Senior players to join juniors at December tennis tournament

SENIOR and junior tennis players will contest Warrnambool Lawn Tennis Club’s December showcase next year.

Club officials have revealed an open-age Australian Money Tournament (AMT) will run alongside the Junior Grasscourt Open in 2013.

Tournament director Sam Baulch announced the changes while celebrating a bumper five days of tennis at the Pertobe Road courts.

He said the two tournaments would attract a combined 350 players to Warrnambool, up from the 280 who contested the junior showcase, which wrapped up on Monday.

“It gives the opportunity for coaches and parents of the under 16s this year who would be too old to come back and play in Warrnambool,” Baulch said.

“They seem to love playing in Warrnambool.”

The double showcase comes courtesy of a date change for the AMT, which typically ran as part of the Warrnambool Open in March.

The Junior Grasscourt Open will also return to being a gold-ranked Optus Junior Tour event, after having a silver ranking in 2012.

“Last year when they (Tennis Australia) brought in the gold requirements, I dropped it down to silver because I didn’t want that cost to the club,” Baulch said.

“I really don’t think players of that age warrant having chair umpires and line umpires from semi-finals on.

“This year they’ve come out and said Tennis Australia would subsidise the cost of it in 2013.

“That’s why we went back and applied for a gold junior and white AMT.”

Baulch hailed the 2012 Junior Grasscourt Open a major success.

He said near-perfect weather combined with a friendly atmosphere sparked positive feedback from players and parents.

Baulch also lauded volunteer support which helped the tournament run smoothly.

“They’re not necessarily committee members, either. They’re club members, which is fantastic, and parents of the juniors, of course, and past members who have come back to help,” he said.

“It all helps. Just the small things like picking up rubbish makes the appearance of the club look neater and tidier and that was what was happening.”

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