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January 7, 2014

Junior Wangaratta tennis player wins national Medibank Healthy Attitude Award

Ten year old Daniel Smith from Wangaratta has been awarded the National Medibank Healthy Attitude Award for his commitment, enthusiasm and positive attitude throughout the 2013 Medibank Junior Development Series.

Each month between August and November two players were selected to go into the judging for the annual award. Daniel received the October medal for his great love and commitment to tennis which sees him travel 45 minutes in rural Victoria to get to his training sessions in Albury/Wodonga four times a week.

Dan's determination to participate in competitions also means that he and his family are often up at 5am to travel to tennis centres in Melbourne or further afield to Canberra, Griffith, Bathurst and Wagga where he has played in the past year.

Phil Shanahan, Director and Head Coach at the Margaret Court Academy in Albury/Wodonga, nominated Daniel for his sportsmanship and maturity both on and off the court.

"Dan's commitment to his tennis and sportsmanship is admired by everyone he comes into contact with. His enthusiasm for the sport has been so contagious that all of his friends have started playing and one of his class mates nominated Dan as his hero because of his sense of fair play.

"We are all impressed by his willingness to learn and train hard. For someone so young he is a fabulous ambassador for tennis," Mr Shanahan said.

Dan himself is just happy to be playing the game he loves and doesn't view the early mornings or long travel as an inconvenience.

"I love playing at competitions and the time in the car isn't bad. I usually read books or do my homework. My Dad loves tennis as well so we have a lot to talk about."

Dan's current ranking is about 2500. He has a plan for his future and whether on or off the court, tennis is very much front and centre.

"I'm so excited about winning the Medibank Award and going to the Australian Open. I think my whole family is. Maybe I will get to see one of the players. Hopefully Nadal will be playing when I am there," he added.

Daniel and his family have won a trip to Melbourne from 10-15th January to attend the Australian Open. They will be at Melbourne Park on Kids Day on 11th January and the Australian Open on 13th and 14th January.

The Medibank Healthy Attitude Awards recognise young players who demonstrate an excellent attitude toward the sport of tennis during tournaments that make up the 2013 Medibank Junior Development Series. Nominated players are judged based on their positive attitude and enthusiasm towards the game, their commitment to playing and training, and demonstrated good behaviour.

The Medibank Junior Development Series is a national Tennis Australia initiative, comprising of over 300 tournaments around Australia for beginner to intermediate players aged 10 - 14 years. The matches are designed to give players their first experience in playing a competition series of tournaments.

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