The Manly Seaside Tennis Championships is one of Sydney’s longest running tournaments. It is held at the Manly Lawn Tennis Club on Boxing Day every year, concluding with a finals day on New Year’s Eve.
During the 40s, 50s and 60s the Manly Lawn Tennis Club was used as the venue for the Australian team in the Davis Cup Challenge Round, also held on Boxing Day and the two following days. Many overseas players played in the Seaside Tournament marking the first tournament in the Australian tennis calendar at that time. The season finished with the Australian Championships (The Aussie Open).
Today, the tournament is still going strong and is an important part of the Australian satellite tennis circuit.
Over the Christmas period, when most people are away from work on holidays and my practice is less busy, I choose to help the players of the seaside tournament by setting up an outdoor treatment station behind the main courts of the club.
For many, this time of year is a time to take a break from work, rest and recharge for the new year. As everyone knows however, tennis is my absolute passion, and spending boxing day through to new year’s eve watching tennis, playing tennis and treating tennis players is hardly work for me at all.
The most common injuries I saw were arm pain (shoulder, elbow, wrist), lower back and hip pain. As tennis is an asymmetrical sport, it comes as no surprise that the racquet arm is likely to whinge at some point. It is not uncommon for players at these sorts of tournament to have two to three matches per day. The tournament has always been of a very high standard and so playing six to eight sets per day can be very taxing on the playing arm, not to mention the rest of the body.
Treating at these sorts of events has reminded just how little upcoming players know about their sport and their bodies. Much of the injuries, particularly arm injuries, can be prevented through proper set up or customising of the racquet frame and strings. Weight, swing-weight, string type and tension are all fundamental factors of the racquet that determine the body’s reaction to hitting tennis balls. I believe many injuries could be prevented by understanding how the physics of a ball colliding with the string bed during a tennis shot might be affecting your arm in tennis.
Most young tennis players believe the route to becoming as good a tennis player as possible, simply revolves around hitting more and more tennis balls. Whilst I believe repetition is the mother of skill, it is also the age-old granddaddy of repetitive strain injury. Players need to insure against such injuries by investing valuable time in the gym and on the track. In layman’s terms, players need tailored resistance and speed work programs, not just tennis lessons and squad sessions.
The Manly Seaside Championships is easily my favourite Australian Money Tournament of the year. The location of the courts, close to the beach with many locals and tourists walking by, makes the tournament well spectated and thus always alive with atmosphere. The tournament regularly attracts top Australian players and often many overseas players as well. Below you can see familiar sights of the tournament including the record of past champions – some great names feature here.
Marc Dragan (yellow shirt) – a man who really needs no introduction. Marc was was Australia’s first professional triathlete and in 1985 became the first Australian man to win a full length Ironman distance triathlon. Marc was also an accomplished tennis player reaching the qualifying draws of both the Australian Open and Wimbledon Tennis Championships. He has been one of the tournament directors for many years and can be heard regularly throughout the tournament over the club PA system (when it works).
From left – Tom Tyrrel and Scott Blackburn. These two Manly legends work in the engine room of the Seaside tournament. Tom in the pro shop, or outside having a smoke, and Scotty on the bbq playing with a different sort of smoke.
Seated left – Max Ward has been the tournament referee for decades. He is that committed to his job at the Seaside that he sleeps in the club house for the duration of the tournament.
If you have never come to see the action at the Manly Seaside Tennis Tournament before, make sure you come down this year – it’s always a cracker of a tournament!
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