The tournament is over and was a roaring success. Great tennis, good crowds and successful events.
I would like to thank Head Professional Brett McFarlane for all the work that went into running a smooth tournament, with help from Zak Eadle and those who assisted me on the organising committee: Al Ramsay, Graeme Bradfield, Elizabeth Eden, John Ramsay and Nikki Millard. Thanks also to Justin Legg for court preparation and John Moores, John Herbert for helping with the streaming.
Duff TV provided an excellent service and will be providing match highlights from the Aus Open which we will make available to all members.
We will be hosting the tournament again in another four years, and will look forward to supporting the other host clubs in the meantime.
Billets Accommodated Jan 1-8
Thank you Elizabeth Eden for organising billets. She has written:
A great big thank you is extended to HRTC members who hosted visitors for the Australian Open. Billeting is a wonderful reciprocal feature of the Real Tennis international community, and this tournament was no exception. with Hobart’s usual warm hospitality extended to guests from the UK, the USA, France and mainland Australia. To give an idea of just how much accommodation is provided, it totalled up to a whopping 150+ “visitor nights” this time, and the billets (mostly players, but a few spectators) have been very appreciative of the welcome provided by those who have hosted this time:
Graeme Bradfield and Gaye Mitchell, John and Sue Davis, Julianne Drewitt, Elizabeth Eden and Peter Middleton, John and Di Howard, Stephen and Jeanette Pinkus, Cas and Ros Pitt, Helen and Jeremy Rackham, Biz and Ian Ritchard, Peter and Susan Scollard, and Christine Stirling.
Thank you all.
The world’s greatest ever player, Rob Fahey, took on aspiring world challenger Chris Chapman in the Open Singles Final of the Australian Open 2018. The match featured controlled serving and returning from both players and for the first time in this tournament a player (Rob) aggressively attacked the small Hobart grille. Whilst Chris was competitive in every quarter Rob managed to win the important points. As Chris Chapman later said ‘there was little more he could have done to change the course of the game’. Two of the world’s best players presented such high quality tennis that the crowd were suitably awestruck at the event.
The women’s final exemplified the quality and standard of the best women’s player, Claire Fahey. Whilst Saskia Bollerman played nearly flawless length and driving Claire had an answer for every shot, even when Saskia delivered almost unreturnable forces Claire managed to stay in the point and comprehensively finish the points off at early opportunity. Saskia clearly showed she is a player to watch demonstrated by her lovely grille forces.
Local players McFarlane/Boyles were always going to struggle against the formidable pair of Rob Fahey/Nick Howell. The players who have known each other for many years invoked a friendly atmosphere in the game. There were many long rests with all players exhibiting their retrieving ability. (6/1 6/1 6/3)
Jo See Tan was unlucky to be serving her generally regarded difficult left-handed railroad to the top seeds Fahey/Bollerman. Against any other the pair it would have caused some difficulty, but not these two and the Tan/Candy duo could find little in their armoury to trouble the top seeds. (6/0 6/0)
The hard driving pair of Rosedale/Woods-Casey did not overly trouble the very experienced pair of Chapman/Booth. Paul Rosedale showed remarkable volleying skills at the net and whilst winning some amazing points the duo struggled to put together enough points to win games. (6/0 6/1 6/2)
The relatively new players, Hobart pair Rackham/Lunnon, had a spirited match against the very talented UK pair of Dublish/Garside. Junior Jess Garside displayed great volleying consistency and was well supported by Irina’s floor play. (6/1 6/0)
The women’s first semi-final saw top seed Claire Fahey play UK Junior Jess Garside. In an exhibition of controlled hitting and no requirement for forcing Claire demonstrated her floor shot abilities. Jess played determinedly and managed to win the first game of the second set to her delight. (6/0 6/1)
The second match saw the eagerly awaited battle between the world’s greatest ever player, Rob Fahey, and the world’s best amateur Kieran Booth. The first set was a tight forceful affair with Rob managing to win the important points and long fast rallies to the enjoyment of the crowd. The second set saw Kieran play more forcefully than Rob and take a 4/1 lead. Rob from the receiver’s end steadied and commenced to play Kieran’s backhand, which drew some errors. In an unusual strategy Rob stayed at the receiver’s end and drew back to 4/4. He then returned to his attacking style and closed out the set 6/4. In the final set Rob maintained a narrow lead of 1 to 2 games to take out the match. (6/4 6/4 6/4).
In the second men’s semi-final the in-form Nick Howell took on world number 4 Chris Chapman. The quick retrieving ability of Nick in the first two sets gave Chris little chance of putting the ball away and before Nick could believe it he was two sets to love in the lead. In a tense beginning to the third set Chris managed at 2 all to finally take a game lead and Nick lost the highly accurate forceful play that had won him the first two sets. He started to hit the tape and penthouses and in a dramatic reversal Chris took the next two sets identically to Nick’s first two (6/2 6/2) for the match to be level at the end of the fourth set. In the fifth set Chris continued his winning way and despite a huge tussle for the vital seventh game he went to a 5/2 lead. In another complete reversal Nick rediscovered his earlier game and clawed back to 5 all for a cliff-hanger finish at 30 all 5 all, with Chris serving for the match. In the second last point Chris saved a main wall boast and proceeded to serve a fault giraffe serve for the match point. His second serve, a bobble, managed to clip the bandeau and Nick could not return it. The match ended with equal games of 22 each, but Chris going through to the finals. (2/6 2/6 6/2 6/2 6/5).
In the women’s second semi-final the second seed, Saskia Bollerman, was pressed early in both sets by Irina Dublish with a great display of floor play by both players, however Saskia’s well timed forces were the decisive factor to allow her to take each set. The standard was exceptionally high with few errors and long rallies, which bellied the fact that both players were suffering some illness. The evening crowd enjoyed the match immensely. (6/4 6/2)
In a very tight internationally flavoured doubles the Hobart Tennis Club Champion teamed up with the French Champion Matthieu Sarlangue to take on Hobart’s Brett McFarlane/Pete Boyles. In a very tight first set the Hobart team managed to get just over the line with some hard forcing causing a few errors by Mattieu and Al. The second set followed a similar course with a high standard of tennis and good forcing penalising any loose shots. The performance of Al and Matthieu was credit worthy in that it was the first time they had played together and this probably allowed a slightly lesser ranked pair to succeed. ( 6/5 6/3 6/3)
Paul Rosedale/John Woods Casey from Melbourne teamed up well against Graeme Hyland/Greg Kerin from Hobart to solidly defeat them. Graham Hyland showed why he is recognised as one of the best doubles players in the game with his fast returns and at times unreturnable serves. Greg supported well but the youthful pair were too fast and accurate in the end (6/2 6/3 6/0).
In an all Hobart match Helen Rackham and Becca Lunnon, two new and talented players, played two experienced players, Karen Toates and Julianne Drewitt in the closest match of the tournament so far. With an equally divided and vocal crowd support, Julianne and Karen took advantage of all their opportunities but the determined younger pair eventually ran out winners. Towards the end of the match Julianne’s full PK serve caused some issues to the less experienced pair but they managed to get the service and close out the match. (6/1 4/6 6/4).
Rob Fahey and Nick Howell played controlled superior doubles against Claire Fahey and Zak Eadle to move through to the second round. Claire and Zak came close to taking a set of the highly ranked doubles pair. (6/3 6/5 6/1)
The pair of international professionals, Rod McNaughton and Andrew Fowler, put up a good fight against Chris Chapman and Kieran Booth, and while the score does not reflect how close some of the games went, ultimately Rod and Andrew did not have any answers to the very experienced hard hitting pair. (6/2 6/1 6/3)
Two strong UK based players, Irina Dublish and Isabel Candy, started Day 3 of play. Irina’s hard low and accurate floor shots made is difficult for Isabel to find a rhythm. Isabel was unable to find the openings that she could the previous day but she played above her handicap. Irina consistently served tightly and whenever pressure points presented themselves she managed to find a winning dedans or the base of the grill. (6/3 6/2)
Pete Boyles continued his good form into his match with Chris Chapman however it was difficult to make inroads into the top four ranked professional. Pete’s normally winning drives were continually returned even when Pete resorted to the first tambour boast seen at this tournament. Chris showed that he was on form and properly ranked as second seed of this tournament with a near faultless display of controlled tennis. (6/0 6/1 6/0)
The next match between Nick Howell and Zak Eadle saw the fastest paced match of the tournament so far. Zak showed that he would have to be one of the hardest hitters in the world but some drives hitting above the dedan penthouse to land back on the wrong side of the net. Nick appears to be the fittest player of this tournament as he ran down every hard drive and kept the ball in play and pressure on Zak. In the twilight of the third set Nick slightly lifted his foot off the throttle and Zak showed he is going to be a formidable presence by taking 3 games in a row before Nick closed out the match. (6/1 6/1 6/4)
The recently returned to Australia professional, Andrew Fowler, struggled to keep up with the long rallies and effective forcing of Kieran Booth on his original court. Andrew showed flairs of brilliance however Kieran’s tight giraffe serve restricted Andrew from finding any real form. Kieran’s form puts Rob Fahey on notice that the men’s semi-final will not be a one-way affair. (6/1 6/0 6/3)
In what proved to be the match of the tournament so far the youthful French champion Matthieu Sarlangue, kept the world’s greatest player, Rob Fahey, honest by punishing anything loose and requiring Rob on several occasions to step up to top gear. The match showed some vintage Rob Fahey forces and volley at very important times to close out the sets. (6/4 6/3 6/3).
Hobart Women’s Champion Kate Brown played one of the UK ‘s rising juniors, Jess Garside. Jess used her superior fitness to her advantage and her controlled ground strokes made it difficult for Kate to win many games. Kate’s knowledge of the court and more forceful game kept her in the match and resulted in a credible performance (6/2 6/3)
Hobart’s newest Professional, Zak Eadle, took on one of the Clubs best amateurs, ex professional Tony Blom. Zak’s tight and quick paced game managed to nullify the Club’s best left handed railroad, and although the games were tight Zak came through a comfortable winner. (6/1 6/26/2)
The first of the women’s matches saw the Club President, Christine Stirling, playing bravely against the US Women’s Champion Saskia Bollerman. However, Christine had no answers for the consistent accuracy of Saskia. (6/0 6/0)
One of the matches of the day saw the recently returned, highly rated, Karen Toates, playing the Hobart Women’s Champion, Kate Brown. In the first set Kate seemed to be having it all her own way and went to a 5/3 lead before Karen determinedly came back to a gripping 5 all deuce game. Kate closed out the set with two forces then went on to win the second set and the match (6/5 6/1).
Claire Fahey, Women’s World Champion, in the next match showed why she is clearly the number one seed as she clinically dispatched Hobart’s newest and talented women’s recruit, Helen Rackham. (6/0 6/0)
In the highly anticipated tussle between Bathurst Cup team mates Paul Rosedale (Melbourne) and Pete Boyles (Hobart) the first set did not live up to expectations as Paul appeared nervous and made several mistakes. The second set was completely different as the games went with serves and Paul battled his was back from 5/3 down to 5 all 30 all before Pete made an unbelievable return off the tambour to regain the serve and clinch the set. The third set initially followed serves but Pete managed to keep the serve and win the set convincingly. (6/1 6/5 6/2)
In the last match played in front of a boisterous cocktail party crowd, Jo See Tan (Melbourne), played Isabel Candy (UK). Jo See had trouble landing her very fast left handed railroad and Isabel chased down those that landed. Isabel continued to play tightly which restricted Jo See from being able to force any winners. The crowd enjoyed the match which was tighter than the scores suggest. (6/1 6/1)
Claire Fahey & Helen Rackham
Jo See Tan & Isabel Candy
Saskia Bollerman & Christine Stirling