Daniel Oreo, who competed at the Ballina New Years Open this week.
Daniel Oreo, who competed at the Ballina New Years Open this week.

It aint pretty but Strong wins em over

By ADAM HICKS

HIS game ain't pretty but it is all part of Steve Strong's evolutionary approach to tennis.

The long-silver-haired 50-something Mullumbimby school teacher may have lost his second round over 35s match at the Ballina New Year's Tennis Open yesterday but he won over the small crowd with an unorthodox approach.

Picture his serve: Legs spread imitating a footballer preparing to convert a try; he holds the ball as Isaac Newton would an apple. Racket raised, like hammer above nail he pauses before the strike.

"What I do is play a style, if it doesn't work, I try out a new one," he said.

"Today, it didn't work out by six inches. I'll dump that one and try a new one.

"If the court was six inches smaller I would've won."

In a shortened match, Strong was dumped out 1-9 by John Burness of Tweed Heads.

"Unless there is an award for losing 9-1 then I don't think they'll bring me back," Strong said.

"I'll just turn up at the next tournament with another style.

"I love playing in Opens just for fun.

"I make up my own game. Fun is trying something new, winning has nothing to do with it.

"It might work one day. Mind you I may be too old by then."

Number one seed Mark Draper beat Lismore's Luke Edwards 7-5 6-3 to progress into today's semi-finals.

Brendan Moore cruised past Nikilas Algio 6-2 6-3 and will play his quater-final today.

In the ladies draw, top seed Jessica Schaer lost in a tight match to Alice Watter 6-4 6-7 6-7.



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