US scholarship serves up dream opportunity for Jack

MOST 18-year-olds are enjoying a well earned break after completing their HSC studies, but bigger things are in store for rising tennis star Jack Maddocks.

Today Maddocks will set out to defend his singles crown at District Park’s Topspin Tennis Australian Money Tournament at Broadmeadow before heading to the US next month.

He’ll begin a four-year tennis scholarship at Appalachian State University in North Carolina, competing in the US elite NCAA college system that produced nine-time grand slam winner John McEnroe and current  top 20 players John Isner and South African Kevin Anderson.

This year the former Lambton High School student juggled his final year of studies with five tournament wins in Australia and a tour of the US college set-up, where Maddocks confirmed what he  already knew.

‘‘I had wanted to play in America even before I went over there, but just going to see the colleges made it even better,’’ he said.

‘‘When you have a look around and see the facilities, it’s just amazing.’’

The 188-centimetre right-hander from Waratah said his serve and forehand were his greatest assets on the court, as well as a mental resilience he had learnt from stars Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

"They're so consistent - neither ever seem to have bad patches - and seem to work hard at every single tournament," he said.

He credited coach Trudi Musgrave, a former professional, with helping develop his game.

"She's helped everything, from working out strategies for my opponents to using my own game to my advantage."

Musgrave has coached Maddocks for the past six years and is not surprised to see him realise his ambition.

"He has always been one of my top players and this was always the direction he was going to go in. This is what he has worked hard for," she said.

ON THE RISE: Jack Maddocks has been granted a scholarship in the American college system.  Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

ON THE RISE: Jack Maddocks has been granted a scholarship in the American college system. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

"Jack is a big fighter. One of his strengths is his competitiveness and willingness to work hard."

If a professional career doesn't work out for Maddocks, a college education and interest in sports psychology means he should have plenty to fall back on.

"I've been involved in sport all my life, and helping people overcome their fears and become better athletes is something that really appeals to me," he said.

For now, however, his dreams lie on the court.

"It is definitely a possibility," he said of a potential life on the professional circuit.

"I just have to work as hard as I can every day . . . and just see how good I can be."