Gladstone's Nathan Cooke.
Gladstone's Nathan Cooke. Mike Richards

Strong home contingent at junior tennis open

ONE hundred juniors will serve up a storm at Gladstone Tennis Centre this weekend, all vying to be the champion of the two-day Gladstone Junior Tennis Open.

Entries have flooded in from all around central Queensland, but local coach Rob McBean said locals would be as strong as players travelling from any other area to compete.

He said one name in particular to look out for was Nathan Cooke.

Cooke has had recent success playing in Emerald and Hervey Bay in the Junior Development Series, of which the Gladstone tournament is a part.

"Nathan won the 15 and 17 age group in Emerald," McBean said.

The young talent will be one of about 20 Gladstone players taking part in the tournament.

Ranging from the age of 10 through to 17, the tournament is a great breeding ground for Gladstone players looking to expand their horizons.

In fact, a number of juniors are making debuts in tournament tennis, trying to follow in Cooke's footsteps.

"Some of the guys are favourites and seeded highly in their events," McBean said.

"There are a few kids making debuts as well."

Nominations are still slowly filing in for the event, which is attracting players from Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Hervey Bay, Emerald and a few from other associations.

Beginning on Saturday at 8am, Gladstone's best will be out to stamp home the local advantage and pick up ranking points towards the Development Series.

Many of the players may even take the chance to try and win a double, playing either two age groups or teaming up for doubles.

"Some of the older boys will only play singles and play two age grounds," McBean said.

"There are ranking points for the Junior Development Series."

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