Domestic aces ward off foreign invasion

Ladies' singles finalists Philippa Coates and Yuri Kurashina with Jonathan Jempson

Ladies' singles finalists Philippa Coates and Yuri Kurashina with Jonathan Jempson

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Despite the usual strong international presence at the Rye Lawn Tennis Club Open Tournament, the singles titles went to homegrown players.

Jonathan Tassell, the Queen’s Club champion and Kent county player, won the men’s singles, while Surrey county player Philippa Coates clinched the ladies’ singles.

Tassell got the better of Tim Shadiev in the men’s final on Monday afternoon and Coates saw off the diminutive Yuri Kurashina, a leading player from Japan who is now coaching at Harvard University, in the ladies’ equivalent.

After a short rest following his singles triumph, Tassell was back out on the immaculate grass courts to clinch another men’s doubles title alongside Mark Hadley, a New Zealand international and the Rye men’s singles champion in 2004 and 2005.

Coates also tasted success in the team events, winning the mixed doubles with Charlie Turney and the women’s doubles alongside Catherine Hall. Karen Hazzard and Annabel Watson were the runners-up in the latter event.

Entries for the four-day event were received from Germany, Austria, France, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, Belgium, Holland, Spain, Italy, Poland and Japan, as well as some of the top domestic clubs.

Notable names included former Davis Cup player Robin Drysdale, plus Tony, Jane and Richard Henman (father, mother and brother of ex-British number one Tim Henman), and recent All England LTC chief executive Chris Gorringe.

The Rye LTC Open Tournament kicked-off the Rye Tennis Festival which continued with the Junior Tournament yesterday (Thursday) and today before finishing with the Teenagers & Twenties Tournament tomorrow and Mixed Doubles Tournament on Sunday.

See tomorrow’s Rye Observer for reaction and more pictures.