Tennis JNR Development Series Ballina. In the under 14s Olivia Blanch of Grafton. Photo Doug Eaton / The Northern Star
Tennis JNR Development Series Ballina. In the under 14s Olivia Blanch of Grafton. Photo Doug Eaton / The Northern Star Doug Eaton

Region's best tennis talent to battle for state finals spots

THE BEST of the best junior tennis players begin arriving in Grafton today for the Junior North East Champion of Champions tournament.

Organiser Darren Crispin said about 110 of the top players from Forster to the Queensland border would be playing for a chance to progress to the New South Wales finals in August.

The weekend of tennis begins this afternoon with a special training session with Tennis Australia coach Callum Beale putting about 40 juniors through their paces.

"It's a real coup getting a coach of the quality of Callum to come here," Crispin said.

"It's not often the local players get coaching of this standard outside the city areas."

Crispin said the player numbers this weekend meant both the Grafton City and Junction Hill courts would be in use over both days.

He said the champion of champion events were the culmination of the Medibank Junior Development Series for young tennis players.

"In the northern region we have two divisions, upper and lower North Coast who each play off to send their top eight players to this tournament," Crispin said.

He said the best eight from this tournament in the 10, 12, 14 and 16-year age groups would head off to Inverell next month.

"These are the best kids in the North East region.

"It's a pretty impressive level of tennis," he said.

The tournament is also a boost for the local economy with the players, parents and coaches staying for up to three nights.

"It's good for the Grafton region and good for Grafton and Junction Hill tennis," Crispin said. He said local tennis fans could follow a good sized contingent of Grafton and Junction Hill players competing in the tournament over the weekend.

Finals will be played from lunchtime Sunday.

LOCAL STARS
(GC means they are from Grafton City Tennis Club, JH means they are from Junction Hill Tennis Club).
10 boys - Sam Marshall JH
12 boys - Isaac Huxley, Izaiah Gilbert both GC
14 boys - Jacob Hegedus GC
16 boys - Matt Hackett JH
10 girls - Celina McGarvie, Lily Allen, Norah Hegedus, Whitney Moon all GC Charley Tkalec, Paige Ellem JH
12 girls - Stephanie Eggins, Tianna McGarvie GC, Olivia Blanch, Gabby Marshall JH
14 girls - Georgia Allen GC
16 girls - Chloe Elward GC Kate Sneesby JH