Juniors boost Ballina tennis tournament
NUMBERS are up with about 270 expected to compete at the Ballina New Year Open tennis tournament over the next four days.
Gold Coast professional coach Shannon Beckett is back again after making the final of the open women’s singles the last two years.
She won it in 2018 and finished runner-up last year after spending most of the week battling the flu.
Lismore’s Brendan Moore and Laqiusha Khan are the top seeds in the open men and women’s singles.
“Our numbers are up from 220 last year and that has a lot to do with the number of juniors coming through,” tournament director Brendon Rowe said.
“A lot of them come from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, so they will travel to play.
“Usually we don’t start a lot of the younger ones until the second day but they’ll be straight into it this year.
“We’ve had some quality teenagers in recent years and a lot of them have gone to play at colleges in the US.”
Moore is one of the best tennis players to come out of the region in recent years and has won the open men’s singles on three previous occasions.
He will be hard to beat this year while Beckett is seeded eighth in the women’s.
“A lot of these guys are coaches now and don’t play much during the year,” Rowe said.
“Brandon seems to be a bit stop-start but he was a convincing winner in a similar event at Coffs Harbour recently.
“He’ll be very hard to beat although Brenton Chambers could be a bit of a dark horse.
“This is a massive event for our club and it wouldn’t be possible without the efforts of our members.
“Everyone chips in and we get a couple of days of really good competition out of it.”
Matches will be played at Ballina, Alstonville and Wollongbar tennis clubs.
The open men and women’s singles finals will be played at Ballina on Sunday morning.