Being Me: Alex

Alex Hunt was born without his left arm, but this hasn’t stopped him realising his dream of becoming a pro tennis player. Here Alex reveals how he’s beaten the odds and succeeded in this competitive sport.

Alex Hunt is a 25-year-old professional tennis player, born with one arm and a dream of one day, playing in a tennis Grand Slam.

Born and raised on a farm in Wakefield, the country boy loves his sport and has always been driven to reach his goals, despite the challenges thrown his way.

Alex  was born with his left arm, ending just below the elbow, after his umbilical cord wrapped around his arm when he was in the womb.

Alex facing away looking through a fence.
Alex was born with his left arm ending just below his elbow.

But this hasn’t stopped him excelling in his favourite sport. Tennis is popular in the Hunt family, a result of Alex’s grandparents owning a tennis court. Many days of his childhood were spent, “chasing my brothers around the court.”

Growing up, Alex was very competitive and mum Melitta says, “nothing stopped him and he had to do everything his brothers did,” she always told her sons’, “there is no limit, chase your dreams and there is no such thing as can’t.

His dad, Richard believes, “Alex certainly benefited from having two older brothers.” The eldest, Ben, was top of the New Zealand rankings  when he was 12, and his middle brother, James was also “very good,” Alex says.

Alex riding a quad bike in a paddock.
Alex lives on a rural farm.

Determined not to let his lack of an arm hold him back, Alex was accepted into an American college to play tennis on a sports scholarship, and he now plays on the International Tennis Foundation world tour.

After five years away from New Zealand Alex returned early this year  to regroup and catch up with family, but during what was supposed to be a short visit, he knocked his head on a door-frame and got a nasty concussion, “a little bit gutted that it was such a stupid thing that kept me out of tennis.”

Tennis balls on the ground at a tennis court, with Alex in the background.
Alex has been playing tennis ever since he was a young child.

Four months on Alex is getting back to the game after having  time to “focus on what I want to do, which is to inspire people.”

For Alex achieving his own goals is not enough, he also seeks to inspire other kids living with disabilities to believe they can achieve their potential.

His trainer Claire Dallison admires his drive, “he’s only ever played against able-bodied players, he’s playing elite tennis with a little bit of a difference on how he does technical things.”

Long-time coach John Gardiner also supports Alex. When he was playing overseas Alex injured his stump and had to take off his prosthetic arm, “the freedom that gave me without the extra piece on my arm, I just felt freer like I could open up.”says Alex.

Now playing comfortably without his prosthesis, Alex can’t see a future without his favourite sport, “I couldn’t see my life without tennis... the ultimate goal to make a grand slam.”

Alexs' prosthetic arm, throwing up a tennis ball for a serve.
Alex hopes to one day win a Grand Slam title.

Melitta says sometimes he does feel he has to prove himself because of his arm and he does get judged for it, which can knock his confidence, but Alex likes to think, “I can do everything.”

Alex lists the aspects in life that drive him, “wanting to be the best I can at tennis and being able to change other kids lives or the way they look at life or things they can’t do, those are the things that inspire and motivate me.”

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