International experience for tennis ace Alan Valenzuela

Alan Valenzuela with his coach and father Ernesto Valenzuela during a practice hit in Trafalgar.

Alan Valenzuela with his coach and father Ernesto Valenzuela during a practice hit in Trafalgar.

Last week, Trafalgar tennis player Alan Valenzuela had one of the biggest opportunities in his young career.
Alan, 16, gained direct entry into the highly regarded Traralgon International, hitting the same courts as previous winners Roger Federer, Marion Bartoli, Nick Kyrgios and Alex Zverev.
After Tennis Australia moved away from the local wildcard entries, Alan had to apply for direct entry, something that was a little harder to obtain. However, the top 17 ranked state player was given entry and found himself standing across the net from the junior world number 137, Francisco Llanes, in the J1 tournament for the world’s best under 18 tennis players.
It had been a big 2019 for Alan, making a huge leap in the rankings to see him jump from 1186th in the country to 486th, with wins in the Mornington under 16s, doubles at Pakenham and two other finals appearances.
Despite going down to Llanes 6-2, 6-1, Alan said he felt it was one of his best matches.
“I thought going into the match I’ve just got to give it my all. I wanted to make the experience last as long as I could,” he said. “It was probably one of the best games I’ve played, I played smart and I fought throughout the whole experience which I was happy about.”
It was Alan’s first taste at the top level against Llanes and he said having the opportunity to play was unbelievable.
“Since I was young, I’ve always seen the players play at the tournament, but having the opportunity to play that was unreal, it was a great opportunity to represent my town and represent them in a good way,” he said.
After his match, Alan had the opportunity to spend some time with his opponent and said the two became friends.
“I became friends with Francisco after our match, which was great to speak to him about his experience. I also got to speak to some coaches from the USA there as well which was great,” he said.
Alan is now focussed on improving his match play, preparation and mindset. Increasing his ranking is a big goal and the chance to attend college is another calling card for the young gun.
While his tennis career continues to blossom, Alan knows how important this upcoming year at school is. His father and coach, Ernesto Valenzuela, continues to encourage his son to excel not just on the court but also in the classroom at Trafalgar High School.


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