30 June 2020

Canberra tennis protege Charlie Camus keeping his feet firmly on the ground

| Lachlan Roberts
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Charlie Camus claimed his maiden national title at Canberra Tennis Centre. Photo: Supplied by Tennis ACT

The term ‘protege’, ‘young gun’ and ‘one to watch’ get thrown around a lot when it comes to Charlie Camus but his father Olivier is focused on keeping his son’s feet firmly on the ground.

Eleven-year-old Canberran Charlie Camus is the second-best tennis player in Australia for his age group. He seems well on his way to a future professional tennis player but his father Olivier is instilling in his young son to stay humble despite the growing accolades.

The Telopea Park primary school student has enjoyed a stellar year, winning the under-12s Australian claycourt single and double titles at Canberra Tennis Centre on Wednesday (3 October) and being named Tennis ACT’s junior athlete of the year alongside Annerly Poulos.

Last week’s victory was the biggest title of his young career and was his maiden national title.

Charlie has been playing tennis since he was three-years-old when his father took him to the tennis courts and gave him his first racket. But it was at the Australian Open three years later that the passion for the sport ignited.

“I went to the Australian Open with my Dad when I was six and after that, I told my dad I wanted to be a professional tennis player. The match I remember watching was a French girl called Alize Cornet,” Charlie said.

“He sat courtside for a whole three hours watching Cornet play,” Olivier said. “After his day at the Australian Open was when he really started to train.”

Charlie also met 6.9 foot Ivo Karlovic during his visit to the Australian Open. Photo: Supplied by Olivier Camus

The Camus family has a proud French background and sports runs in their veins. Both of Charlie’s parents played hockey and tennis and his dad went on to represent France as a field hockey player. For the past 10 years, Olivier has been playing tennis with his mates and as soon as Charlie was old enough, he tagged along.

Charlie is coached by his dad, along with help from Tennis ACT coaches Todd Larkham and Alan Jones. Along with coaching, Olivier organises hitting partners, plans trips to tournaments and strings his son’s rackets. All the money is coming out of the family’s pocket which is a big financial commitment for the Telopea Park school teacher. Every school holiday is spent travelling around Australia to different junior competitions but the family are not doing it for the money or recognition, but rather for their son’s love for the game.

Charlie spends two hours per day on the court, practising all his shots and playing against Olivier, Olivier’s mates, other kids and Tennis ACT coaches. It is no surprise that he has now started to beat most of his Dad’s friends, who played the top division in ACT men’s pennant competition.

Charlie’s goal is to win a grand slam one day and represent his country at the Davis Cup, but he isn’t too sure if he will represent France or Australia. Let’s hope he picks Australia.

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