National crown defended

February 02, 2017

Focused: Tatura's David Starling is a picture of concentration against Shepparton Lakers.

Fresh from guiding the Goulburn region to a 56-year breakthrough at the Tennis Victoria inter-regional country championships recently, David Starling capped off an impressive month by winning at the Australian Seniors Tennis Championships in Adelaide.

Starling, whose family chose to make the nine-hour trek across to the City of Churches, also won at last year’s 50-plus doubles event, making him the reigning champion.

Partnered with good friend David Kos from Geelong, Starling conceded it was a funny feeling heading into a tournament as the hunted, especially a long way from home.

‘‘It was definitely quite strange. Our first match was nerve-wracking because we knew we were the defending champions, but we weren’t seeded,’’ Starling said.

‘‘However, as the week went on, we started to find our groove and eventually came out on top.’’

Starling and Kos defeated the top seeded duo from Queensland in the semi-finals, before knocking off the number two seeds from NSW in straight sets, 7-6 6-3, to defend their title.

It has been a pretty big start to this year for Kyabram’s Starling, who has participated in, and won, three tournaments.

‘‘I played in my first money tournament in Shepparton in early January and won that with my daughter, then we went away to Swan Hill for the inter-regionals to win that,’’ Starling said.

‘‘Winning over in Adelaide has really capped things off, although I’ve set a pretty dangerous standard for myself now. I’ll have to keep up with it all.’’

Starling already has one eye on next year’s Australian Seniors Tennis Championships, where he will be aiming to win a third consecutive title.

However, he might need to pack some board shorts and some extra sunscreen.

‘‘It’s on the Gold Coast next year, so I’ll definitely be fit and raring to go for that one,’’ he said.

— Kyabram Free Press

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