McCann takes on the best

Selwyn and Ashburton Outlook - - MOTORING - ERIN TASKER

If some­one told Neil McCann a year ago he’d be in Amer­ica to­day hav­ing a shot at a world ti­tle, he wouldn’t have be­lieved them.

But, that’s ex­actly what he’s do­ing. Ash­bur­ton’s McCann is in Mi­ami, Florida, com­pet­ing at the ITF World Se­niors ten­nis team’s event this week, and next week he’ll take part in the world se­niors in­di­vid­ual tour­na­ment. He has no real ex­pec­ta­tion of how he’ll go, but he’s de­ter­mined to give it his best shot, be­cause it’s likely to be his only shot.

McCann, 52, de­cided to put his name for­ward for se­lec­tion fol­low­ing a stel­lar sea­son where he won two na­tional ti­tles, and was named Mid Can­ter­bury’s sportsper­son of the year.

‘‘I won the na­tion­als in Christchurch this year in the sin­gles, and the dou­bles with An­dre (van Rooyen), and one thing just led on to the next.’’

In Florida he’s hav­ing to deal with hot, hu­mid weather, as well as get­ting used to play­ing on the un­fa­mil­iar clay sur­face; that’s the big­gest chal­lenge, McCann said.

Just like the ATP pro tour, there’s rank­ings on the se­niors cir­cuit, and McCann is cur­rently ranked 166th in the world, de­spite only hav­ing made a hand­ful of ap­pear­ances at tour­na­ments.

To play world se­niors events reg­u­larly would be great, but it isn’t re­al­is­tic.

‘‘If you are re­ally keen to do it and you’ve got the time, and the money, it’s there for you,’’ he said.

ERIN TASKER/STUFF

Ash­bur­ton’s Neil McCann is in Amer­ica this week at the ITF World Se­niors Ten­nis Cham­pi­onships.

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