16 April 2021 | Tennis NT

Tristan Orchard broke his back in 2019 and has fallen in love with the game of tennis.

TRISTAN Orchard fell in love with tennis at a crucial time in his life.

A serious spinal injury had left him a paraplegic with six months of rehabilitation work ahead of him.

But when the 21-year-old was introduced to tennis as part of his recovery, a fierce desire to succeed set in.

“During the rehab a guy from tennis came in among other sports and I kind of fell in love with it straight away,’’ Orchard told the NT News.

“After Adelaide I got some contacts up here, met my coach Sam (Giess) and started going for it properly.

“It’s physical and most of the rules are the same, except for one rule change where you get two bounces.

“But it’s something that’s addictive and now I want to prove to everyone I can play the game and do it well.’’

Orchard, a big fan of seven-time Australian Open singles wheelchair champion Dylan Alcott, wants to make tennis a big part of his life.

“That’s the goal, to play professional tennis and participate in the Paralympics,’’ he said.

“This is something I can really go for and I feel really confident I can do it.’’

Orchard will attend a oneday development camp in Cairns, where top players from Queensland and Australia will be in attendance.

“Then there’s another camp in Brisbane in June I’m looking forward to learning more from,’’ he added.

Giess got involved with his new charge in October, 2019 when a tennis hooked Orchard arrived back in Darwin.

“Tristan started his tennis program in Adelaide, but once he was coming home the guy running the show got in contact with Tennis NT to ask if there was anyone keen to work with a wheelchair player,’’ Giess said.

“I put my hand up and yes, absolutely, and I’ve worked with Tristan ever since.’’

Giess said movement was the key in wheelchair tennis as opposed to serving and ground strokes that were similar to able bodied players.

“It’s a bit of education on my part to make sure I understand it all and go through it with Tristan,’’ he said.

Picture: Katrina Bridgeford

Story: NT News