said.