Grace Schumacher makes the Australian Merit Team

EGLINTON’S Grace Schumacher has solidified her position as one of Australia’s top under 18s tennis players following a remarkable run of recent achievements in Shepparton, Victoria.

NEW ACHIEVEMENT: Eglinton's Grace Schumacher has been named in the 2017 Australian Merit Team. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK

NEW ACHIEVEMENT: Eglinton's Grace Schumacher has been named in the 2017 Australian Merit Team. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK

Schumacher, 16, helped guide New South Wales to a ninth successive title in the Pizzey Cup teams competition.

On top of that the Eglinton player also made it through to the semi-finals of the individual Tennis Australia Cup.

Thanks to her efforts in those under 18s competitions Schumacher was named in the 2017 Australian Merit Team, a select list of the eight top female players for the age group in the country.

”NSW always goes really well at the Pizzey Cup. The managers are very professional in what they do, and they expect us to be like that as well,” Schumacher said.

“I was very happy with how I went. I made it through to the semi-finals of the singles and I lost to the girl who went on to win it in three sets.

“I didn’t lose any of my singles matches in the teams competition, but I did have some close matches against Victoria and WA.”

Schumacher went into the Tennis Australia Cup as the fourth seed and enjoyed a strong run through to the semi-finals.

Before coming up against Victoria’s Jasmin Starr in the semi-final Schumacher had dropped just 12 games in six sets.

After a tough three setter Starr prevailed 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 and went on to beat top seed Monique Burton in the final.

Schumacher was rarely troubled in her Pizzey Cup matches as well.

She went undefeated through her singles and lost only one girls doubles and one mixed doubles match.

NSW won every tie of the tournament they took part in and claimed 83 of 105 rubbers.

It marks the second year in a row that Schuamcher has enjoyed Pizzey Cup success.

Schumacher felt she was a good chance to make the merit team at this year’s edition.

“The higher ranked players in the team usually have a better chance of getting into the team because you get more points when you win,” she said.

“Usually those who get into the semis make it into the merit team.

“I’ve been training in Sydney two days a week and I played a couple of lead up tournaments in Melbourne. I got sick though, so I came back home. I got better and I played really well [in Shepparton].”

While the merit team won’t be part of any tournament play, the selected players will get to experience next year’s Australian Open court-side.

Schumacher’s father, Rod, is thrilled with the support given to his daughter on court.

“The Eglinton Tennis Club and everyone out there have been amazing in helping her. Andrew [Mitton] at the Bathurst Tennis Centre has also been good,” he said.

“Then you move on to Central West Tennis and the national academy. People involved there have been very helpful and they have some amazing programs.

“We’re very proud of her. She’s done very well.”

The Australian top 100 is within the sights of Schumacher who currently sits in 111.

Schumacher now prepares to take on the Queensland Claycourt Open Championships in Carrara.