Classic launched Stosur's career

NO ONE at the Lismore Easter Tennis Classic in the late 1990s could have predicted one of the division winners would go on to achieve a career-high world No 11 ranking.

Not long after her brief sojourn to Lismore, Sam Stosur turned professional, earning $4.2 million since 1999 and has, with Alicia Molik, virtually carried Australian women’s tennis along the way.

Stosur’s brother, Daniel, last week confirmed his sister’s appearance here, although time has blurred a few details.

“Sam did compete in the Lismore Easter Classic in the late ’90s,” Daniel said.

“I think she won perhaps the B-grade ladies event and quite possibly the 18 years and under girls event.”

Maybe from among the 100-plus nominations for the classic next month, another potential Australian champion may emerge.

Whatever the case, in the 85th running of the event from April 2, the Lismore Tennis Club’s new plexipave courts will add a more professional element to the long-running tournament, which began in 1925.

Bedded down late last year, the six back courts will get a decent workout from players chasing higher rankings.

It will be the first major event for senior-level players on the new hardcourts.

The April classic is an Australian ranking points tournament, a Tennis Australia money event which has $6000 in prizemoney riding on it.

Coach and club manager John Stoddart expects a late surge of nominations towards the cut-off this Saturday.

There will be 28 events over the four days, from Friday, April 2, to Monday, April 5. These include open men’s and women’s singles, junior events from Under-12s to Under-18s, doubles, and parent-and-child match-ups.

“The standard of tennis has been good,” Stoddart said.

“Chris Letcher won it last year, and Lismore’s Brendan Moore has won it previously. It’s a pretty high level tournament with a long history and we want to keep it going.

“We’re expecting players from Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Northern NSW and Sydney.”
City Toyota Lismore will again be the event’s major sponsor, as it has since 2008.

“We’ve been a major sponsor of event for the past two years and because of its history – 85 years in Lismore – we’re also hoping other businesses will get on board,” the dealership’s Kelli Rankin said.

“Mark Pidcock, dealer principal at City Toyota, Lismore, believes it is a great event for Lismore to get behind to make it bigger and better each year.”

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