From Monto to America, Taylor goes for her dream

BORN and raised in Monto, Taylor Bygrave's passion for tennis has taken her to the other side of the world.

The 18-year-old is attending college in the United States and pursuing her dream of becoming a professional tennis player.

Bygrave said her experience had shown her no matter where you came from, you could always reach for the stars.

"Monto's tennis club has about 20 members, so going further in the sport from here is doable," Bygrave said.

"It does not matter what your circumstances are, you can work with what you've got."

Since moving to North Carolina to attend Appalachian State University, the increased training intensity has significantly impacted on her game.

"Tennis practice is every day there, and I haven't played every single day before," she said.

"I have really improved through the training."

PROFESSIONAL HOPES: Tennis practice every day as part of US college life has seen Taylor Bygrave’s game go to a whole new level.
PROFESSIONAL HOPES: Tennis practice every day as part of US college life has seen Taylor Bygrave’s game go to a whole new level. Anastassia Perets

The decision for college in America did not come out of the blue.

"The last year-and-a-half of high school, I went to Miami State High School in Gold Coast," she said.

"This way I could play more tournaments and get my ranking up."

Bygrave was ranked 146th in Australia before making the move to the US.

And playing on foreign soil has proven to be quite a challenge.

"There, we are playing up high in the mountains, so the ball flies as air is thinner," she said.

"And it snows, and I had never seen snow before, but that's not a problem as we can play indoors."

The athlete is studying exercise science and nutrition at the university.

"If I don't become a professional tennis player, I want to become a physiologist," she said.

"So far in my semester there I have done general education, so I'm starting course work next semester.

"The whole education system there is a bit different.

"I have three-and-a-half years of study to go."

Her temporary return home does not mean a break from tennis.

Bygrave won Brisbane's Rod Laver Lead In tournament in doubles with partner Olivia Gadecki early this month.

"In round one we came across the number one seeds, and beat the second-seeded team in the final," she said.

Bygrave's career highlight remains a tournament she won near the end of last year in Brisbane.

"I won the open singles in the Beenleigh Open, in which I beat three people I never had before," she said.

Bygravewill fly back to North Carolina in August, and she is determined to continue improving her game.

"To play professionally is still a long way to go, but I just really like the sport," she said.

"It is very rewarding.

"Studying overseas is just a great opportunity and I have always wanted to travel.

"It's been so great meeting new people and getting used to all the differences."

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