Brendan shuns injuries

HE MAY be on the walking wounded list but battle-scarred Brendan Lee is aiming for a good performance at the forthcoming Lismore Open Tennis Championships.

The 24-year-old Casino player admits he has "minimum expectations" for the event, which starts this Thursday, after a recent fractured right wrist hampered his preparations.

Although he is ranked in the top 1000 nationally, Lee now spends a huge chunk of his time coaching some of the region's most promising young players.

Despite his injury woes, he said he could expect a friendly ribbing from a young charges if he didn't make an impact at this year's event.

"Definitely," he said with a grin. "I'll have to go out and try my hardest.

"I'll have to put on a good show or it could be a little bit embarrassing.

"I have minimum expectations of doing well, but I'll give it a go."

Lee, who fractured his wrist on court a couple of months ago, is hoping for a good run in the men's singles.

The draw includes Lismore's Brendan Moore, one of the best players in Australia and a host of other handy New South Wales and interstate players.

Sydney-based pro Tyra Calderwood heads the women's list.

"It's actually got a strong entry list, considering it's a White AMT tournament with minimum prize-money," Lee said.

"The majority of the players will be ranked in the top 1000 in Australia.

"All four of us coaches [at Casino] are trying to get our rankings up, so it will maybe push the kids to do well.

"We want to do well in tournaments like this."

This year's four-day event at the Ballina St club was in doubt after a slow start to entries.

It will now go ahead, albeit with a hugely depleted field of about 50 players.

Lee said he hoped next year's tournament at the club, which had undergone a year of turmoil but may soon be under new ownership, would be a cracker.

"Hopefully it can get back to the glory days," he said

"Lismore has such a rich history of tennis. There are so many good players to have come out of this area.

"I'm sure the older players who have hung up their rackets are despairing at the situation.

"I'm sure it will pick up."

The Lismore  Open Tennis Championships

Events on offer: Men's and women's singles and doubles, mixed doubles, under-18 singles and doubles.

From: Thursday, January 2-Sunday, January 5

Players to watch: Brendan Moore, Jaykob Rowe, Brendan Lee (Men's singles); Jessica Tickle, Tyra Calderwood, Gabby O' Gorman (Women's singles).

When: Lismore Tennis Club, Ballina Rd. Play starts about 9am each day.

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