Mudgee’s tennis club is thriving.
That’s the view of head tennis coach Nathan Wilkins as both 2015 junior and adult summer competitions are well under way.
Wilkins said 2015 was a milestone for the club as for the first time in a couple of years Mudgee had reformed its junior competition.
“It’s very exciting. We’ve built up a base over the past year or so where kids are competent enough to sustain a junior competition. It has been a work in progress but really good to see something get off the ground,” he said.
“We’ve got 27 kids playing in the competition but we’ve only got the eight courts we can use so there’s a bye team. There’s eight teams of three that play week-in week-out but it’s good to have the bye team as they be reserves and it’s really good to have that depth.”
Children are supporting the local competition played in a popular team format and Wilkins said it offered variety.
“We’re incorporating the fast four format – where’s it the first four games with a short deuce – so each kid will play a singles match against their respective grade and they’ll also play a couple of doubles matches with the first to four, short deuce format,” he said.
Many of the juniors have picked up how to score and umpire their own matches too.
“They watch TV but they also watch mum and dad as well. It’s a bit awkward the scoring system in tennis, I don’t know the origins if it, but a lot of the older kids help out,” Wilkins said.
And already the competition is showing interest across all age groups.
“I think there is year two and year three kids playing in the competition and we go up to year seven in the top grade,” Wilkins said.
“It gives a bit of a pathway for the younger ones and the older ones can be a leader in the teams.
“If we keep growing we may have to split it up in to a couple of divisions across a couple of days. It’s really good to see that depth.”
On Monday afternoon two of the four junior matches were decided by one game.
“The tennis club in general is pumping. Monday through to Thursday all courts are being used at night. When kids see mum and dad play they obviously they can beat them and want to step up too. It’s a good family sport tennis,” he said.
Wilkins also thanked Candice Stott for her organisation and support of the junior competition.
Team Serena (Lachie, Anthea and Elkie) def. Team Stosur (Jack, Tom and Pierson) 18-17; Team Murray (Joe, Will S and John) def. Team Djokovic (Will W, Mia and Charlotte) 19-18; Team Bouchard (Bailee, Sam and Tom K) def. Team Hewitt (Imogen, Fletcher and Charlie) 22-17; Team Sharapova (Tasmin, Lewis and Jock) def. Team Federer (Maguire, Steven and Mackensie) 18-16.