King-turner takes best shot at ti­tle

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JESS LEE

Bud­ding ten­nis play­ers could find them­selves go­ing head to head with the pro­fes­sion­als as West End Ten­nis Club serves up its an­nual tour­na­ment.

The newly named Wither Hills West End Cup is cel­e­brat­ing its fifth year and New Zealand No 2 Dan KingTurner is back on court look­ing to net first prize.

King-Turner is among other well-known play­ers, in­clud­ing Davis Cup win­ner and New Zealand No 1 Ru­bin Statham and New Zealand No 4 Artem Si­tak, com­pet­ing from De­cem­ber 6 to 9.

This year’s cup will fea­ture a new tie-breaker tour­na­ment called the Su­per Ten, open to any­one who wants to try their hand at the game and com­pete for more than $1500 of prizes.

West End Cup or­gan­iser Penny Foote says the tourna- ment at the West­mere club is as pop­u­lar as ever.

‘‘It just gets big­ger and big­ger each year and any­thing can hap­pen so we might see one of the lo­cals bat­tling it out against a pro.’’

King-Turner has just re­turned from six weeks of in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tions and says he is look­ing for­ward to com­pet­ing on home ground.

‘‘It’s al­ways nice to play in New Zealand. There are def­i­nitely some qual­ity play­ers who com­pete for the cup each year and this year it looks like there’s go­ing to be even stronger com­pe­ti­tion.’’

With a cur­rent world rank­ing of 374, King-Turner has his sights set on break­ing into the top 200 in the next year.

The 28-year-old was forced to lay down his racket last year af­ter an an­kle in­jury left him un­able to com­pete.

But he is 100 per cent back on form and has some ad­vice for any up-and-coming play­ers look­ing to chal­lenge the pro­fes­sion­als.

‘‘Don’t let them put you off your game. When peo­ple play against bet­ter play­ers they think they have to play bet­ter than they ac­tu­ally need to.

‘‘When I play guys who are ranked top 100 in the world I guess I’m guilty of do­ing the same as well. It’s hard to con­trol but at the same time you need to.’’

The four-day event has grown to be the largest in­de­pen­dent money tour­na­ment in New Zealand and now features a ju­nior com­pe­ti­tion.

On De­cem­ber 8, the Lin­dauer Jazz evening will kick off dur­ing the fi­nals of the Su­per Ten tour­na­ment.

En­try is free and child­care is avail­able for younger chil­dren.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Aim­ing high: New Zealand No 2 ten­nis player Dan King-Turner is ready to serve up his A-game against other top-ranked play­ers at the 2012 Wither Hills West End Cup.

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