Wednesday, 18 September 2013

World Doubles Championship 2013 - Paris


My partner for the 2013 WD Championships was Rich Smith, Head Pro at Newport Rhode Island.
As in my singles we missed out on being the last seed (4 seeded for the WD) and was dealt a tough hand... Drawn to play against the number two seeds Camden Rivière and Tim Chisholm. This was the first time Rich and I had partnered each other in a doubles event. The same can't be said for Cam and Tim as they've won at least a handful of Open doubles championships.

It didn't stop us getting out there and having a bit of fun against very good opponents. We started strongly racing to a 2/0 lead before they got the better of us and ran away with the set, temporarily stalling them getting our 3rd game to stop the rot at 3/5 before losing the 1st set 3/6. We felt we'd played some pretty good doubles but Cam was having a field day hitting winners at will. 
We again were having trouble winning points at the start of the second set. Cam and Tim again, hugely of the racket of Cam, raced to a 1/4 lead before we finally tried our hardest to keep Cam out of the play. We were now trying to hit to Tim at almost every opportunity (no disrespect as Tim is a great player and had beaten Bryn in the quarter finals and was due to face Cam the following day in the semi final) and we had results almost immediately as we clawed back to 4/4 before losing two close games to fall behind 0-2 in sets.
We now had some momentum and we took it and ran racing to a 5/2 lead in the 3rd set having more luck winning points at the hazard end with both of us forcing well. Cam and Tim definitely didn't want to be forced into a 4th set by two guys ranked quite a few places below them and that's exactly what we did. Taking the 3rd set 6/5 after being forced to win a deuce game at 5/5 which was very exciting.
Although we couldn't find the same rhythm and we couldn't stop Cam and Tim taking the 4th set 0/6 to put up a very good fight going down 3/6 4/6 6/5 0/6.

On a personal note I was dealt a tough draw in the French Open singles drawing number 3 seed Steve Virgona and drawn against the number 2 seeds in the World doubles. Matches in the past have been easy(ish) wins for opponents of that quality. I/we taking a set in each match against such tough opponents.

I now move my attention onto the European Open at MCC on Sunday 6th October at 1pm where I face Bryn Sayers in the 1st round which is a repeat of last years tournament. I will be looking to add to my performances here in Paris. Following the European we head straight up to Manchester for the IRTPA Championships where I have been seeded 6th and face fellow aussie Andrew Fowler on Thursday 10th October at 2pm. Draws for the upcoming tournaments can be found at


Saturday, 14 September 2013

French Open singles 2013 - Paris


And we're off and running into another my 4th season since moving to the UK. Kicking off with the Super Series at the start of the week I travelled to Paris the following day Tuesday 10th.

I got straight into some practice and before playing my 1st match I had been able to get 5 hours on the very bouncy Paris court.

My draw just about couldn't be any harder whilst just missing out on being seeded at number 8 by 1 place I was drawn to play number 3 seed Steve Virgona. 
A challenge to say the least but I also had some unfinished business here at Paris against Steve. Two years ago, the last time I played on this court and against Steve, I was chasing as I am now to win a set off one of the top 5 players in the world. Two years ago I found myself with 3 set points in the 3rd set only to stretch into the F/H corner at the service end on the 3rd of said set points to tear my hamstring and end the match right then and there.

Last night Friday 13th non the least I went on court at 6pm to face Steve. I went in with a game plan which I've become more attentive to planning for. 
I couldn't of started better suffocating Steve with my railroad and playing a very smart floor game only going for a target when it was the obvious shot and having great success. I had a number of 'lucky' flush backwalls but I believe in sport especially when you're playing positively and playing well you make you're own luck. I took the 1st set 6/1 in quite quick time. I started the 2nd set strongly and went 3/2 up although Steve was now starting to respond as good players do. I had my chances in so many games but couldn't take them as you have to when playing at the top level. 3/6 and 1 set all. I kept at my game plan and again had chances to win games but couldn't capitalise. I was having the most trouble all match on keeping down the service end with Steve happy to hit a gallery on the 1st loose ball off my racket. 3/6 and down 1-2 in sets. Steve really got a head of steam and I panicked in few rallies and gave him time and space to hit a number of Grilles and Dedans and when Steve is up and running few can stop him. 6/1 3/6 3/6 0/6

A lot of positives to be taken out of this match! being able to take a set 6/1 off a player of Steve's calibre is no mean feet. It took him until the 4th set and after two hours of tennis for him to have it the way he would of wanted from the outset.

Doubles is next up on Monday 16th at 6pm which is actually the World Doubles Championship rather than the French open doubles. My partner is Rich Smith from Newport plays off about a 2 handicap and again we have missed out on being seeded 4th by 1 place with only 4 seeds in a 8 team draw and have been unlucky being drawn against the very tough pairing of Camden Rivière and Tim Chisholm. The 1st time Rich and I have partnered up and look forward to the challenge of taking on two great players.



Playbrave Super Series


It has been a while since my last update. Between the completion of the British Challenge and now I have been away in Australia for two weeks for my little sisters wedding - Which was an amazing day! I along with dad walked her down the aisle and I also made a speech at the reception. 
We at RTC said good by to the 'King'. Stef will be missed by many and I personally hope that his move into teaching is a successful one. We have since said hello to Josh Smith who has come in as a trainee Pro which has meant I've moved into Stef's shoes (and vacated apartment) as senior Pro. Josh is a very good acquisition to the team at RTC and I hope he enjoys working in the game of Real Tennis for many years to come.

Now about the title 'Playbrave Super Series'.
Is an exciting new concept dreamt up by the ever forward thinking Ben Matthews. Ben and I played as a team sponsored by The Dedanists a few season's back in the Premier Division offering our home matches to other clubs to try and give the game of Real Tennis some exposure to clubs who don't get to see top line tennis. We played our home matches at RTC, Manchester, Moreton Morrell and Bridport.
With crowd support down at every club other than RTC for the Premier Division and the usual suspects less keen on the idea of playing National League and a few young guys still a little time from playing Premier Division Ben has come up with Playbrave Super Series.
The top 4 tournament playing Pro's currently in the UK (minus Rob Fahey) representing ourselves and offering out the matches to all clubs in a similar way as mentioned by Ben and I as The Dedanists.
Bryn Sayers, Ben Matthews, Ricardo Smith and myself are the 4 players and on any given night there will be two 10 game set singles matches and a doubles but only the singles counting towards the overall prize.
Playbrave is the same brand that supported the British Challenge back in June and I thank them for their new and ongoing support of Real Tennis.

The 1st of these nights was held at Prested Hall on Monday 9th September. I kicked off proceedings against Ben in a tight tussle with Ben just getting his nose in front and taking the match 6/10. It's by far the best I've played on the strange Prested Hall glass backwalled court and first outing for the season so was very happy to blow out the cobwebs.
Next up was Ricardo taking on Bryn in an exciting match in front of Ricardo's loyal supporters who made a lot of noise when there boy went 6/2 up and held on to win 10/9. 
Bryn and I teamed up for the doubles to take on Ben/Ricardo in what felt like a very entertaining doubles with them just pipping us 10/7.
In the spirit of history of our great game I do believe at least for the singles there were a few wages placed by a select few of the vocal crowd.... 

The next match in the Playbrave Super Series is to be held at Leamington on the 1st November. A list of the confirmed dates can be found via the National League website at