Albury Easter Tournament greats to return for centenary

FOUR days of top-class tennis will be a fitting centenary celebration for the Albury Easter Tournament.

Organisers at the Albury Tennis Association are bracing themselves for a “huge” event, with numbers of entries up from recent years.

“To keep a tournament going for 100 years takes a lot of work from a lot of volunteers,” president Ken Wurtz said.

Wurtz said the tournament had a proud history to uphold.

“Back in the earlier days it must have been one of the main tournaments around,” he said.

“A lot of the winners in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s were Davis Cup players.”

But the region won’t miss out this year, with some of the biggest names in Australian tennis set to attend the Albury Easter Open’s 100th anniversary dinner at the Commercial Club.

The dinner will be held this Saturday and guests will include former Davis Cup player Rex Hartwig, Dianne Fromholtz Balestrat, Allan Stone, Tennis NSW vice-president Mick Parslow and former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer.

Albury Tennis secretary Sandra Rouvray said 290 entries had been received for the open, the largest number for years.

“In the open men there are 60 players,” she said.

“But the biggest increase is in the open ladies, which has doubled to 30 entrants.

“The 18s events are also up as players are competing for bronze level points.”

Wurtz said it was going to be hard to pick a winner as the region’s best take on all comers.

“Jade Culph is going pretty good at the moment and he won it last year,” he said.

“He was beaten in Wodonga recently so he’s probably hoping to get revenge on that.”

Culph also missed out on a hat-trick of Margaret Court Cup crowns when he lost to Brisbane ace Josh Barrenechea.

The first Easter tournament was played in 1910 with men’s singles, doubles and mixed doubles, with ladies doubles introduced the following year and the singles in 1915.

The tournament was suspended for two years due to World War I before play resumed at Parish courts around Albury.

Some of the greats have taken part in the Albury tournament include John Bromwich, Neale Fraser, Ashley Cooper, Owen Davidson, Janet Young, Lesley Turner, Dianne Fromholtz, Evonne Goolagong and Margaret Smith-Court.