According to one enthusiastic spectator ‘The first day of play in the Australian Open showed that the future of Real Tennis is happily assured. While six players go through to the quarter finals, the real winners today were the tiny tots, toddlers and not-quite-so-little-ones of the Fowler, Booth, Ramsay and Fahey families, who, for some of the day’s matches, heartily out-vocalised the enthusiastic dedans crowds.’ This showed the family friendly atmosphere of the Club.
The first round kicked off with the oldest player in the tournament, Graham Hyland, the experienced retired professional from Hobart played the tournament number two seed Chris Chapman. For the first four games Hyland showed that he is still a match for any player in the world with aggressive returns and tight serving before the tides of time led to him falling away. (6/2 6/1 6/0)
The young Melbourne tennis pro John Woods-Casey took it to Andrew Fowler in the next match. John showed good determination and control with tight play making Andrew step up a notch. The match was certainly closer than the scores suggest. (6/0 6/1 6/1)
Next followed what promised to be the Match of the Day with the two Parisiennes matched with similar handicaps. In a tight first set Matthieu Sarlangue managed to win the big points for a 6/3 result. He continued in this form to take the match. (6/3 6/2 6/3)
Nick Howell played a very professional game to comfortably overcome the Hobart Tennis Club Champion Al Ramsay in straight sets. The match showed lots of hard hitting with many winning openings. (6 6/1 6/0)
The highly awaited match between Hobart’s Head Professional Brett McFarlane and Hobart’s best amateur export, Kieran Booth commanded a big crowd. Despite the sets being tight in the beginning Kieran’s experienced match play showed why he is an undefeated Bathurst Cup Captain. (6/3 6/1 6/1)
The best ever handicapped female player, and the first women to qualify for the Australian Open on merit, Claire Fahey was unfortunate to meet the top seed of the tournament and real tennis legend her husband Rob Fahey in the first round. It was good to see the world’s best female player under pressure and getting a credible result. (6/3 6/46/3)