League’s return serves up top talent

The Gippsland Tennis Association has resumed after a seven-year absence with matches played across the region.

The competition will pit top players from seven teams against each other in regular competition, including Morwell, Bairnsdale, Inverloch, Sale, Traralgon TRFM, Traralgon WIN TV and Traralgon AGL.

One of the spearheads behind the revival of the league is Traralgon Tennis Club head coach Graham Charlton.

He said the competition was revived on the back of players’ desire to see the competition return.

“What happened was the Gippsland Tennis Association hasn’t operated in seven years, mainly because the standards of towns’ clubs had really dropped,” Charlton said.

“Traralgon has always been very, very strong so we created our own competition in Traralgon to keep the standard up.

“There’s a lot of good play in Gippsland and they knew of our competition and they asked to play in it.”

He said as players got older some wanted to represent their home towns and the competition was reborn.

“Inverloch(‘s team) was young blokes who played in Traralgon,” Charlton said.

“They’re now good enough to lead their town, it’s culminated in the competition coming back again.”

Traralgon TRFM team consisting of Josh Charlton, Gerrard Farrell and Todd Eliott, defeated Inverloch at Traralgon, winning two singles and three doubles matches to take a five rubbers to one victory over their opponents.

Inverloch’s Jack Clements defeated Josh Charlton 7-6, 6-4 to claim his first victory over Charlton in 16 encounters.

Traralgon AGL defeated Traralgon WIN TV, four rubbers to two.

Traralgon AGL’s Justin Hough and Darrell Higgenbotham were too strong for Aaron Valenzuela and Hugh Dunbar in the doubles, winning 6-2, 6-2 to win the day, two rubbers to one.

Meanwhile, Morwell travelled to Sale where they won all three rubbers.

The highlight of the match came when Morwell’s Tristan Salerno and Brayden O’Connell won the doubles 6-4, 6-3 over their more fancied opponent.

Charlton said the competition provided Gippsland players an opportunity to face high quality competition without travelling too far.

“Saturday tennis in general is a very complex issue for aspiring tennis players with the struggle of distance and standard and expense, and this competition really provides an avenue to play in their hometown without having to travel to Melbourne or interstate to find the standard required to become as good as you want to be,” he said.