Canberra Velocity player Alison Bai. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
Nick Kyrgios isn't the only young Canberran taking to the courts at the Australian Open this week, with the Canberra Velocity women's side set to contest the finals of the Asia-Pacific Tennis League at Melbourne Park.
Alison Bai will lead the Canberra side when the team plays the WA Giants on Tuesday, in which she will take on Jessica Moore, once ranked No. 132, for a rematch of an epic.
''Last time I played her was in Bendigo last [October] at a pro event and our match went for about three-and-a-half hours,'' Bai said, adding ''I won 7-6 in the third''.
''Obviously ATL is going to be a lot faster than that, but we've grown up together, I've known her since I was like 12 years old, so we're good mates. It'll be a good contest out there.''
Bai, 23, is no stranger to Melbourne Park, having played in the pilot of the league competition last year for a Victorian team, where she lives and trains under a local coach.
''The atmosphere is just alive and the people around, just watching and cheering you on, it's good,'' she said.
When the playing is done, Bai will use her Melbourne Park accreditation to watch the juniors and scope out her future competition.
''It's always good to watch who's up-and-coming and who you're going to be playing next on the tour, so it will be good just to be around it.''
Bai will be joined in the Velocity team by fellow Canberrans Ashley Keir, Tyra Calderwood, Nicole Hoynaski, Tarlina Tipungwuti and Imogen Clews, with the team going there to win.
''We obviously want to take it out and represent Canberra … it's something for the younger kids to aspire to, because Canberra, it's such a small [tennis] community … we want to get more people involved and more exposure to the sport,'' Bai said.