Sport can open doors for those who work hard, get results and go after their dreams – and Bunbury-raised Maddy Muller-Hughes is proof.
The teenager’s talent for tennis has taken her on a journey from Australia to the United States, where she is currently based at the University of North Carolina in the port city of Wilmington.
The former South West Academy of Sport tennis player took up a full scholarship with the university about a year-and-half ago.
Since then, she has been enjoying life as a student-athlete, studying exercise science in addition to competing in the US college sports system for the university’s Seahawks team.
The scholarship has provided the 19-year-old with the opportunity not only to gain a degree but also to travel as she competes across the US.
“I feel not many people would get the chance to do so much travel and exploring, especially because it would be so expensive to do in any other situation,” Muller-Hughes said.
“I think I’ve been very lucky to have seen as many things as I’ve had.”
This year, her competition schedule has seen her visit places such as Orlando, Georgia and New York.
Muller-Hughes, who improved her game last year to play number one singles and doubles, is loving college life, which involves studying, training and competing.
“It is probably the best thing I’ve ever done – I love it,” she said.
“You get this freedom and get to experience all the different things you wouldn’t get to see in Australia.
“And you get to meet so many different people you’d never get the chance to see.
“I feel like that’s the best part of it.”