She's been playing tennis since she was three, and now, backed by sponsors and marketing, she competes in tournaments in Australia and round the world. GAVIN HOPPER: She's probably got a somewhat of an obsessive father, and I say that in the nicest sense. GAVIN HOPPER: I put her in the 18-and-unders really for experience more than anything else, just to... And so people get a little bit hesitant when they walk on the court and they actually think they can't win now, and it was so evident there when she... JADE HOPPER: I had this thought you'd have to be born with a special talent and not many people did.
At 10 years of age, Jade Hopper is our youngest-ever Australian Story. I LOVE it, I love it at night, and I was playing the best I'd ever played for probably that week. JADE HOPPER: If you're my opponent on the court, you're my opponent, you're my enemy, but off the court, I'll be your best friend. So the 18-and-under, the girls were bigger and stronger, but by the time she actually got through the first couple of rounds, you could see the older girls just didn't want to play her. Jade can play in a fairly big tournament, and an hour later, be in her room playing with Skye.
Yeah, she's only actually lost something like four times in her career, tournament tennis. Since then, she's pretty much been on the tour, you know, she's been on the road. And the other side is she walks on a tennis court, and it's a different person. She doesn't lose her mind on the court, but she actually has an intensity which is not with her for the rest of the time in her life. GAVIN HOPPER: We have two girls - Jade, and her younger sister Skye. I've squashed these up and I've put some on an angle, and it's really hard to find room for all of them.KAREN HOPPER: And that was our priority, to be together as a family as much as we can.So whether that family life is together in a hotel room in Paris...
at home on the Gold Coast, in a little, tiny flat in London - wherever that home life may be, that's where we wanted to be to be together.JADE HOPPER: I remember when I was little, I was inside playing with a balloon and a tennis racquet, a little, tiny tennis racquet, my first little tennis racquet.But its supporters say the choice for the future is simple - start young or miss out. GAVIN HOPPER: I'm sure every father sits there and says their little girl's pretty special. Little things that I believe in that I say to her every day -"Listen to me, just listen, and try to do the things I'm asking you to do. She's on the court, cap goes on in exactly the same way the racquets come out exactly the same way, the drink bottle's set up exactly the same way. I've worked my butt off for the last six years, seven years, and I've got another 20 to go, so, I'm not looking forward to those years, but I am.This is Jade Hopper's story.(Jade reads) "Once upon a time, there was a girl called Jade, who started playing tennis when she was just a little girl. Someday she will be a great and famous tennis player."GAVIN HOPPER: Yeah, she's number one 12-and-under in Australia. GAVIN HOPPER: I was on the pro tennis tour, both the women's and men's tour, for 13 years, and coached names such as Mark Kratzman, Jason Stoltenberg, Wally Masur, Mark Philippoussis, Monica Seles, Amanda Coetzer, and Tommy Haas.Jade is good at listening to daddy and learning to become better at tennis. People claim she's the number one 10-year-old in the world. Jade was actually born while I was on the pro circuit.While there's no rankings, I think if she played a world 10-and-under championships, she'd probably go pretty close and she'd probably win it, or she'd by up there, right up there. JADE HOPPER: I'd like to work towards any other 10-year-old's goal, which would be number one tennis player in the world. I want to achieve the goal I've set for myself at four years of age. If it costs seven days a weektraining my butt off, then I'll do it. I'd been coaching three years, and she was actually a Wimbledon baby, and I had to come home and miss the tournament and that was 1991.