Moree Public School's tennis star Lauren Appleby serves fierce competition at NSW PSSA State Championships

MOREE Public School’s tennis star Lauren Appleby served some fierce competition at the state-level competition in Albury last week, and walked away from the courts with plenty of memories, experience and an autograph to boot.

“Sam Groth was at the competition! He only retired last year, but he played in the Australian Open and holds the record for the world’s fastest serve at 263km/hr,” a delighted Lauren said.

Lauren headed to the NSW Public School Sports Association State Championship on May 8 to vie for top spot at the four-day competition.

The year six student teamed up with nine other students from Tamworth, Gunnedah, Narrabri and Guyra to represent the North West region.

“We had to play doubles and singles. We won four matches in the doubles and lost another four. Then I won four matches in the singles.”

The team placed ninth out of 13 other teams. Despite missing out on first place, Lauren was more than happy with the result.

“I think I did really well, considering the conditions,” she said.

Even though the hardworking tennis star committed five-days a week to training and frequently traded her school lunch hour for time on the tennis courts, she was caught on the backfoot when she arrived at Albury. She quickly learned the competition would be held on grass courts, instead of the accustomed, synthetic courts.

“The ball doesn’t bounce as well on a grass court. It just dies. Moree only has synthetic grass or hard surface courts, which makes a big difference,” she said.

Lauren was caught even more unprepared when Australian Tennis star Sam Groth made an appearance at the competition. The member of the Moree Public tennis team and Northern Inland Academy of Sport not only walked away with an autograph, but some sound advice.

“He said to not only train for tennis but to also play on the courts whenever you can. He also said to try your hardest. That’s something important you need to remember, to try your hardest,” Lauren said.

Moree Public School zone tennis manager Helen Kaukiainen said she was proud of Lauren.

“It’s great to see a student wearing the Moree Public School uniform and representing the school. Lauren played as number two in the competition, which means she’s second best in the west. The school is proud of Lauren and her achievements,” she said.