15 May Future Australian tennis stars represent the nation’s multicultural backgrounds
Two 12-year-old elite junior players are set to represent Australia at the 2018 Longines Future Tennis Aces tournament in Paris, taking on the best players in their age group from around 20 countries. Zach Viiala from Perth will take on the boys competition, while Hana Sonton from the Gold Coast will be the girls representative.
Despite their Australian upbringings, both representatives are from a diverse background, with Viiala being half Indian and Finnish, and Sonton half Thai and Japanese. These diverse backgrounds are an accurate representation of the growing population, redefining what it means to live in Australia.
John Thorpe has been coaching Zach Viiala since he was six-years-old and said although the cultural backgrounds don’t influence how Zach plays, he has been given more opportunities than many other Australian children.
“In Zach’s situation, because of his heritage, he’s had the opportunity to travel overseas extensively, and I think he’s aware of other cultures more than maybe the average family, the average kid, but when it comes to the tennis court, it really is a performance based thing,” Mre Thorpe said.
This year, the tournament will be held at the foot of the Eiffel Tower and for the first time the competition will include boys and girls aged between 10 to 12-years-old.
The tournament will run from May 31 to June 2, 2018.