The opportunity of a lifetime has landed on the racket of 15-year-old Ardia Mead who has been accepted into the National Tennis Academy and will be moving to Adelaide in 2019 to start training.
Ardia has been playing tennis since she was six years old and throughout her career, had never received any large opportunities until now.
She currently plays A grade for Railway Pennant Tennis Club and has been traveling to Adelaide not only for training but also tournaments, including the Foundation Cup which has taken her to regional state competitions.
Along her travels, Ardia’s talents were detected by Tennis SA and she has now accepted the opportunity to train under the well known body and work towards making the circuit and elite level.
Ardia was relieved at her opportunity but also holds a lot of excitement because her career could go either way.
“I am obviously sad because I am leaving, but then there is a lot of excitement to think that there is the possibility to reach the elite level.
“You get a lot of comments saying that everyone is excited for your future and it never really sinks in. I really want to try and make the most of this opportunity.”
The opportunity had been offered previously to the 15-year-old, but due to living in Port Pirie, she was unable to accept the offer as she did not have accommodation in Adelaide.
But several years later, she has been very lucky to receive a boarding scholarship for the Pembroke School, where she will complete Year 10 through to 12, and be able to play and train with Tennis SA as well.
Ardia’s training schedule is set to increase when she heads to the city.
She will start playing Saturday sport, but will gradually increase to see her reach an elite level, including frequent trainings and strengthening and conditioning.
Throughout all of this, Ardia does have a dream but is very complacent on which path she follows, she is open to the circuit or open to the elite level, but says her love for tennis will always be with her.
“It might not even be on the big stage, I just want to make the circuit. It will just be having the opportunity, meeting the new people and learning and travelling. It is what I would love to do”, she said.
Her family are incredibly proud of her achievements, and are so excited to see her finally take this opportunity after years of having to turn it down.
“We were very happy when she had been selected. A few years ago she missed out. The whole family is so proud of her. We are thankful for the help from her coaches”, her father, William Mead said.
Ardia is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to head to Adelaide and wants to thank everyone involved, but says a special thank you to her coach, Mark Hanlon, who has set her up for success.
“They are all so welcoming and have tried really hard and to know that it has paid off, really big props to them. Without them I would not be able to have this opportunity.”