LUKE Petraglia is bracing himself for a break-out year on the tennis circuit.
Fresh off his 16th birthday, Petraglia is eyeing off the best tennis players in his age group and his mentor, Central West High Performance coach Stuart Townsend, is confident the prodigiously talented tennis gun can more than match them.
“I think he should be aiming for top five in the state,” Townsend said of Petraglia’s chances in the under 16s age group this season.
“Top 10 is definitely achievable and top five is what we’re really aiming at by the end of 2013.”
Petraglia won the Bathurst Medibank Junior Development Series three weeks ago and a fortnight ago again made the trip to Bathurst to play in the city’s gold ranked junior tournament.
A tournament more centred around tennis players in the Central West but open to anyone in the state, Petraglia was one to watch in Bathurst on his way to the quarter-finals.
He eventually finished sixth in singles.
He backed up the quarter-final effort with fourth in the doubles alongside Lithgow’s Riley Swift.
Now, Petraglia is on track to shine at the Nepean (silver), Gosford (gold), and State Age Championships at Homebush later this year.
“We’re basically working towards that because that gives you a ranking within NSW,” Townsend said, with the more gold, silver and bronze tournaments Petraglia plays the more points he’ll be allocated towards a ranking.
“As soon as a tournament is ranked gold, they’ll come from pretty much anywhere to get Australian ranking points.”
With junior tennis players now included in the national rankings, Petraglia sits in the mid-700s at an open level nationally.
That by no means is an indication of the Orange junior’s talent.
Just last month, Petraglia knocked over an 18-year-old ranked 105 in Australia at the Combined Independent Schools championship.
“That was pretty much state as well,” Petraglia said, with Lleyton Hewitt currently the number one ranked Australian.
By the end of the year the 16-year-old is looking to earn a place at the national championship with the top 64 from Australia in each age group at the tournament.
“That’s the six-month plan, then by the end of the year that’s when the nationals are on,” Townsend said.
Petraglia added: “That’d be good to get into that.”