Eyes on the prize
ALL the excitement of the state's premier tennis tournament will hit the Central Highlands on Monday, when the Brisbane International trophy rolls into Emerald.
It is Queensland's biggest tennis tournament, and as such, attracts some of the world's top-seeded players including Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams, Kim Clijsters, Ana Ivanovic as well as Australian stars Sam Stosur and Bernard Tomic.
The Emerald visit is a part of statewide blitz connecting regional communities with the tournament's ultimate prize.
Accompanying the trophy is promising Toowoomba junior Josh Banks and doubles teammate Travis Dragojlo.
The pair is well known on the domestic circuit, and will combine again for a one-off doubles exhibition match between two top-ranking local players. A free coaching clinic will also be incorporated into the afternoon.
Tennis Queensland chief executive Cameron Pearson said the tour offered all tennis fans, no matter their location, a chance to get up close with some of tennis's elite.
"The trophy tour has been designed so that all tennis fans around Queensland can feel like they are a part of the Brisbane International even if they can't travel to the event itself," Pearson said.
"Our hope is that they may help inspire the next generation of tennis fans and stars who may one day get the chance to hold the Brisbane International trophies aloft like the stars of today."
Emerald and District Lawn Tennis Association spokesman Glen Vickery said it was exciting times for Central Highlands' tennis players.
Playing numbers are already showing steady growth thanks in part to the strong financial support received from local businesses to promote the sport in the region.
"We've got a few juniors from Capella and Springsure who travel in for our regular fixtures," Vickery said.
Like Pearson, he trusts the trophy's visit will break new ground for tennis in the area.
"Hopefully this will help to boost numbers again in the region," he said.
The trophy's tour will move to Dingo Tennis Club on Tuesday.