'Amazing' response to revamped tournament
TENNIS: After Ipswich's major tournament attracted nearly 300 entries and hosted more than 460 matches, all indications are it will return stronger next year.
Top Tennis Academy director Lincoln Remar was among those confident the revamped format and better exposure would ensure the annual Ipswich Open Age Championships would be back in 2019.
With valuable support from Wallace Bishop and the Ipswich City Council this year, the championships were staged over four consecutive days, rather than two split weekends.
Remar said that proved a successful approach, along with live streaming the matches. He said more than 250 people were watching games at different stages.
"It went really well. The tournament was a big hit,'' Remar said.
"It will definitely continue.''
But most important for organisers and players was the state of the courts at the George Alder Tennis Centre.
"The biggest part of the tournament is the clay courts have to hold up,'' he said.
Remar said they did, highlighted on the first day. The courts were used 16 hours for warm-up and matches during junior and senior competition.
Another "monster'' program continued on Sunday, leading into the major open competition on Monday and Tuesday.
"Everyone kept saying how amazing the courts are,'' he said.
Eight tons of clay were added to meet the demands of a major tournament.
However, Remar said one lesson for the future was rolling the clay more over the back parts of the court. This is due to the top open men's and women's players using a wider section of the clay surface.
In the AMT Men's singles final, Gavin Van Peperzeel beat sixth seed Arjun Mehrotra 6-0, 6-1 in one hour, 18 minutes.
Peperzeel is favoured to win Tennis Queensland's King of Clay series after his Ipswich success.
The AMT Women's singles final was won by top seed Alicia Smith. She overcame Junior Fed Cup squad member and second seed Olivia Gadecki 6-2, 6-3 in one hour, 34 minutes.
Gadecki backed up in the women's doubles final that evening, teaming with Elizabeth James to claim the title after opponents Sara Nayar and Uma Nayar retired just two games into the clash.
Ipswich-based world champion and second seed Archie Graham won the latest Special Singles title after a series of impressive performances.
He was named Queensland Times Senior Sportsperson of the Year at the 2017 City of Ipswich Sports Awards having retained his world number one ranking the past three years for players with an intellectual disability.
AMT Men's singles final (seed in brackets): Gavin Van Peperzeel (1) def Arjun Mehrotra (6) 6-0, 6-1.
AMT Women's singles final: Alicia Smith (1) def Olivia Gadecki (2) 6-2, 6-3.
AMT Women's doubles final: Olivia Gadecki (2)/Elizabeth James def Sara Nayar (3)/Uma Nayar 2-0, retired.
AMT Men's doubles final: Louis Clark (2)/ Patrick James Matthew Coates-Beadman def Patrick Harper (4)/Sam Oster 6-3, 6-1.