Leading Gladstone men?s tennis player Stan Tummon plays mostly for fun and fitness.
Leading Gladstone men?s tennis player Stan Tummon plays mostly for fun and fitness.

Broken nose kicked off Stan?s tennis career

By CRAIG ROSScraigr@gladstoneobserver.com.au

IT COULD not be often said that a broken nose has helped launch an impressive tennis career but it happens to be the case for Gladstone's top male tennis player Stan Tummon.

Stan first picked up a racquet at the age of 12 when, after twice breaking his nose when performing junior soccer goalkeeping duties, he decided to follow his dad Len down to the Gladstone District Tennis Association courts.

After discovering a penchant for being able to hit the ball hard it took a time for him to learn that restraint was also a necessary part of the game.

However, with that lesson finally learnt, and with the help of coaching lessons started with Ken Hick at the age of 14, Stan advanced from third division to first division competition within the space of six months. Stan's talents lifted him on to the satellite tour and he was then able to share his knowledge after spending six years coaching with the Ken Hick Tennis School. 'I still meet a lot of people I used to coach,' Stan says.

'I loved coaching, but at the time the money was not there and I got offered another job with better money.

'But it was a great job. I got to meet people and hit balls all day. That's when I was playing at my best.'

In what can only be considered bad news for Stan but good news for his Wednesday night fixtures opponents, shoulder injuries now prevent him from unleashing the power game for which he was well-known in Gladstone. At the age of 29, winning is no longer his only focus.

'I just play now for fun and fitness since I hurt my shoulder,' he says.

'I can't play full-on without worrying about my shoulder. It's kind of scary because I know that if I do go full-on and mishit, I could do some serious damage so everything is now three-quarter pace.'

While that may be the case, anyone who has managed to get to break-point on one of Stan's service games knows that he can still send a first serve (and second for that matter) down at a rapid rate of knots.

'Every now and then I can go for a big serve but I know that I can't do it day in, day out like I used to,' he says.

And while fun and fitness may have taken priority, Stan's competitive streak still remains as he eyes off one more challenge.

'I just want to beat Ken's record,' he says. "I want to get my name on the (Gladstone Closed Championships) board more than he did ... I've got to be getting close.'

Although not at his peak, Tummon has dominated the GDTA men's tennis scene for the past five years, winning four club championships in the past five years ? missing his chance at a clean sweep when an elbow injury kept him out three years ago.

He laments the fact that tennis in Gladstone is not as strong as it was as little as five years ago, pointing to the likes of his predecessors as top dog such as Glen Vickery and Paul Hickey.

'It's just dying in Gladstone. There's some good juniors but it's not like when we played years ago when it was a high standard all the way through,' Stan says.

'I think there's now more opportunities for kids to do more things. We only had a few sports like tennis to play but now they try a whole lot of different things.'

He says only two of his current clubmates, Peter Kammholz and Brendan War-wick, provide a challenge for him and hoped promising juniors would soon prop up the ranks.

Despite the drop in top-flight players in town, Stan was impressed with the talent on display at the 2005 Gladstone Open Hardcourt Tennis Championships which concluded on Monday.

'The guys are hitting the ball harder and they're faster and a lot more serious, working out in the gym, swimming and doing sprint work,' he says.

Listening to him, you get the feeling he would have liked to measured himself against them when in his hey-day. He admits to briefly harbour-ing a desire to step into the professional ranks, but that was before injury put paid to that dream.

However, he can still look back on his success in Gladstone and a career highlight in Brisbane as evidence of a fine career.

His highpoint, he says, was winning the Coca-Cola Classic 17-and-under singles and doubles events in the one year.

A Gladstone boy, born and bred, Stan says he never felt the inclination to journey to Brisbane or other major centres as many of his friends of youth did.

'I liked the idea that I could get on a (motor) bike and ride wherever I wanted on weekends,' the enduro fan says.

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