Tennis has taken proud Tasmanian Larn McShane all over the world – yet she never forgets where she first fell in love with the sport.
“I was 10 and walked past an after-school tennis course and asked mum what they were doing,” she recalls.
“A few weeks later I was able to join this after-school program and absolutely loved it. I then started training with my dad as often as he had time and it went from there.”
McShane, 28, is now a tennis coach at Tennisschule Aarau-West, one of Switzerland’s largest tennis academies.
“It wasn’t only the chocolate and Roger (Federer) that attracted me to move to Switzerland,” she says with a smile.
“Their tennis system here is extremely organised and for such a small country, they have a lot of tennis.”
McShane is qualified to judge, having now played and coached across many different countries.
After completing high school in Tasmania, McShane went to a US college to pursue her tennis dream.
“When I went to college in LA it was my first time out of Australia,” she recalls.
“Travelling around the States playing tournaments and matches is definitely something I would recommend to every player who might be thinking about it.”
After completing college, McShane relocated to Europe. She spent time competing on the pro circuit, as well as playing team tennis in Germany, France and Switzerland – which she describes as “an awesome experience”.
She also discovered a passion for coaching.
“I originally took the coaching courses to learn how to better my own tennis. It definitely made me see the game differently and took a lot of the frustration out of the unknown errors and injuries,” she says.
“This changed the way I trained, which is also now the way I approach my coaching.”
Her experiences have since been enriched through time living and coaching in Germany, Poland and Ireland.
“The cool thing about tennis is that it’s a worldwide sport, which really means the opportunities are pretty endless,” she says.
“Being able to travel has been a highlight and meeting so many awesome, and sometimes also not so awesome, people has taught me a lot.”
McShane still keeps a close eye on Tasmanian tennis, offering to assist juniors when she returns home to visit family.
“No matter where we live in the world, I will always still be Tasmanian,” she says.
“I want to stay in touch with junior tennis in Tassie because yes Tassie is small, but that doesn’t make our chances of taking our tennis to great places any less.
“We have a lot of amazing resources in Tasmania, the coaches and their experiences as well as the Hobart International and the ITF and Pro Tour events up north.”
McShane hopes sharing her own experiences can inspire Tasmanian juniors to pursue their own tennis dreams too.
She likes to tell them one of her most challenging – yet life-changing – experiences of training at a French academy during a cold winter.
“It was as basic as it gets. No toilet seats in bathrooms, no heating, no extras anywhere, but it was fantastic,” she recalls.
“The people there were so motivated and made the best out of every opportunity they got. I loved this because whenever I come home and coach, I hear people often comparing everything as a means for not being able to excel.
“All you need for success is the will to succeed and as a tennis player, to know how to develop your own personality into your own game. It is important to stop comparing what others have and focus more on what you have and what you can do well.”
Do you have a Tasmanian tennis story to tell? The Tennis Tasmania team would love to hear it, so let us know.