Fitzgerald praises tennis centre

FORMER Davis Cup captain and grand slam doubles champion John Fitzgerald believes playing at Launceston's Regional Tennis Centre is as good a starting point in the country for any young tennis player.

``The whole facility is terrific and as a young player that's as good as you can get in Tasmania to play on courts that good,'' Fitzgerald told  The Examiner .

So impressive, he believed any potential the facility might have to host Fed, or even Davis Cup, matches would have to be made on economical grounds rather than the facility.

The centre will host the Tasmanian Easter Championships from April 18-20.

The tournament, known previously as the Easter Gold Cup, is a bronze level junior (with Australian junior ranking points) and open Australian money tournament (with $3000 prize money) with boys and girls' singles and doubles competition.

``Launceston is a great facility for an AMT and it is the first entry level for these players, and you should get some good players there, as it has more importance than just being a simple Easter weekend event.''

Headline acts in the men's side of the draw include Harry Bourchier, Elliot Johnstone and Andrew Roberts, with Sanyukta Singh, Janaya Smith and Jessica Fowler expected to be strong for the women.

Fitzgerald is an ambassador for Hot Shots Tennis, which consists of smaller courts, lighter racquets and decompressed balls and open to any child who can ``swing a racquet'', and is conducted by more than 103 coaches, 803 schools and 501 clubs across the country.

It is a program which Fitzgerald believes will eventually get the country back to being a tennis power.

``It is the best thing we have done in tennis and is already having results of changing the sport.

``By using modified racquets, balls and courts, you allow little kids to go out and make contact with a ball that is a lot easier to make contact with than a normal tennis ball, which would bounce too high for them and they can't control it, lose interest and don't come back.

``The modified ball makes it easier for them to make contact and you see the smile on their face.''

For more information on Tennis Hot Shots visit: http://hotshots.tennis.com.au/what-is-hot-shots

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