FINDING THE MIDDLE: Matthew Ridden playing in the Gladstone Junior Masters tennis event at Gladstone Tennis and Squash Centre.
FINDING THE MIDDLE: Matthew Ridden playing in the Gladstone Junior Masters tennis event at Gladstone Tennis and Squash Centre. Jake Jones

Junior tennis player on the improve at baseline

MATTHEW Ridden's Gladstone Junior Masters tennis tournament was not highlighted by making a final or winning a trophy.

Instead, the biggest positive he took out of the weekend came from a loss.

Matthew and his partner Noah Bongers played doubles together in what became a combined under-15 and under-17 competition.

For the 15-year-old, playing older kids only gives him more confidence when he performs well.

"It is the challenge and the experience of playing them," he said.

"I just have fun playing tennis, it is a great sport."

Matthew went on to win two and lose two singles matches, meeting the expectations he had entering his third home event.

One of the wins was over his doubles partner, narrowly getting a tie break win.

He also lost a tie break in his first match, very nearly pushing him into the top quarter of players in the tournament.

It is a good lead up to a tournament in Emerald next week, where Matthew has higher ambitions.

The whole process is a pursuit of improvement before Matthew attacks Brisbane tournaments next year.

Between now and then, he also has a lot of coaching to do.

"I help coach the little kids, it is really good for me and my game," he said.

"I love seeing them improve."

Matthew has already played tennis for eight year, and plans on making it a game for life.

"My parents liked watching so I watched it and wanted to start," he said.

"I tried it and I worked out really well."

No Gladstone players were able to win their home singles competitions, players from other central Queensland clubs dominating the courts.



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