Nadia is a real ace on the beach
NADIA Johnson has literally served up some history for the United States on the island of Aruba in the southern Caribbean.
The former Maryborough resident and her doubles partner Nicole Melch have won the Aruba International Beach Tennis tournament.
In winning the professional event, the pair became the first American team to ever win an international event played with paddles and not tennis racquets.
The points from the win also mean Johnson and Melch are now ranked in the top-10 in the world.
However, winning a professional beach tennis title is not a new experience for the former West State School student.
Since moving to New York in 2003, Johnson has been crowned a national beach tennis champion five times in her adopted country.
She is also ranked 14th in the world in the sport in singles.
Johnson, who ranked 243 in the world in women's doubles and 314 in singles during her "proper" tennis career before a wrist injury ended her playing days, said she was thrilled with the win.
"It came as a huge surprise to be honest," Johnson, who has been a tennis coach on Long Island since moving stateside, said.
"It's a quality tournament and there was no shortage of top-class teams (23 were in action) from throughout the world contesting it.
"So to win it was a great effort and one we are really pumped about it."
The world of beach tennis is so different to that of traditional tennis.
Games are played on a regulation beach volleyball court for a start.
Players volley back and forth, hitting a slightly depressurised tennis ball directly over the net without letting it bounce.
Points are scored when players hit the ball outside the lines or let it hit the sand.
There is also loud music blaring, girls in bikinis doing their best to pump up the crowd and spectators making noise with thunder sticks.
It's certainly nothing like when Johnson played at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.
She wouldn't have it any other way now.
"It's so different and it's a lot of fun," Johnston, who reached a career-high ranking of 15 in singles in her tennis career in Australia, said.
"It has also allowed me to play in a professional environment again after my tennis career ended.
"I love every minute of it and wish I could play it full-time."