The Border’s bumper tennis action continues with the Victorian Junior Grasscourt Championships.
The four-day event started in Wodonga on Wednesday, following the Margaret Court Cup.
“This is massive for Wodonga, 330 entrants, it’s probably not the size of the tournament that makes it so big for Wodonga, it’s more the people that come,” tournament director Michael Robin said.
“So we’ve got groups from Japan, we’ve got a Fiji contingent, Northern Territory, there’s a group that comes from Albany, about 30 kids from Western Australia.
“It’s not just a matter of us just picking up all the locals playing in a big event, we’ve got an international contingent here, which is massive for the event.”
There’s five age divisions, ranging from under 10s, through to opens.
The national points event carries a gold rating, which is the second-highest behind platinum.
“Our top seeds in most of the events are in the top 100, 200 in Australia, so that’s a really good standard,” Robin said.
“Cody Brackenreg will be hard to beat in the men’s, he’s been here before and Linda Huang in the women’s, she’s going to be very tough to beat on grass.”
The open women’s has 30 entries, with Wollongong’s Sonja Balic the number two seed.
The men’s, meantime, has 56 competitors, with Melbourne Matthew Leffler expected to be Brackenreg’s main challenger.
Wangaratta’s Patrick Rynsaardt is the leading local contender, along with Brock Dixon.
Qualifying for the main draw started on Wednesday, with the main singles draw set down for Thursday morning.
Robin says the international players add variety for the Border and North East competitors.
“It’s really good, opens them up to not just playing with their own people they play with every single day,” he said.
Most of the travelling people asked to be paired with people outside their group, so they’re with different people, different nationalities.
“We all get a bit of a cultural education every January, it’s really good, it’s something that is just impossible to replicate.”
The semi-finals in singles are scheduled for Saturday morning, weather pending, with the finals to follow.
The doubles finals will then be held that afternoon.
The tournament forms the second leg of the Border’s biggest tennis period.
The Margaret Court Cup finished on Tuesday, with tournament director Phil Shanahan calling it the highest standard in its history.
Many of the competitors are now contesting the grasscourt titles.