Ten­nis cou­ple back for Open

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - MICHAEL THOMP­SON

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.

Ten­nis star Brad Clews.

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