Ace up CTA’s sleeve
CAMPASPE Tennis Association president Daryl Poole admitted there has been a drop off in the number of people playing tennis.
However the players at Echuca Village Tennis Club are determined to welcome new members next season and may need to look towards the junior age group to achieve this.
Lockington Tennis Club’s recent junior doubles tournament saw more than 70 young players take to the grass and hard courts.
And Poole said Echuca South and Rochester Tennis Clubs are continuing to see strong numbers in their coaching sessions and the CTA’s junior competition has 32 teams spread across its three divisions.
‘‘Rochester has people like Lisa Myers who are committed to developing junior players and we have a growing junior contingent at South under the coaching of Alenka Hubacek,’’ he said.
‘‘There’s a fair few kids out there playing tennis which we don’t even know about.’’
Poole hoped even greater numbers would emerge in the Saturday morning competition as players from Echuca and surrounding areas continue to get involved.
And association secretary and Echuca Village club president Tim Harley agreed, adding the incredible strength of the junior competition was a testament to the enjoyment people get from playing the game.
However, there were concerns, as with a number sports, for the need to retain junior players and promote greater participation in the senior competitions.
‘‘The weekend competition definitely faces its challenges with so many sports competing for the interest of players,’’ Harley said.
‘‘But even then, the ability of the sport to hold its ground and continue to grow speaks volumes — Campaspe Tennis Association president Daryl Poole, pictured, believes developing young players is critical to ensuring competition’s future. about how much people love the game.’’
Harley believed tennis was one of the most attractive sports around as the game suited all abilities and easily fitted into a person’s busy schedule.
‘‘You don’t have to commit the whole day to tennis,’’ he said.
‘‘The afternoon competition runs from 1pm and is usually finished around 5pm.
‘‘Every player is friendly and happy to enjoy the social aspect as well as the tennis and it’s just as much a mental sport as it is physical.’’
Tennis not only promotes added health benefits, such as increased bone mass, cardiovascular health, co-ordination and strength, it also allows people to continue playing well into their later years.
Harley played rugby in his youth for almost 15 years, however turned to tennis as it was more suited to his busy lifestyle and caused less strain on his body.
Disability is no barrier to the game as Dylan Alcott showcased when he won the 2016 Newcombe Medal – awarded for outstanding achievements in Australian tennis – and inspired many in the process as the first wheelchair tennis player to receive the honour.
‘‘Country tennis has always been a strong institution and our league is proof of that,’’ Harley said.
‘‘Tennis is a community game and the fact that we have so many clubs is a testament to that.
‘‘Tennis develops confidence and teaches invaluable lessons of sportsmanship, teamwork, friendship and healthy competition and also teaches you to handle stress effectively.’’
Opportunities to play are available throughout the region, with local leagues such as the CTA and Goulburn Murray Lawn Tennis Association running weekend competitions and individual clubs such as Echuca Lawn Tennis Club and Rochester holding midweek games for social players.