The Centralian advocate Fri 2 Jun 2006
Centralian Advocate; NewspaperNT
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Community newspapers; Northern Territory; Alice Springs; Tennant Creek (N.T.); Newspapers; Alice Springs (N.T.); Australia, Central
Nationwide News Pty. Limited
v. 60 no. 3
Copyright. Made available by the publisher under licence.
Nationwide News Pty. Limited
Centralian Advocate, Friday, June 2, 2006 59 PU B : C A D V D A T E : 2JU N -2 00 6 PA G E : 59 C O L O R : C M Y K SPORTSPORT Former ace tips scorcher return TENNIS By ANDREW ALOIA CENTRALIAN hot-shot Chris Letcher is determined to make a winning return to the court this weekend. BLISTERING: Former Alice Springs tennis ace Chris Letcher gets in some court time before a Darwin comeback set for the weekend. Picture: JUSTIN SANSON Letcher, a former Australian junior tennis representative, will make his eagerly anticipated comeback at the Darwin and Northern Territory Opens starting tomorrow. At the height of his career the wily ace had a word-ranking 580 in singles and 550 in doubles. But it has been more than eight months since the 20-year-olds last professional game. And instead of paying attention to his own form, Letcher has been busy preparing the fledgling Red Centre Tennis Academy players for the converted Opens double. While his priorities may lie with the development of the emerging legion of tennis stars, Letcher still has a competitive itch. He said: Ill always be competitive when I get on a tennis court. I havent been hitting much at all. The most I play is Tuesday nights. This will be a real role reversal formebeing the coach taking players away instead of being the youngster being taken away myself. These kids are expecting me to win so I hope I can. With a band of 25 other Centralians playing in Darwin next week, the young coach will have no shortage of inspiration. Former junior coach and reigning NT mens No.1 player Ben Howen took pride in leading the Centre, mustering a devout following from his pupils. Letcher hopes he can take over the mantle this weekend. He will be aiming to make it back-to-back Darwin Open wins for Alice Springs after Howens success in 2005. But it will not be easy for the 20-year-old who has to contend with Darwin favourite Jed Stanford. Zac Crispe, 10 and Mitchell Hattam, 11. 26 starters biggest yet TENNIS A record 26 players from the Red Centre Tennis Academy will represent Alice Springs at the Darwin and Northern Territory Opens starting tomorrow. It will be the largest touring team as sembled Alice Springs 60-year tennis history. Budding youngsters Zac Crispe, 10, and Mitchell Hattam, 11, will be aiming to make their debut more memorable with a win. Crispe has only been playing six months, but is not nervous about taking a swing at the NTs best. He said: It felt excellent when I was selected. Im really excited to go away and play.
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