Lethlean's set to rally at Pacific titles in Fiji

TOP SHOT: Zac Lethlean training on the Bendigo TA hardcourts in Nolan Street. Picture: BRENDAN McCARTHY

TOP SHOT: Zac Lethlean training on the Bendigo TA hardcourts in Nolan Street. Picture: BRENDAN McCARTHY

BENDIGO teenager Zac Lethlean treks to Fiji on Friday to prepare for the Air Pacific-backed South Pacific Open junior tennis championships.

It's the 17-year-old's first overseas trip for a tennis classic.

Lethlean will be aiming to strike plenty of backhand and forehand drives, smashes and volleys in the singles and doubles on the Lautoka hardcourts.

He will team with Nick Gattuso in the doubles, with their play being closely watched by Shepparton coach Jamie Haynes.

Lethlean said on Thursday the championships would be a great learning experience.

"Qualifying is first up. There are 48 places in the main draw of the singles," he said of a campaign which hits off Sunday.

There's been plenty of work on all shots by Lethlean with his coach Steve Storer.

Serve and forehand are the main strengths of Lethlean's game.

"Agility is something to keep working at."

A year 11 student at Girton Grammar, Lethlean spends between 10 and 12 hours a week practising at the Bendigo Tennis Association complex in Nolan Street or at Melbourne Park.

A major goal is to lift his Tennis Australia ranking at open level from 551.

Lethlean first played competitive tennis when he was eight and been with the Bendigo Tennis Academy since 2004.

Now in his second year of the Bendigo Bank Academy of Sport's tennis program, Lethlean was a semi-finalist at the Warrnambool Classic Gold tournament, finalist in the Booroondara Winter Series tournament.

He played a key role in Bendigo Lawn Metro's run to the grand final in last summer's BTA premier league action and is an assistant coach at Thursday night's sessions for the BTA's junior squad. 

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