Karen Pearce, Liz Ireland-Jones, Susan Rheinberger, Gympie's Kym Ireland and Charmaine Nixon at the Australian Tennis Championships.
Karen Pearce, Liz Ireland-Jones, Susan Rheinberger, Gympie's Kym Ireland and Charmaine Nixon at the Australian Tennis Championships. Contributed

National tennis final came down to the wire

BLUSTERY conditions, extreme heat, rain and stifling humidity had to be endured by Gympie tennis player Kym Ireland when representing Queensland at the Australian Tennis Championships last month.

The national competition was held at Robinson Park in Perth between January 7 and 11 and Ireland proudly played for Queensland with teammates Karen Pearce (Toowoomba), Liz Ireland-Jones (Sunshine Coast), Susan Rheinberger (Sunshine Coast) and Charmaine Nixon (Chinchilla).

Queensland lost the final to New South Wales by three sets while a single game separated the teams.

A lack of time conspired against the Queensland representatives.

"There was nothing in it," Ireland said.

"A time restraint prevented us from finishing the last match and we were leading, so it could have been a different result."

Finishing runners-up felt all too familiar for Ireland.

"I've played the event (multiple) times and finished runners-up each and every time," she said.

Earlier in the competition, Queensland cruised through contests against three Western Australia teams and fell to Victoria by the slender margin of a single game.

There was also a tough loss to New South Wales.

The competition was fierce but Mother Nature proved just as much an opponent.

"The heat rule came into effect quite a bit," Ireland said.

"I went to Perth thinking it would be a dry heat, like Adelaide, but was really surprised by the humidity.

Rain on the first morning of the competition didn't help the humidity.

Compounding the trying conditions was an unforgiving wind.

"There was a lot of laughing, put it that way," Ireland said of the wind.

"It was very difficult controlling shots."

The competition was staged on natural grass, encouraging a serve and volleying style of attacking play from Western Australia.

"Everything was pretty much a volley from the Western Australian players," Ireland said. "There were very few baseline rallies."

The tennis year is well under way for Ireland, who is celebrating a No.1 ranking for doubles.

A few hard-fought victories towards the end of last year boosted the tennis player's ranking.

Looking ahead, the Queensland representative now has one eye on the Gympie Gold City open seniors tournament in March.

Gympie Times


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