After almost a month at home, Gunnedah tennis player Aaron Osmond is about to return to the United States for the next round of his university studies and a rigorous schedule of intercollegiate tennis.

Osmond, 19, last year signed on for a four-year degree course in Kinesiolgy/Leisure Studies at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, as well as representing his university on the highly competitive US intercollegiate circuit.

Many of the world’s best tennis players have used the intercollegiate circuit as a springboard to the world-wide ATP and WTA tours.

Playing tennis on the university team is “unbelievable,” according to Osmond, who was back in Gunnedah a week before Christmas and will leave to go back on January 16. 

“I struggled for a while, it’s my first time away from home, friends and family, but I’ve settled down now,” he said.

“The atmosphere at our (tennis) matches is incredible, there’s so much noise. It takes a while to get used to it.”

Osmond hit his best form late in the first semester and in the Great American Conference Championships in Russellville, Arkansas, he won his divisional singles and overall doubles title with his university partner, as well as an invitation singles event in Texas around the same time.

The conference in which he plays includes universities in US states such as Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Missouri, Mississippi and others in the southern and central area of the country.

Osmond is part of the Ouachita eight-member tennis squad, which he says is starting to “gel.”

“We’re a real international team – of the eight players, seven are from overseas. 

“There are no easy points anywhere – every match is a grind. But it’s a great feeling, just to even compete.”

Osmond faces a gruelling schedule when he returns and over a period of less than three months, his team will play 21 matches, both singles and doubles, against other universities in his conference.

“We have also been invited to play matches against Florida West and Auburn-Montgomery Universities in Florida in the US spring – they are two of the strongest teams in the US.”

Osmond’s daily schedule back in the US takes in two to three hours’ hitting each morning, followed by an hour in the gymnasium and, usually, another hit-out for at least an hour in the late afternoon.

“It sounds hard but you have to do it to compete and you grow to like doing it,” he said.

Osmond’s tennis schedule has been very promising but he has done well academically, obtaining all ‘As’ in his course in his first semester.

He is booked to return in a fortnight but next week will play in the Margaret Court Cup on the grass in Albury in a team consisting of another Gunnedah player, Vittorio Sardinha, Tamworth girl Taya Powell, who is coached in Gunnedah by Dale Martin, Charlie Pade (Coffs Harbour) and Charo Brown (Armidale). 

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