Tennis Classic starts Monday
ONE-HUNDRED-and-sixty players, 12 courts, 28 events and $6000 in prizemoney.
Those are the vitals on the 85th annual Lismore Easter Tennis Classic to be contested from Friday to Monday.
Lismore Tennis Club manager John Stoddart has his new plexipave courts ready to go and cannot wait for the action to begin.
“We have entrants from Brisbane, Sydney and everywhere in between,” Stoddart said.
Headlining the men’s field are two of Australia’s top non-professional players, Brendan Moore of Lismore and former ATP player Mark Draper.
Moore, ranked 51 in the nation, has been allotted the top seed while Draper, ranked 58, is the second seed.
The pair are at opposite ends of the career spectrum – Moore is 24 while Draper is 14 years his senior – but it shapes as a classic match-up should they meet in the final.
Both have solid form on the Northern Rivers with Moore taking out the Lismore Classic in 2008 and Draper winning the 2010 New Year Open at Ballina.
Moore has a hill to climb in order to get back to his best after a pair of shoulder reconstructions last year.
The booming right-hander has had to re-model his playing style as a result.
“I have always played with a one-handed backhand,” Moore said.
“But I have been forced to alter that to two-handed in order to take some of the stress out of my right shoulder.”
Moore has played in a handful of tournaments since the last surgery in mid-2009, but only with the aid of pain-killing quartizone injections.
He will again use the needle to get through the Lismore Easter Classic.
“It’s a tough process,” he said.
“I want to play tennis and get some match fitness into my shoulder.
“But at the same time it will be a while until I get going again with the new two-handed style.”
For the record, Moore can recall meeting Draper five times in his career, with the senior of the pair holding a 4-1 advantage.
“But I got him in our last meeting at Kawana Waters in Queensland,” Moore said.
“So maybe the tide has turned.”
Both men will need to progress to the final to clash for the sixth time.
You would imagine Draper will be there, and Moore too, as long as his shoulder holds up.