Max Byrne reaches world championship singles final in Florida

QUITE THE HANDFUL: Riverside's Max Byrne inspects his haul from the super seniors tennis world championships in Florida. Picture: Hamish Geale
QUITE THE HANDFUL: Riverside's Max Byrne inspects his haul from the super seniors tennis world championships in Florida. Picture: Hamish Geale

One month ago Riverside tennis veteran Max Byrne left Tasmania wielding a massive forehand.

He returned last week yielding a massive four-hand – a gold, two silvers and a bronze from the ITF super seniors championships in Florida. 

After taking a bit of time to warm up in the teams event which took up the first week of competition, the over-85 team captain rose to new heights in the second week, making his first ever singles final at the tournament.

Byrne couldn’t quite get over the line in the final but did take out the mixed doubles alongside New South Wales 88-year-old Margaret Fisher.

He also added a doubles silver and teams bronze to finish with a tally of four medals – the most of any Australian at the event.

Byrne, who will turn 85 in December, said he had been “thrilled” to make it as far as he did in the 32-strong singles field.

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“I had a bad foot when I first started to so I was really happy to do as well as I did,” the grandfather-of-six said.

“I was really pleased and thrilled because I’d never been in the singles final before, I’d been in the semi a few times but it was really pleased to get in the final this time. 

“I had a bit of a chance, I led 5-4 in the first set - if I could have got that first set you play a tiebreaker third set and I might have had a chance because I’ve done pretty well in tiebreakers.”

Byrne has already tasted plenty of success this year having been awarded Tennis Tasmania life membership in September.

As to whether he’ll go in search of a maiden world singles title in Croatia next year, he remains unsure.

“I was really happy to play in the first place, but to think that I won the mixed and got two silver medals was pretty good. 

“It’s hard to say (whether I’ll play next year).

“I keep saying I won’t play again but who knows - I won’t say ‘no I won’t’ but it’s doubtful.”