Up-and-coming tennis star Jesse Russell is already making a big impression on the tennis circuit and has just served up his latest ace, by landing a position at the International Tennis Federation (ITF) competition in France in April.
The Bond University student recipient will travel to both Paris and Nice from 22 March to 5 April to hit it out with the best of the best from around the globe.
It is the latest in a long line of achievements for 18-year-old Jesse who has just signed a sponsorship deal with international sportswear brand FILA.
Jesse recently participated in a four-month exchange program at Clemson University in South Carolina in the United States, which he said helped to prepare him for the upcoming European tournament.
"I have been extremely lucky to have had the opportunities afforded to me so far, which has allowed me to travel doing what I love – playing tennis," he said.
"I studied at Clemson University last year through the Bond’s outbound exchange program, where I competed in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) division one tennis team.
"The whole experience was completely life changing, I'd never been overseas before and it felt amazing to be able to do it on my own.
"I'm a lot more comfortable travelling solo to another country after the exchange and feel ready to tackle the ITF event in France - the largest competition I've been part of to date - to the best of my ability."
Growing up in Alice Springs, Jesse made the move to the Gold Coast in 2014, after being awarded a sporting scholarship to The Southport School (TSS) at the age of 15. He was the number one tennis player at TSS from 2014 to 2016 and was awarded an Indigenous Scholarship to study at Bond University in 2017.
Last year, he participated in the Evonne Goolagong Foundation National Training Camp at the Australian Open and this year returned as a coach and mentor, giving back to the next generation of up-and-coming tennis stars.
Jesse said the scholarship to Bond University had allowed him to work towards his goal of playing professionally on centre court, while preparing for life off the court through a Bachelor of Sports Management.
"My ultimate goal is to make it as a professional tennis player, but I also want to ensure I am working towards my next career," he said.
"As sport is my passion, I know I always want to be involved in the industry in some capacity, so I am excited to see where my Bachelor of Sports Management takes me.
"I am very proud of my heritage and enjoy going back to Alice Springs and being out on the land. Being able to coach and mentor the next generation of tennis superstars who cannot afford lessons is a great way for me to give back to my community."
Bond University Pro Vice-Chancellor, Students and Academic Support, Alan Finch, said Jesse's commitment to his community and his academic achievements meant he was already on the right path to career success.
"We are heavily invested in nurturing and supporting students who have the potential to make a real impact in their field, and Jesse represents just that," he said.