Trophy tour inspires tennis hopefuls

A young tennis fan in Emerald.
A young tennis fan in Emerald.

CLOSE to 100 eager tennis followers turned out in Emerald to get a glimpse, and even a hold, of the coveted Brisbane International Tennis trophy.

The trophy, which attracts some of the code's playing elite including Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters was on two-stop tour through the Central Highlands to bring the international tennis scene to the bush.

"They (the fans) were pretty impressed by the weight of it," Emerald Tennis treasurer Glenn Vickery said.

"It's a striking trophy."

But it wasn't just the trophy fans had their eyes on, with two of Australia's best on the domestic circuit in Josh Banks and Travis Dragojlo taking to the court for exhibition matches.

Banks defeated his doubles teammate Dragojlo 6-5 in the singles match, before joining forces to challenge Emerald representatives Dane Charker and Brian Williams in a doubles exhibition match.

Despite a valiant stand by the locals, the game "went to the tourists", Vickery joked.

Tennis Queensland chief executive Cameron Pearson said he hoped the trophy tour would seed the dream for the next generation of tennis stars, while giving players and fans in rural areas a taste of the Brisbane International experience.

Emerald tennis fixtures may have finished for the year but Vickery said the club won't be resting easy, with major changes planned for the courts early next year.

At least seven new courts will constructed, he said, as part of the Rundle Park redevelopment.

"Hopefully it will be finished by mid-March," Vickery said.

Two playing courts will still be available for use when club competition resumes in February next year.

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