Canberra, Albury-Wodonga teenagers stun in adult events at Griffith’s MIA Open | Region Riverina

Canberra, Albury-Wodonga teenagers stun in adult events at Griffith’s MIA Open | Region Riverina
Canberra, Albury-Wodonga teenagers stun in adult events at Griffith’s MIA Open | Region Riverina

Lara Meagher and Natalie Grandin took out the open women’s doubles. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

Teenagers from Canberra and Albury-Wodonga stunned older and higher ranked opponents at last weekend’s MIA Open, an annual Griffith tennis tournament that attracted 220 participants.

The ACT’s May Joseph, 19, and Ewan Duff, 14, made the final of the open women’s and men’s singles respectively, while Albury-Wodonga’s Lara Meagher, 14, won the open women’s doubles event and was a finalist in the A-grade adult event. Bendigo’s contingent surged in the doubles while Griffith locals were particularly strong in the family and junior events.

Teens defy age

tennis players win award

Danny Dossetor with son Taite and Ewan Duff. Photo: Jamie Mitton.

The Canberra duo were beaten by Griffith’s Danny Dossetor and Barellan’s Jane Haeusler in the open singles finals, who each defended the crown they’d won last year. But Joseph’s and Duff’s remarkable run captivated the crowd.

Ewan Duff stormed his way to the final without losing a set, but May did it the hard way, coming back from a set down to win both the quarter-final and semi-final.

“You never see her go nuts when she wins a point; she’s so poker-faced,” May’s mum Layla said. “We’re losing too many girls to the sport, so we need girls like May. Everyone says she’s a great role model.”

After her on-court success, May won a head tennis racquet at the tournament raffle.

“She wants to donate the racquet to raise money for her club,” Layla said.

May Joseph with award

Canberra’s May Joseph knocked out higher ranked players. Photo: Jamie Mitton.

May is coached by David Pajaczkowski of Canberra’s Rising Star Tennis Academy (RSTA), which has produced several champions.

Nineteen-year-old Annabelle Snow won the A-grade women’s title, while North Woden RSTA head coach Frank Calabria, who grew up in Griffith, was runner-up in the father-son doubles event with his child Dominic, losing the final to RSTA’s Lachlan and Stewart Goodwin. Other Canberrans to excel were Tia Barrymore, who won the girls’ singles and doubles event, with Adele Mewett and Jakob Zupancic, who won the boys’ singles.

Another teenager to impress was 14-year-old Indigenous rising star Lewis Murray of Castlemaine in Victoria, who reached the semi-finals of the open men’s singles.

Margaret Court’s legacy lives on

Albury-Wodonga’s Lara Meagher is the granddaughter of legendary coach Phil Shanahan and great-grandniece of Margaret Court, who has won more grand slam titles than any other player in tennis history.

“Lara had a good weekend; she had a handy doubles partner, which helps,” Dad Cam Meagher said.

In the doubles, she paired with Natalie Grandin, a South African-born coach at Margaret Court Tennis Academy (MCTA) who was once ranked 22 in the world in women’s doubles.

“We don’t push Lara, but she enjoys her tennis and trains really hard,” Cam said.

Lara’s brother Jake won the boys’ doubles event with his namesake Jake McCraw, the latter also winning the C-grade men’s singles title. MCTA’s Georgie Barber took out the girls’ B-grade singles.

Bendigo dominate doubles

Simon and Skylar Austin show prize

Simon and Skylar Austin. Photo: Jamie Mitton.

Bendigo-based Giant Tennis club also performed strongly throughout the long weekend. Aidan Fitzgerald teamed up with Jamie Windust to take out the open’s men’s doubles event and then with Nathan Broad to win A-grade. Simon Austin took out the A-grade mixed doubles with Casey Fleming and then paired with Skylar Austin to take out the same category in B-grade.

Locals hold their own

Griffith locals also had their fair share of success. In addition to the open singles, Danny Dossetor won the mixed doubles with Barellan’s Jane Haeusler. Newcomer to town Miles Keighery won the B-grade singles, while Juan Carlos and Juan Martin Gomez took out a father-son doubles event. Sophia Romeo was runner-up for the B-grade girls, Mia Noad took out the Under 10s title and siblings Joni and Leo McNicol won the Hot Shots event for players under 12.

Legend honoured

Trevor Horney with a beer

Trevor Horney had a court named after him. Photo: Supplied.

This year’s MIA Open also saw Court Nine at Griffith Tennis Club renamed after club legend Trevor Horney. The 80-year-old, who has also lived in Parkes and Canberra, twice won the MIA Open and his name appears 36 times on the Griffith Tennis Club honours board. He remains an active player and won a match at this year’s MIA Open when partnered with son Brad.

A full list of results can be found on the MIA Open page managed by organiser Steve Longworth and more photos of winners and runners-up are on the Griffith Tennis Club Facebook page.


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