THE region’s best two players will spearhead Wodonga’s assault on Victorian Country Week.
More than 1000 players have entered the tournament, that starts today at the Wodonga Tennis Centre and Kelly Park.
In one of the best Border teams assembled for the annual amateur teams event, Mark Shanahan and Jade Culph will anchor the Wodonga team in the A-grade men.
The star-studded outfit will be captained by Shanahan’s brother-in-law Cameron Meagher, and will also include Brandon Vescio, Edward Benson and American Teddy Burchett.
In an embarrassment of riches, Benson and Vescio are the only team members who aren’t full-time professional tennis coaches.
Meagher, the Wodonga Tennis Centre head coach, said anything less than a semi-final appearance would be seen as a disappointment.
“We expect to make the finals and see how it goes from there,” the 36-year-old said yesterday.
“It’s a pretty good team.
“Ed is at school so he will play an afternoon session.”
Meagher, Shanahan, Culph and Vescio will play most of the week, with Shanahan and Culph to form a lethal doubles partnership.
Meagher said combinations would change, depending on form and coaching commitments.
“Getting the partnerships right is the key,” he said.
“We will start with Mark and Jade and they should be pretty handy together.”
The five-day event was last held in Wodonga in 2009, with the Wodonga team of Shanahan, Meagher, Paddy Landy and Troy Smith losing its A-grade semi-final to Mud Island by just five games.
Shanahan and Culph will enter the tournament in form, with Shanahan helping coach rising Australian professional Matt Ebden and Culph winning both the Margaret Court Cup and Victorian grasscourt titles this summer.
Meagher said the event was a coup for the Border.
“It’s massive for the town and great for the club,” Meagher said.
“Whenever it comes to Wodonga we like to get a team.
“We like to support it while it’s here.
“We’ve never been to Swan Hill, it might change if we win it (this week).”