Regional pride will be on the base line when the state's top tennis players contest the Tasmanian Tri-Series Cup this weekend.
Once called the Tennis Tasmania Cup, the intrastate tournament has not been held for 20 years but was sparked back into life when the North played the North-West in November and South also jumped on board the concept.
Burnie Tennis Club will host two days of matches as the best elite male and female players compete for their respective regions, with other divisions including A-Grade, over-40s and 60-plus.
Craig Boyce and James Bolzonello are coordinating a Northern team spearheaded by Tasmanian No.4 Sam Whitehead, who recently landed a scholarship to University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley.
The 18-year-old national academy player, who is coached by Bolzonello, said the event provides welcome competition after all the cancellations of 2020.
"One month ago I came out of quarantine a little bit rotund but I worked hard with some really good training mates back in Tassie."— Rob Shaw (@TheShawThing) January 23, 2021
It's January, must be time for @richie_porte to win on Willunga Hill again@INEOSGrenadiers@AusCyclingAus@tourdownunderhttps://t.co/TCivZGxBY7
"It's just the team atmosphere," Whitehead said. "It's a really good environment when you're playing the best players from all the regions."
Like Whitehead, Sarah Gower also played tennis at Scotch Oakburn and is excited to be part of a team which also features junior state performance championships 18-and-under singles and doubles winner Jake Elmer.
"I like the inclusivity of the event and the attitudes of all the players," said Gower, who is coached by Matt Carswell, turns 17 in April and has been playing since she was five.
"There is a bit of a rivalry but it's also very friendly.
"It's a fun team atmosphere, which you don't always get from tennis because it can be an individual sport. There's a lot of good players involved and I'm looking forward to it."
It's a fun team atmosphere, which you don't always get from tennis because it can be an individual sport.Sarah Gower
Gower is a member of the inaugural females in tennis leaders program showcasing talented players who want the sport and pathway to grow.
Tennis Tasmania general manager Darren Sturgess praised regional and club volunteers, who have been working behind the scenes to bring the concept to life.
"We are looking forward to seeing the Tri-Series Cup become an integral part of the summer of tennis calendar in the state," he said.
"With our three International tournaments unfortunately unable to proceed in 2021, we see the event as a great opportunity for our clubs to get together in January and start the year on a strong note."
Tasmanian No.3 Sam Edgar, who last year won the coveted Pardey Shield as the state's best schoolboy player, joins former US college player Alyssa Hibberd in the Southern team.