Top play­ers bat­tle in our back­yard

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By LAU­REN PRIESTLEY

Ten­nis is a sport that can re­ally take you places, Sacha Jones says.

The Aus­tralian No 5 started play­ing when she was 3 and was rep­re­sent­ing New Zealand in­ter­na­tion­ally by the time she was 11.

She is the top fe­male seed go­ing into the Wither Hills West End Cup this week at West End Ten­nis Club in West­mere.

‘‘Ten­nis has ex­posed me to a life out­side of New Zealand in quite a big way. I’m so lucky to be able to have a job do­ing what I love out­side in the sun.’’

Now in its sixth year, the free event fea­tures New Zealand’s best ten­nis play­ers as well as some top 10 Aus­tralian pro­fes­sion­als.

Jones played in the com­pe­ti­tion in 2011 and is ex­cited to hit the West End courts again.

‘‘It was so nice how the whole area got in be­hind the tour­na­ment, it’s such a good en­vi­ron­ment to play in.

‘‘As far as ten­nis events go it’s a re­ally cool at­mos­phere.’’

West End Cup com­mit­tee mem­ber Penny Foote says the tour­na­ment started from hum­ble be­gin­nings and just took off. It’s a chance for Auck­lan­ders to see some top­class ten­nis for free, she says.

‘‘It’s all in our back­yard. There’s some top play­ers that are go­ing to be out there and some fast and fu­ri­ous com­pe­ti­tion.’’

The event gives Auck­land’s best ju­nior ten­nis play­ers an op­por­tu­nity to flex their mus­cles be­fore the New Zealand Ju­nior Cham­pi­onships which start on De­cem­ber 13.

‘‘It’s just won­der­ful for them to be in a tour­na­ment with th­ese top play­ers and gain all of that ex­pe­ri­ence,’’ she says.

Photo: NZPA

Top player: Kiwi-turned-Aussie ten­nis star Sacha Jones is com­pet­ing at West End Ten­nis Club this week.

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