Canberra tennis player Tallulah Farrow had 45 American coaches chasing her signature before she accepted a scholarship at Colorado University.
It wasn’t a smooth process with Farrow making two whirlwind 48-hour trips to America to comply with NCAA rules, before she eventually chose the Buffaloes.
The 17-year-old wants to follow fellow Canberran and “freak talent” Nick Kyrgios into the professional ranks after she graduates in four years.
Farrow trains under Todd Larkham – the same junior coach as Kyrgios – and said she couldn’t wait for her collegiate career to begin.
“The goal has always been to become a professional tennis player and that’s still the goal,” Farrow said.
“Being from Canberra there’s not really that many strong players around me … there’s not that much opportunity for hitting and good match play consistently.
“So for me this is a really good step to becoming professional with consistent training and great facilities. Tennis Australia always pushed players to go straight on circuit, but that’s so difficult to do unless you’re incredibly talented like Nick Kyrgios.
“I spoke to Tennis Australia when the Fed Cup was in Canberra [last February] and they said college was a really good option for me, which is a recent change in mentality from them.
“Academics are really important to me, I love to study and it’s important to have backup options, I believe I can go pro but at some point in my career it’s no longer going to be reality.”
Farrow and Kyrgios trained at the Lyneham Tennis Centre almost daily in November and December, and despite the headlines she said Canberra’s wild child earns his success.
“He is a freak talent and to his credit he worked super hard in juniors and definitely deserves everything he’s got,” Farrow said.
“At the same time he can not hit a ball then go out and beat Rafa [Rafael Nadal], it doesn’t happen without hard work but he’s incredibly talented.”
Farrow scored 94.5 on her ATAR and said academics was a major factor in picking after the Buffaloes narrowing it down to schools in Washington DC, Florida and Colorado.
“I did two trips in September but it was pretty horrible to be honest. I flew with mum the first time and we went to two schools but you’re only allowed on campus for 48 hours then you have to leave the country,” Farrow said.
“A week later I went by myself and flew to DC which is such a trek, I was there for 48 hours and flew home because you’re not allowed to make it a holiday and do touristy stuff.”
Farrow admits it wasn’t easy saying no to coaches which had been recruiting her since June but knows she made the right decision.
“You feel bad because they’ve flown you over, coaches make you an itinerary and take you out and show you campus and you meet the girls on the team and the school pays for everything,” Farrow said.
“One of the coaches I went to dinner with his family and his in-laws.
“It’s a long journey but the opportunity is mind-blowing.”