Across Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, the Goulburn Tennis Club hosted its first ever AMT tournament, which, in the eyes of the players and the administrators, was a resounding success.
More than 130 players turned out across the three days, and there were more than 200 registrations in total.
This level of success for the club was remarkable considering that the tournament was put together at short notice.
“We only had two months to organise it because of another cancellation of another venue,” Goulburn Tennis Club head coach David Ridland said.
“To get 130 players is really great for this town. It’s the first time we’ve had this calibre of tennis for a long time, since probably the early 80’s.”
The weekend featured four Australian Money Tournament (AMT) events, in which were some of Australia’s most promising aspiring professionals.
Although there was high-quality tennis played in every division throughout the weekend, the highlights were the AMT Men’s and Women’s Singles events.
The grand final for the women was played on Sunday between the first and second seeds, Ivana Vlakic and Ashley Allman respectively.
The match went in favour of the number one seed, although it was a strikingly even affair which was only decided by a third-set tiebreak, 6-4 4-6 10-8.
Instead of playing regular third sets during the tournament, matches which reached a deciding set played a first-to-ten tiebreaker.
Remarkably, the men’s final was similarly tightly contested, and required another third set to choose the winner between top seed Rhys Searant and second seed Blazo Djurovic.
The match was a contest of personalities as much as it was tennis ability. Djurovic clearly fed on the energy of the crowd, and his big persona was mirrored by a colossal serve and searing forehand, both of which often went missing but were unreturnable when they found the court.
Meanwhile, Searant was content to ignore his opponent’s mercurial nature and focused on employing his left-handed forehand, which he imbued with heavy topspin, to create awkward angles and disrupt the rhythm of the rampaging bull that was Djurovic’s game.
In the end, Searant emerged victorious, 7-6 6-3 10-6.
The 19-year-old was thrilled with the win and said that had particularly enjoyed his first visit to Goulburn.
“Pretty stoked, it’s a bit of a mixed feeling,” Searant said.
“It’s good to win but it’s tough to beat your mate in the final.
“It’s unreal. It’s the first time I’ve played Goulburn. The courts are really quick.”