FINE FOCUS : Seed one Emeric Navarro at the Ballina New Year Open Tennis Tournament.
FINE FOCUS : Seed one Emeric Navarro at the Ballina New Year Open Tennis Tournament. Cathryn McLauchlan

Tennis: Fierce competition at Ballina New Year Open

COMPETITION is fierce at the Ballina New Year Open tennis tournament with a record number of entries and higher grade fields compared with last year.

Ballina Tennis Club coach and tournament director Brandon Rowe said there were a few standouts in this year’s tournament in the men’s, women’s, junior and senior fields.

“In the open men, Brendon Moore, a Lismore guy, he won the event in 2011 and 2012, so he’s going for a trifecta,” Rowe said.

“Also Bradley Clews, last year’s runner-up, he’s come back and he was very close last year.”

Clews, seed two, said he and his partner came up for the tournament every year.

“We love coming to Ballina ... it’s been a pretty happy hunting ground for the both of us, and hopefully this year we can do the same,” he said.

After the Ballina New Year Open they will compete in the Queensland Money Race event held during the Brisbane International.

Rowe said there was also a very strong field in the Women’s Open.

“We’ve got Alicia Smith, she’s our top seed,” he said.

“We also have Zuzana Zlochava, she’s Croatian, and Yuki Chiang, she’s from America, and she has a world ranking of 600 plus.”

Chiang has been training on the Gold Coast with an Australian coach for the past three months.

She said she was confident about the tourna- ment but was wary about playing on synthetic grass.

Rowe said competition was fiercer in all categories.

“Particularly in the juniors, the 16 boys is the strongest it’s ever been,” he said.

“We got upgraded last year from a Bronze Senior event and a White Junior, to a Silver and a Bronze ... so you tend to attract stronger players.”

Competition continues today and tomorrow.



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