Photo: Susan MullanePriscilla Hon (AUS)
Tennis players are used to thinking week-by-week when it comes to their tournament whereabouts, but for Australia’s Priscilla Hon news of her schedule for next month came as a very welcome surprise.
The 16-year-old discovered just before Junior Wimbledon, where she reached the semifinals in the girls’ doubles, that she will be taking part in the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games – an event that she hadn’t heard of before her attendance was confirmed.
“I heard about the Olympics not long ago – I was really surprised that we even had Olympics,” Hon admitted during last week’s Junior Wimbledon. “My Dad told me. He got an email about a week ago and I was over the moon when I heard.
“We’re always playing the same type of tournaments every year, with the same people, but at the Olympics there will be other sports. I’m just really excited to meet new people and watch other people play.”
Hon is one of four Australian juniors competing in the tennis event in Nanjing on 16-28 August, along with Naiktha Bains and boys’ entrants Harry Bourchier and Marc Polmans. The second Youth Olympic Games will welcome around 3,800 athletes from the 204 National Olympic Committees overall, with young athletes of between 14 and 18 years old contesting 28 sports – an exciting prospect for Hon.
“I like everything. I don’t really have a favourite sport. I like football but I’m really bad at it – I think I should just stick to tennis,” said Hon, adding that she’s particularly keen for another visit to China.
“I went to China when I was around five for a few days with my family,” she said. “I honestly don’t really remember much so it would be good to go back there. I just want to go there, have fun and meet new people.”
The junior world No. 16, who has won Grade A doubles titles with Switzerland’s Jil Teichmann in Milan and Porto Alegre this year, has already experienced the buzz of competing for her country on the international stage. She was a part of the Australia team that finished runners-up at the Junior Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Finals last September and has high hopes of a similar experience in Nanjing.
“It’s one of my favourite events,” Hon said of Junior Fed Cup. “I love travelling with my friends and Louise, the Junior Fed Cup captain, makes everything amazing and really fun. It’s great to compete with your teammates and be on the same team and not just play for yourself.
“[Bringing home a medal] would be amazing,” she added. “That would be one of the best experiences I could ever have – like winning a Grand Slam – it would be just amazing.”
And while average temperatures are expected to be very high in Nanjing in August, Hon is confident that her roots have primed her to cope well in potentially tough conditions.
“I come from Australia and it’s always hot over there,” she grinned. “I’m sure I’ll get used to it pretty quick!”