Deciding junior tennis royalty

SOME of Australia’s leading age juniors flocked to Sale Tennis Club last weekend, for its annual Queen’s Birthday Junior Tournament.

The club welcomed more than 80 juniors, spread across 135 individual entries, in the 10, 12 and 14 and under boys and girls age groups.

 Players were competing for national player ranking points and, being a ‘silver’ event, the tournament attracts the second-highest level of player ranking points.

Highly sought-after by players pursuing a serious tennis calling, the points allow automatic entry to the next level of tournament, and ultimately to senior tournaments on the professional circuit.

In the 14 and under girls draw, Mt Eliza’s Kiah James ranks 555th nationally, while the number two seed, Fitzroy North’s Whitney Guan, is ranked just 10 points less, on 565th.

 In the 14 and under boys draw, Maribynong’s Brian Capalnean ranks 600th in Australia, while Mt Waverly’s Sean Flanagan ranks 639th.  

Tarniet’s Gabrielle Villegas, participating in the under 12s, ranks 726th nationally, while her opponent, Wantirna’s Chelsea Stergiopoulos ranks 733rd.  

While local entrants didn’t manage to secure a tournament title, they did get a slice of success, with Dylan Board, from Longford, and Riley O’Brien, from Moe, crowned runners up in the 10 and under boys doubles, to winners Tyler Robson and Tristan Stapleton from Yamala Park.

Tournament director Mick Mullen was delighted with the 20 per cent increase in entry numbers from last year, with a quality field of talented and highly ranked juniors.  

“The professionalism of some of the young athletes was impressive and indicates just what it takes to become a leading tennis player at any age group,” he said.

“Theirs is a great example for our local juniors to aspire to.”

Sale Tennis Club president Robin Lowe said the tournament was the club’s major junior points event, and this year had brought a large crowd to Sale for the weekend.  

“The event was a credit to the players, officials and everyone involved,” he said.

“The feedback from the players and their parents and coaches was very positive and we are hoping for an even stronger field in 2019 on our redeveloped complex. 

“It takes a huge effort to stage an event of this size and the club volunteers did an exceptional job as they all pulled together to ensure that it went smoothly.

  “On the back of the success of this event we hope to see many of these players back for our spring junior tournament in September.”