Taking on the FlyBe tennis challenge

Sidmouth Tennis Club opened its door to welcome some of Devon’s promising mini tennis youngsters, some of whom had travelled from Torquay, Exeter and Ivybridge to participate.

Mini Tennis Flybe events are run as a separate circuit around Devon and Cornwall with young players tracking their progress on online leaderboards, just like the top players do on the ATP/WTA tours. At the end of the Devon circuit, there will be a Masters final for the top eight players on the leaderboard for Devon and the top eight for Cornwall.

The standard of these events may vary depending upon players’ ratings. This means new or less experienced players will be pitched against similar standard opponents, and more experienced players against their own level. This gives players the opportunity to play competitive tennis and witness different standards in their clubs, as well as the chance to venture out to other clubs around Devon and meet new faces on the court. The result, an enjoyable competitive experience with friends at the appropriate standard.

The Mini Orange event is for 8/9 year olds and The Mini Green is for 10 year olds (depending upon when their birthdays fall). The Green event is played on a normal sized tennis court with green balls and not quite a full sized racket, with the Orange event played on a smaller court, with lower compression orange balls and smaller rackets – equipment geared to the players’ ages.

On Sunday Sidmouth’s Harry Ensall and Eliot King witnessed first hand competitive matches against top Orange 1 and 2 rated players, and, at times, produced some exciting tennis. Well done boys!

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Powerful serving Samuel Hopper from Ivybridge won all his matches, despite the challenges from tough dynamic opponents Jake Upsher and Taylor Ingham-Hill, who both displayed some exciting volleying skills and tactical shots around the court.

Equally important, the remaining Sidmouth players, approximately 50 per cent in both the Green and Orange event, some of whom were playing their first Flybe event, gained some invaluable matchplay experience in between playing swingball with their friends at the side of the court.

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Friendly parents clapped and cheered proudly at the sidelines, whilst these youngsters chased every ball around the court and had a chance to practise their line calling, scoring and tennis etiquette skills. Particular reference must be made to Oliver Truman who won all his matches at this level, in his first ever Flybe event, and to Alex Peacock and Edward Jones who were also new to this series. In the Green ball event, Ben Greatrex from Torquay won all his close matches, despite facing some brotherly rivalry from his twin Joel. Joe Ensall battled through as tops for the local boys in the Green 4 event, winning all his matches. Well done to everyone who took part!

In two week’s time, the local juniors and teenagers will compete against enthusiastic travelling tennis players, as Sidmouth hosts an Open Ratings event for 10, 9 and 8 Division players. Spectators are welcome.

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