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Players ready to hit up a storm

A record number of players will pick up their racquets this weekend at the 90th annual Shepparton Easter Tournament.

OLIVER CAFFREY April 18, 2014 3:20am

A number of local players will lead the charge at the 90th annual Shepparton Easter Tournament, which starts today.

A record 635 players will grace Shepparton Lawn Tennis Club courts during the next four days battling it out for a number of singles and doubles titles.

Shepparton Lawn Tennis Club president Malcolm Thiel said with school holidays starting before Easter this year, it had only added to the build up for the milestone event.

‘‘There have been groups in town for days already and it’s obviously great for the tournament having the extra people here, but it benefits the wider community with people extending their stay and making it a bit of a holiday,’’ Thiel said.

‘‘We have record entries this year, 635 this year, up from 587 last year, which was huge and we’re sort of having a big year with tennis in the area, so we’re confident of putting on a good tournament.’’

Thiel said he was confident local players would perform well, with Kialla Park’s Luke Dixon and Shepparton Lawn’s Hope Curtis-McDonald carrying many of the hopes in the main singles draws.

‘‘One of our previous champions Matt Carroll (2011), he’s back and I’m sure he’ll go deep once again, but we haven’t got last year’s champ back (Daniel Byrnes),’’ Thiel said.

‘‘Luke Dixon will go pretty deep along with (Shepparton Lawn’s) Nick Gattuso, he’s had a really impressive season, playing a lot of tennis.’’

Echuca’s Regan More is second seed and will be looking to go one better after losing the final of the Cobram Labour Day tournament, while fourth-seeded Shepparton Lawn player James Curtis-McDonald will fancy his chances on home turf.

In the women’s draw, No.1 seed Hope Curtis-Mcdonald will be out to make up for the disappointment of last year’s semi-final loss.

Five-time champion Carolyn McGann is back in the fold and will be a contender as fourth seed.

‘‘We have our social events on every night and with those extra three courts it should be a fantastic event — it’s one of those Easter traditions which we are fortunate to host,’’ Thiel said.

Meanwhile, Shepparton Lawn is not the only club to be running a tournament this weekend, with Kyabram and Nathalia also hosting their Easter traditions, starting today.

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