CHANGED MAN: Jono Cooper in action in the Ballina New Year Open final yesterday.INSET: The man he beat, Brisbane player Gavin Van Peperzeel.
CHANGED MAN: Jono Cooper in action in the Ballina New Year Open final yesterday.INSET: The man he beat, Brisbane player Gavin Van Peperzeel. Doug Eaton

Jono stays cool and takes cash

CUTTING out racquet abuse and foul language helped Sydney player Jono Cooper to a 7-5 6-2 win over No 1 seed Gavin Van Peperzeel in the Ballina New Year Open tennis men's final yesterday.

Cooper, 21, was the No 3 seed and believes the maturity he has developed in the past year has helped him win more Australian Money Tournaments.

"I'm playing really well at the moment and beat some good players in recent weeks," Cooper said.

"I've matured a lot; I don't chuck the racquet or swear when things don't go my way any more. I've cut all that sort of stuff out of my game completely."

It's the second AMT Cooper has won this week after he beat Grafton player Jacob Sullivan on Sunday in the men's final of the Lismore Open Championships.

He was happy to have only the final left to play yesterday morning after three days of blistering heat.

"It was a tough match and I had to keep fighting," Cooper said.

"Gavin is always hard to beat. I was hitting the ball well and just tried to keep the pressure on him."

Cassie Gramlick also won the Lismore and Ballina tournaments in the open women's after she beat Gosford's Chloe Costelloe 7-6 2-6 6-3 at the Cherry Street courts yesterday afternoon.

It was the first time Cooper had played in the area since he was 14.

"I have a girlfriend(Costelloe) who lives on the Central Coast and she comes up here on holidays and plays," Cooper said.

"I decided to play too because I rely on the money from these tournaments to help get me overseas.

"The $1000 goes a long way for me and helps set me up for the year."

Cooper coaches in Sydney and will play tournaments at Gosford and Newcastle before going overseas again.

About 100 players took part in the four-day event.

Tournament director Nathan Whitty said tournament numbers were down across the board in Australia and the club was happy with the turnout.



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