Eliza set for long road ahead 

Three months of strength and fitness training has Eliza Long feeling prepared for a big summer of tennis.

The 17-year-old Catholic College Bendigo student was playing in yesterday’s qualifying for the main draw at the Traralgon International,  before hopefully receiving a wildcard into the William Loud Bendigo International beginning October 29.

Long is feeling “pretty confident’ for her busy schedule after winning the singles and doubles at a money tournament in Bendigo and finishing runner-up in another event in Dingley during the school holidays.

The Knowsley teenager has also undertaken boxing training in the past three months to improve her strength and fitness and she can see the signs of improvement.

“I think in the past few months I’ve gotten a bit stronger with my shots and my serve is more powerful. I’m working on everything really,” Long said.

The Bendigo Tennis Association is lobbying Tennis Australia for Long to receive a wildcard into the William Loud tournament, which is part of the Pro Circuit Tour.

Long is ranked the number 45 woman in Australia and could find herself up against the likes of national number three and number one seed Olivia Rogowska at the Bendigo event.

“It would be an experience, that’s for sure,” Long said. “(I) definitely (want to play), it would be a great opportunity.”

Since winning the national under-16 title last year, Long had the opportunity to train with the Nicole Pratt-skippered Junior Fed Cup team which played in Bendigo in April.

A busy finish to 2012 for Long includes school exams before more tournaments in the summer.

“I’ve got these two Pro Tours, then I’ve got exams at school. Once that’s finished I’ve got the 18s nationals at Melbourne Park, I’m hoping to do alright there,” she said.

Long will find out next week if she has been successful earning a wildcard into the William Loud Bendigo International. 

TOP SHOT: Knowsley tennis ace Eliza Long hits a backhand winner. Picture: JULIE HOUGH

TOP SHOT: Knowsley tennis ace Eliza Long hits a backhand winner. Picture: JULIE HOUGH