Tennis couple back for Open
GETTING back on their home court has never been so sweet for local tennis couple Bradley Clews and Taylor Douglas.
The Western Suburbs Tennis Club coaches will play in the Townsville Open Age tournament this weekend after missing last year’s event with the birth of daughter Ariana.
Born prematurely, Ariana spent more than four months at Townsville Hospital’s neonatal unit and tennis was the last thing on the couple’s minds.
But with Ariana now healthy, her parents are back coaching many of Townsville’s most promising young tennis players.
It’s clear the time off court has not dampened their competitive spirits, and home court pride will be on the line when action begins tonight at the Western Suburbs club.
“It was pretty tough missing it last year, we played every year before, but hopefully we can make amends and get among the silverware,” Clews said.
“It’s always tough when you play the final on centre court and you have 200 people watching and living on every point, and it can become nerveracking, but we’ve played enough tennis now that we can handle those situations.
“But we’ll take each match as it comes and hopefully we can find some form.”
Clews and Taylor — both past singles winners of the annual tournament — reached their respective grand finals at the recent Ingham Open, with Clews beating Dutchman Jori Muelenbeld, and Douglas going down to young Western Suburbs clubmate Mikayla Zahirovic.
Muelenbeld and Zahirovic will be competing this weekend, along with last year’s singles champions Ebony Jackson and Kaden Hensel.
“Who knows who’ll win, we’ll see what happens,” Douglas said.
“Ebony is returning and she’ll be a favourite, and Mikayla has been playing really well.
“We’re just stoked to be back and it will be great to see many of our young players taking part.”
More than 170 entries have been received from local and interstate players for this year’s tournament, which ranges in age from under- 10s to opens.
Play begins this evening and ends Sunday night.