SALE Tennis Club will host its 70th consecutive club championships on Sunday (November 27).
With the Wellington Gippsland Tennis Association season now well under way, this is an opportunity for both junior and senior club members to show their full skills on the club’s 14 fully renovated red porous courts.
After scheduling difficulties due to the facility redevelopment and then COVID-19 over the past few years, the platinum jubilee year will be a special event for the players and tournament organisers.
The most hotly contested events for the 70th championships will be the 4 Honour Board events; the Open Ladies Singles, the Open Men’s Singles and the 18 & Under Girls and Boys Singles. Other events include 10, 12, 14 and 16 & Under Girls and Boys Singles and Doubles, the ever-popular Family Doubles and Women’s and Men’s Doubles and mixed events.
In the open events, Jess Board and Anthony Zafiris are the 2021 champions.
Jess will return in 2022 to defend her title, keen to back up and make it four in a row.
However, she won’t have it all her own way. Last year’s runner-up in the ladies singles, Mia Goold, is improving every season, while recent international competition experience for Jo Rule will see her be very competitive, and Reggie Virgo will also be hard to beat.
In the open men’s singles, neither Anthony Zafaris and 2021 runner-up Sam McGregor will compete, leaving the field wide open for someone new on the honour board.
Could Mark Elliman, the grandson of the first ever and four-time opens men’s champion Stan Elliman, create a unique family record?
Perhaps the naturally gifted Aaron Kennedy, or the hard-working Tim Dunnett might triumph. Or could Cal Board dash all of their hopes? The eventual match-up will be one of the most anticipated matches of the tournament.
In the 18 & Under Boys, Sam McGregor was the 2021 champion, but he is not defending the title, creating an opportunity for the next up-and-coming group.
Riley Nicholas, Sam Bertino, Josiah Levchenko, Aaron Donaldson and Louis Lazzaro will be among the chasing group vying for a spot on the honour board.
In the 18 & Under Girls, Jess Board is hoping to make it a quadruple double by taking out a fourth successive combined 18 and Under and Open title.
The other age events are very open, as the players progress through their age groups from the 10 & Under on through.
The annual club championships provide another opportunity for club players, especially juniors, to test themselves against their peers. This is part of the junior development pathway, and while club championships have been slowly fading from many clubs annual calendars, Sale Tennis Club is determined to continue its long tradition.
The club even applied to have the Australian Open trophies on display on the day of the diamond Jubilee Championships.
The two perpetual trophies, presented to each of the male and female singles winners of the Australian Open, are the Norman Brooks Challenge Cup (Men’s), named after Sir Norman Brookes (1877-1968), an Australian tennis champion and three-time grand slam singles winner. It was first awarded to Fred Perry at the Australian Championships in 1934, and the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup (Women’s), named after Daphne Akhurst (1903-1933), a five-times singles champion first awarded to Joan Hartigan at the Australian Championships in 1934. Unfortunately, even though the trophies are scheduled to tour Victoria, they were not available on the day.
For further details or to get a 70th Club Championships entry form, members should reach Robin Lowe at email@example.com or on 0418 514 788.
Reigning Open Women’s champion, Jess Board, blasts a backhand drive.