Event proves a smash hit

A RECORD number of children turned out for the first Medibank Junior Development Series event in Ballina and Alstonville yesterday.

About 125 players attended, which is believed to be the most to enter a Medibank series event on the Northern Rivers. Players from the Tweed to Grafton made the trip.

"There is a real positive vibe towards tennis at the moment," Ballina coach Brandon Rowe said.

"The first tournament is always popular and we've got kids from all over the place here.

"The phones usually start ringing after the Australian Open and it's always good to see kids keen to play.

"I don't see why we can't keep the numbers up during the year."

Elisabeth and Annie Milne were two of the Ballina players in competition.

They played in the series last year and made it to the champion of champions round in Grafton.

Their mother, Lindsey Smith, is a player and committee member of the Ballina club.

"Our whole family has played tennis at some stage," Smith said.

"The girls did all the tournaments last year and really enjoyed it."

The next event is at Lismore on March 9.

Ballina will host its next Medibank series tournament in May.

The top-ranked players in each age division will qualify for the north-east champion of champions tournament in August.

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