TAJ Cayzer dreams of one day turning professional.
But for now, his focus is on beating those in front of him.
The Geelong-based teenager held off third seed Matthew David Hicks to win the men's open singles at the Inter-Regional Country Championships on Sunday.
Cayzer fought through hot conditions at Warrnambool Lawn Tennis to salute 7-6, 6-4. Shepparton-based top seed Eliza Long was the women's open champion after opponent Olivia Rich retired with a back complaint after five games.
"It was good. It was getting warm out there towards the end but I knew I just had to stick in there," Cayzer told The Standard.
"The result came so I'm happy about that. (Hicks) is a good player and I knew I had to be at my best to beat him."
The result came so I'm happy about that. (Hicks) is a good player and I knew I had to be at my best to beat him.Taj Cayzer
Cayzer said he pinpointed serving as a key area pre-match. "I had to get the holding serve, otherwise he's just too good to not serve well (against)," he said.
"I knew I had to keep serving well throughout the match.
"I was just hoping I could get a break or two and thankfully I did. Serving was definitely important."
Cayzer said the tournament's position on the calendar made it an attractive proposition.
"It wasn't one I'd been targeting for a long time. With COVID and there not being many tournaments around, this was the first one which popped up," he said.
"I'm really thankful it did. I'd definitely like to play some more AMT Platinums, ITF juniors and even some ITF seniors if possible.
"For now, I just want to keep playing the way I'm going and get on a bit of a roll and see what happens."
Cayzer said the Inter-Regional Country Championships were a positive way to begin his 2021 campaign.
"It's good because it's a team event, it's not as competitive while still being competitive," he said.
"It's just been really good to get into the swing of things and get a good start to the year."
In other results, Adam Lasky and Nicole Mullen took out the open mixed doubles title, Lasky and Hicks combined for the men's open doubles crown and Ashlea Andrews and Eliza Long secured the women's open doubles win.
Warrnambool pair Matthew Moloney and Kate-Maree Barnes took out the 35-49 mixed doubles triumph while both also won the 35-49 singles division for their respective genders. Moloney also teamed with Darren Gladman to win the men's 35-49 doubles grade.
Patrick Drake and Harry Boyd also won the men's under 25 doubles.
Barwon was the winning team overall with 271 points, while South West finished fifth on 201.
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