Tennis: first FitzGerald Cup to Central Highlands

Central Highlands has claimed the Victorian regional junior boys’ tennis title, the John Fitzgerald Cup, for the first time.

TRIUMPHANT: Central Highlands players Harry Wills, Joe Freeman, James O’Sullivan and Miles Sheridan with the Fitzgerald Cup and Tennis Victoria tournaments and events manager Andrew Reynolds.

TRIUMPHANT: Central Highlands players Harry Wills, Joe Freeman, James O’Sullivan and Miles Sheridan with the Fitzgerald Cup and Tennis Victoria tournaments and events manager Andrew Reynolds.

James O’Sullivan, Joe Freeman, Harry Wills and Miles Sheridan went through the state regional junior tennis event unbeaten at Horsham at the weekend.

Nine regions contested the two-day round-robin tournament for 13 years and under boys on hard courts.

Central Highlands teams and events co-ordinator Jenny Jolliffe described the breakthrough as “fantastic”.

“It’s a great result for the region after being runner-up several times.”

The event has been dominated by Barwon and Central Gippsland since first being contested in 2002.

Barwon has won its six times and Central Gippsland on six occasions.

This time it was Central Highlands’ turn to turn the tables, defeating Barwon in Sunday’s grand final.

Jolliffe said the four boys had been great ambassadors for the region – doing it proud in the way they played and their good sportsmanship.

Central Highlands was declared the winner with a three-rubber to nil lead when play was washed out.

Freeman, Wills and Sheridan had won their singles, and O’Sullivan had first set of his match when rain intervened.

The boys went through their group matches without dropping a set – winning  109 out of 136 games.

John Fitzgerald Cup results will now be used to help select the four players to represent Victoria at the interstate Foundation Cup early in the new year.

O’Sullivan has played at national level this year, competing in April’s national grasscourt championships.

He is also a member of the Tennis Victoria “player support program”.

O’Sullivan, Freeman and Wills are all members of the FedUni WestVic Academy of Sport.

John FitzGerald Cup

John FitzGerald Cup

The academy’s tennis program provides quarterly training camps, focusing on quality hitting, other on-court activities and personal development workshops.

The program also includes a two-day trip to Melbourne Park to compete against other regional academies.

The John FitzGerald Cup is named in honour one of  Australia’s all-time great doubles players.

He won seven major doubles titles and a career men's doubles grand slam  – winning all four titles, the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.