McLeod counting down tournament return


Almost a year has passed since Singleton junior talent Ella McLeod claimed a Tennis Australia JT (Junior Tournament) title.

Now the local rising star wants another one.

“I tend to think about that title a little bit, I’m not going to lie,” McLeod told The Hunter River Times.

Last year she received a hero’s welcome at the Howe Park Tennis Club after claiming her ‘Newcastle Topspin Bronze AMT & JT – 12 & Under Girls Singles’ title.

That month she brushed past Amber Pollard, Aimee Jin, Amy Gray and Sussanah Su at Broadmedow before defeating Simone Cameron in the decider (6-2 6-3).

From there, she would up the ante when making two trips to Newcastle each week to train with her coach (and 1994 Junior Australian Open Singles champion) Trudi Musgrave.

Then came the pandemic.

“When Covid started we weren’t able to travel that much so that is when Dad and I started training a lot more here at Howe Park,” she added.

“It is hard to improve because when you go to tournaments you have things to work on because I play a lot different in a real match than I do in training.

“I have still been training really well though.”

McLeod admitted that all tournaments were due to return in July this year.

However, it wasn’t to be on account of the pandemic’s second wave in Victoria.

“I wanted to see how I wanted to go in a match (by then) because we changed some things (in my game) during the break,” she revealed.

Local coach and Howe Park Tennis Club stalwart Roger Lee then added his thoughts.

“I was just watching her forehand, it was a little bit suss before but she’s obviously changed her grip and it seems to be going well,” he declared.

Though McLeod only turned 13 this year she continues to play in the club’s top tier competition against grown men of all abilities.

So, what advice would she pass on to the next Ella McLeod?

“Just believe,” she concluded.

“Work hard and believe in yourself.”