I TBy Huka.]
Easter, with its usual tennis tournament, started on Friday — Good Friday. Was it good to tennis? It was fairly fine, but the high wind made good tennis almost impossible; yet despite the elements some first-class form was shown. The weather generally throughout New Zealand has not been overkind, and even now, in most of the tournaments, some events are not completed. Some players who had entered for the meeting in Wellington could not pray on the Friday, others would not. Next year, if fairness to all competitors is to be the pass-word, the management , must either decide to start all off on the Friday, or leave that day out altogether. Another question has been solved completely, and that is — a senior and junior contest cannot be run on the one ground, or, in fact, by the one management. A sole governing head, with full power, is required for both contests. The senior events were in good hands with Mr. Barry Keesing, and had he been given sole control nothing could have been better. Experience is needed | in running tournaments, tact and general thoughtfulness being also necessary. Those qualities were there in abundance with the ex-Napier player, but through interference — possibly through inexperience by aspiring controllers — an able man was hampered. The Thorndon courts looked well, and under tho circumstances, previous wet weather, etc., played well. Peacock started early, with Hawkins, who was lately ill with influenza, as an opponent. Hawkins was safe, and Peacock, casing up, lost the second sst to him. Hawkins made matters interesting by petting away at the start of the third set, but Peacock came at him, and won comfortably. Young ran all over the Hastings player, H. J. Webber, in the first set; then the latter, getting more confidence, played up to form, and gave the Thorndon player all he wanted and more, as he took the second set* 7—5,7 — 5, and although Young won the final set, 6—3,*6 — 3,* he had to keep going at top. Swanston met Blair, also on the grass, and won easily, but the Victorian was not playing up to his well-known form. He is better on the hard courts, being more used to the hard surface. Although beaten, the loser satisfied the experienced eye that he is a fine player when in form, and, considering that it is over twelve months since he has had any tennis, he is to be commended for taking on the task of meeting our men without much practice. He also failed with Miss Nunneley in the combined, but his play at times was very pretty, and it was clearly seen that he has a good idea of the game and knows how to play it, but, being amongst strangers, did not force the play as much as he should have done, evidently being well aware that he was below concert pitch. He has shown better form in practice, and will possibly by next Christmas, at the New Zealand meeting, be quite as good as the' best of ours, if he likes to go at it and regain the form he has shown in Australia. Straight out, Blair is not a player travelling on reputation, his victories in Australia can speak for themselves, and New Zealanders generally will be pleased before long that they have such a fine genial player in their midst. • Wilson, a general favourite with everybody, was out again, and quickly disposed of Weir in the first set. The exCanterbury man then livened up, and although indisposed, played brilliantly in the second set ; hut Wilson had him done in the •final, and .won comfortably. Rice met 'Smythe — now everyone knows what a solid player the latter is, and a player has to be playing well to beat him. Horace Rice, the Victorian, opened the oyes of one or two players who watched that match, as he simply had Smythe, at a disadvantage all the time. Hie nlay ■was deadly baf c, and his quick and lively flieky shots constantly descending on Smythe, gave him a chance. That match foretold the winner of the event. Cornell, the Petonc player, beat Ward comfortably. 'Fisher had all his work cut out to beat Hunter in the first set, and had the loser taken all risks in tho second set tho result would have been closer. Pisher is a player who depends upon his strenuousness, but he leads a busy Jife, and cannot expect to keep top sides with the young players who go into court; fife. What would Fisher do if he went to a iNew Zealand tournament m pink of condition? He is capable of giving the best player in New Zealand, a great run. 'None of onr playerw havo the variety of strokes that he has, and it is to be hoped that he can spare the' time to be really fit and well for the New Zealand Championships at Auckland. He knows the game in all ite intricacy, yet at times plays as though the ordinary positions were not worth considering. A little more keenness, a lot more training, and then he would give aid players a good example to copy. What would some of our younger players give to do what is l^nddubtedly in Fisher's power? In the second round, Peacock was out to win from Young, and he took the first set quickly. Then Young pressed, and Peacock, saving himself for his next match, nearly fell in. sToung evened, and gave his opponent a hoc time in the third set. Swanston and Wilson had a good go for the first set, ten games being played. Swanston ran out quickly in the second set, being in good form and condition. Wilson wae playing as well as ■he has done for many a long day, and some of his dashes in matches yet to be spoken of were brilliant. Rice beat Cornell easily, but the latter was plucky and did his best. The Victorian's backhand sweep was deadly, and his being a left-hander seemed to puzzle his opponent. Brown was full of dash against Fisher, and came through on* top in both sets. Although he won, he is not yet iFisher's superior, as the hitter can do a long way better than he did in that particular match. These remarks need not bo read as taking any credit away from the winner; he is the younger player, and has .plenty of time yet; and when experience helps him, his dash and brilliancy will bo all the wore deadly. Peacock and Swanston, both of whom prefer the grass courts to asphalt, and also courts that do not have the rise to the net, played one another abnost to a standstill. Set all, then 7 all in the third set, when darknesb stopped it. Peacock was three times within ace of match in tho second set, and twice only had to score the shot to end matters in the thivd set, but Swanston was tht> steadier of the two, and kept him out. When they met next day, Swanston won the first set with good play, and snatched tho second just on the post. Rice knew too much for Brown, and won both .sets at score of 6—3.6 — 3. Brown played well, but could not keep the Sydney man out. Then came the final. Both men, Rice and Swanston, were foot sore, having blistered feet through playing on the hard courts. Rice was a study in safety, and he quickly showed that he could not only hold Swanston, but beat him. His «eivice was well placed, and he also varied the pace of it with excellent judgment. Swanstou often had tho winning position, but mis-judged the ball and netted. Rice went out for the first set, and pushed for it right through, winning 6—l.6 — 1. The local player was in the better condition, and had Rice thinking in the second set. In the seventh game Swanston «jv.r,ral times should ha,ve made it 4 all, but beat himself, and Rioe won amidst general applause, 6—l,6 — 1, &~#v Swanston would' fla*&-pujijip-fb be&gx' agi^-en, gr.a§5 A -bu.t
in tha writer's opinion Rice is the better player. The player to give the winner a great run is a hard hitter from tho base line, like what Laishley was. Several years ago these two players, Rice and Laishley, met — the latter won, and that was the only match, simply a friendly one, dropped by the Sydney player during his tour in New Zealand. Rice soon became a great favourite, and like his Australian friend Blair, was always surrounded by a band of friends. The men's doubles are to be completed to-day, and will be commented upon next week. One cannot pass the singles without looking for the name of Gore, but for once it is missing ; yet the happy face of Mr. Harry Gore was seen at the meeting— -he being the referee. It is not yet time for him to drop out, and as he is still close up with tho best of our men. TENNIS ELSEWHERE. Wilding carried all before him at the Otago championship meeting, and although Ollivier took the first set from him'.Jie could not see it out with Wilding fn the second and third. H. Howe took an event at the Hamilton tournament. I^e was outed in the singles handicap first round, being placed on the owe 40 mark. J. Lindsay and Powell played well at Wanganui, and just missed the handicap doubles. Miss Powdrell had a regular field day and carried all before her.
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Lawn Tennis., Evening Post, Volume LXXVII, Issue 90, 17 April 1909
Lawn Tennis. Evening Post, Volume LXXVII, Issue 90, 17 April 1909
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