Aspiring Māori tennis champion Paige Hourigan is hoping to qualify for the ASB Classic tournament in just over a fortnight. It would be a dream come true for the Ngāti Tūwharetoa descendant who could see herself playing childhood hero Serena Williams.
While Court 6 in Albany is a long way from New Zealand's biggest tennis stage at the ASB Classic, her preparation leading into the NZ Tennis Championship remains the same.
Hourigan says, “Now that I’m here, I’m focusing just on tennis working on my fitness and my game.”
Accompanied by mother Tracey and younger sibling Patrick, the 19 years old who studies in the USA at Georgia Tech in Atlanta has just returned home to compete in the NZ Tennis Championship on Auckland’s North Shore, with the support of her whānau.
Hourigan says, “It’s good to have Patrick here as well and my mum is always great support so it’s lovely to have them on the side-line.”
For Hourigan, it is a one in a lifetime opportunity to play an internationally renowned star and is afraid at the prospect of playing Williams.
Hourigan says, “I’m not gonna be daunted at all but it’s a long way away.”
Hourigan will know if her dream is on track should she advance to the next stages.