SaltWire E-Edition

Early Returns: Colburne, 11, Shines in Tennis

Joni Colburne rarely goes a day without picking up her tennis racket.

That’s exactly the way she likes it. Whether it’s training with just her coach or in a group, or playing matches on the weekend, Joni can often be found hitting balls and fine-tuning her game. She’s a remarkably mature and smart player with an aggressive style backed by a strong serve and forehand.

At just 11 years of age, Joni has already won a Canadian U12 doubles title, earned selection to Tennis Canada’s Prospect

Program, and gone on three European tours with a Team Canada youth squad. The Grand Lake resident is the youngest and first female from Nova Scotia to win a national tennis title.

She was introduced to tennis at age three. Her mom, Tanya, worked at that time as the facility director at the Cougar Dome in Truro and enrolled Joni and Joni’s older brother Caden in lessons. Now they’re both excelling nationally in the sport.

Joni has been ranked in the top-15 nationally in U12 singles despite being in her first year in the age group.

Favourite things about tennis:

“I like the competitiveness and the independence, honestly. I think I’m an independent person and I like independent sports. You have to figure it out yourself.”

Biggest highlight so far:

“I’d say for sure winning nationals in doubles” in March. “I always believed I could win but never really expected to win, especially at this young of an age. I was just trying to enjoy the moment as much as I could, trying to enjoy it with (partner Milagros Pastuszka) because it is doubles. It’s a team. That was very fun.”

On learning from her older brother, Caden:

“He has taught me a lot, to have a good attitude and to never give up because that’s part of his game. He never gives up and he also plays a very aggressive game. He has taught me how to serve, taught me how to hit a backhand, a forehand, he has taught me how to hit really good volleys. We really like to travel together when we get the opportunities.”

On travelling with Team Canada:

“Tennis is usually one person, you’re by yourself, but I think them doing these team tournaments is really important because you also really develop being a good team member.”

On future goals in tennis:

“The short-term goal would probably be winning nationals in singles, and then for a medium-term goal it would probably be to improve and travel as much as I can and win bigger tournaments outside of Canada, and then a long-term goal would probably be making professionals or just get a full scholarship to a D1 school in the States.”





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