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12 January 2022
By Michael Scalzo
Wimmera tennis leaders are confident the success of last weekend’s Tennis Victoria Inter-regional Country Championships will ensure the Wimmera continues to host high-standard tennis for years to come.
In a huge weekend for Wimmera tennis, eight regional teams comprising 226 players met at Horsham Lawn Tennis Club courts on Friday for the first day of competition.
Goulburn was crowned the 66th inter-regional country champions, with representative teams from Barwon and Loddon Campaspe finishing second and third, respectively.
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Extraordinarily, 14-year-old Isabella Crossman beat multiple women’s open singles champion and number- three seed Eliza Long in the women’s open singles final, 6-2, 6-0.
In the men’s open singles, Daniel Stormon won against David Poole 6-4, 6-3.
Stormon, partnering Mitchell Allman, came out on top of James Curtis-McDonald and David Poole in the men’s open doubles
Long and Hope Curtis-McDonald were too good for Bianca Duff and Nicole Mullen in the women’s open doubles final.
The future of Wimmera tennis champions was again on display throughout the three-day tournament in a promising showing for the region in junior categories.
Tahlia Thompson was 16 and under girls singles champion and Logan Casey was 16 and under boys singles runner-up.
Thompson and Casey were 16 and under mixed-doubles champions, and Casey, partnered with Connor Chivell, came runner-up in the 16 and under boys doubles.
Thompson and Gemma Walker took out 16 and under girls doubles honours, while Marli Pymer and Joshua Dean Bavich, Loddon Campaspe, were the 18 and under mixed-doubles champions. Emma Streeter and Adele Joseph were the girls 12 and under doubles champions.
Jeff Friberg and Graeme Wood were the 30-49 men’s doubles runner-up, demonstrating the Wimmera’s talent throughout the age categories.
Wimmera Regional Tennis events co-ordinator Sandra Casey said there had been an ‘enormous’ amount of work put in by everyone involved to get the tournament up and running when it was announced the Wimmera would host the championships.
“There was an extraordinary amount of volunteer hours put in by so many to prepare the courts for a high standard of tennis in the months before,” she said.
“Everything from catering to cleaners – there was so much to be across throughout the weekend.”
Mrs Casey thanked Horsham Lawn Tennis Club for its support and was appreciative of the access given to Wimmera players to use the club’s courts before the tournament, given the rarity of lawn tennis courts and the unique characteristics the surface imparts on tennis matches.
“We had four practice sessions to get used to the courts,” she said.
“Not many of the Wimmera players’ home clubs play on lawn courts, it was all very kind of the club.”
Horsham Lawn Tennis Club partnered with Horsham Rural City Council to ensure the courts were in perfect condition and of the highest standard throughout the tournament.
Mrs Casey said organisers had received great feedback from other regional representatives who attended.
“We are so lucky to have such a great facility here in Horsham that is of a really high standard,” she said.
“It is something that all residents can now enjoy, which will hopefully only further add to the quality of Wimmera tennis in the future.”
Horsham Lawn president Hailey Yorke said she was grateful to everyone who contributed their time during the three days.
“It was just so great to showcase the Wimmera and the team performed so well, we are so proud of them,” she said.
“We are so fortunate to have so many volunteers putting in their time to pull off a great event.”
Horsham Lawn hosted some special visitors on Saturday during the second day of competition.
Australian Open men’s and women’s tournament trophies arrived in Horsham and were on display in front of the clubhouse.
The legendary silverware was accompanied by retired Australian tennis champion Nicole Bradtke.
Bradtke, a former Australian number-one women’s player and Olympic bronze medal winner, addressed the crowd and answered questions from spectators.
Mrs Casey said Bradtke was ‘very’ giving of her time.
“It has been a few years since Nicole was a public name in tennis, but she has continued to remain extremely involved in junior tennis,” she said.
Alongside the Australian Open trophies, Bradtke brought her 1987 Wimbledon mixed doubles runner-up trophy.
“It was great to pull it all off and a huge thanks to Tennis Victoria,” Mrs Casey said.
The Australian Open celebration included an evening of entertainment and dining for patrons at the courts.
“There were food trucks, live music and both kids and their parents just had a great time,” Mrs Yorke said.
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