FULLSTRETCH: Kelly Blanch, as she was last year, reaches for a return during the North Coast Open women?s singles final. It was
FULLSTRETCH: Kelly Blanch, as she was last year, reaches for a return during the North Coast Open women?s singles final. It was

Shrinking from limelight

By TIM HOWARD

sport@dailyexaminer.com.au

FOR the player who has been the top seed since she won her first North Coast Open Tennis Championship singles title at 14, being seeded No.2 has come as a shock.

"I'm surprised I've been seeded so high," said North Coast women's singles champion Kelly Adamson yesterday on the eve of the North Coast Tennis Championships to be held at the Grafton City courts this weekend.

"I've not been playing as much these days and I'm just not as competitive."

But Adamson, who as Kelly Blanch won her first title in 1994, is the defending champion and aiming to win her eighth North Coast women's singles title.

Adamson said top seed Emelyn Starr, from Tamworth, would be hard to beat in the women's singles.

"She beat me two years ago, 8-6 in the third set, when she was about 14-years-old," Adamson said.

"She's had some back problems that kept her out of the game since then, but now she's back, she has been seeded No.1."

In the men's competition Grafton's Michael Beckman, also chasing an eighth North Coast singles title, has been seeded No.1.

Like Adamson the experienced Beckman has cut back his playing commitments in recent years.

"Michael is such a naturally talented player he can come out and hit the ball really well with hardly any preparation," Adamson said.

"But he will have some tough competition.

"Brendan Moore, from Lismore, has been coming down to Grafton in recent weeks to train with the Beckmans (Michael and brother Phillip) and he's hitting the ball really well.

"The disappointment in the men's singles is the injury to third seed Glen Philp, who hurt himself during training on Monday and has withdrawn."

Adamson, who is the president of the organising body, Grafton City Tennis Club, said she is much happier behind the scenes than taking centre court.

"I've been doing a lot more coaching than playing," she said.

"This year we have more than 200 players competing and more than 400 matches scheduled over the three days.

"It's a big improvement on last year."

Adamson said the tournament could throw up a few surprises this year.

"There's a lot of young players who have sort of come under the radar," she said.

"It will depend on who's hitting the ball well on the day, but I would not be surprised for some of these players to turn up in the finals."



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