A SQUAD of mostly young Bendigo tennis players are brushing up on their French and their clay court game.
The seven-member group, under the guidance of Bendigo Tennis Association coach Stephen Storer, is headed to France later this year for three weeks of tournament play.
Their travels will take them to several destinations across the popular European country, including their base in Vence, about 10 minutes outside Nice, Monaco, Le Cannett, Montaleigne, Menton, Vignal and Mediterrenee.
It's the realisation of a long-held dream for Storer, who has wanted to lead a playing group overseas to train in a warmer climate during the winter months.
"All my career I've wanted to do this," he said.
"The first thing was to go interstate, which we did for a few years, heading to the Gold Coast.
"But I've always wanted to go overseas, but I've never had the link to do that."
That was until Glenn Hamilton, a former tennis coach at Hope Island on the Gold Coast and friend of Storer's, moved to France.
"He's done about 12 years of coaching in France. I went over last year and he took me around to all the courts," Storer said.
"I said I would pitch the idea to the players here and I got seven takers to go to France.
"I've spent about two or three years working this out and now everyone's really excited."
Players making the trip are Brianna Smith, Isaac Watson, Zac Lethlean and Jeremy Abell, all from Bendigo, Lachlan Hewett, from Swan Hill, Hugo Kearney, from Shepparton, and Sam Oster, from Queensland.
They will take part in a series of Euro prize money tournaments on clay courts, against players from across the world.
In preparation, the group will be participate in three four-hour length training sessions on clay courts at Melbourne Park, another on en-tout-cas at Essendon Tennis Club, and training under professional coaches Ryan Palfrey and Kane Dewhurst.
Brianna Smith, who is the sole female on the tour, said the trip was too good of an opportunity to pass up.
"It's going to be awesome - I can't wait," the 19-year-old said.
"It's going to be a great experience to go overseas and learn their way of hitting and tennis.
"I've never had a an opportunity like this before."
The 19-year-old said she had good experience play on courts up in Queensland and the surface held no fears for her.
"I haven't played on in too much recently, but I'm fine with it," she said.
"It's just a higher rally ball and getting the consistency to hit it back."
The tour runs from June 16 to July 12.