Queenstown tennis player Manawa Rakete-Shea gets in some
training at the Wakatipu High School courts. Photo by
New Zealand tennis may have a future ace up its sleeve.
Manawa Rakete-Shea (12) has certainly been offering glimpses
of an exciting future.
He won the South Island primary and intermediate tennis
championship in Blenheim last year, and reached the final of
the national 12 and under tournament in Hamilton a week ago.
Manawa moved to Queenstown from Dunedin at the start of 2012
to further his training at the Queenstown Tennis Academy.
Coach Lan Bale, a former ATP professional, said Manawa had a
very bright future.
''He's a very gifted player. The way he plays is a step above
Bale, who has coached other rising New Zealand players like
Riki and Ben McLachlan, said Manawa had as much potential as
those players, if not more, at his age.
''As it stands, he is one of the best prospects in the
country. He's as gifted as the best 12-year-olds in the
Manawa was barely troubled in the South Island tournament, as
his strong backhand took apart his opponents.
He breezed through the first stages of the tournament, won
his semifinal against the third-ranked player in New Zealand,
and won the final 6-1, 6-2.
Bale was full of praise for how his young charge performed.
''He didn't just win it, he won easily. He was definitely a
In the national tournament, the Queenstown boy was the fourth
seed but knocked out three other seeds on his path to the
final. His conqueror in the final was Macsen Sisam
(Auckland), who recently won the Australian junior title for
Manawa, who trains up to 25 hours a week, said he was
uncertain about his goals and what he wanted to achieve in
the future with tennis.
- John McKenzie.