At 24, Sam Matheson has reached many milestones in his tennis career.
The Tauranga man has just returned home from a four-year tennis scholarship in the United States, has made his mark in America reaching multiple Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rankings and broken umpteen records in the sport.
Yesterday, for the first time he played in a tournament with his mum Nikki.
The pair played Mixed Doubles in the Bayleys Peter Clarke Open Tennis Beach Tournament on Sunday, facing off in the champs finals against Whakatane's Philip Meyer and Tauranga's Julia Newman, who has returned home from her first year of a tennis scholarship at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP).
But after a court filled with impressive talent it was the Mathesons who came out on top to win the championship, beating Meyer and Newman in a tight and tactical battle.
The tournament was held over three days at the Mount Maunganui Tennis Club starting with a singles competition on December 28, followed by doubles on December 29 and the mixed doubles on December 30. The finals of the doubles also came down to a Matheson and Meyer face-off with Sam and his partner Josh White narrowly taking the win from Meyer and his partner Grant Rau.
For Sam this was the first time he had played in the tournament and saw it as a great opportunity to continue to compete in the sport he loved, while also reaching another milestone as a tennis player having never played with his mum before.
"I wanted to play with my mum," Sam says.
Mum was the reason Sam, originally from the North Shore, started playing tennis. He said she was always at the local tennis club and he used to spent a lot of time hitting a ball against a wall.
"I fell in love with the sport," the Otumoetai Tennis Club members said.
Mum, was equally excited, saying she was lucky to be playing with her son and creating "memories forever".
Whakatane-based Meyer said Matheson was a "very good player" and he had enjoyed himself during the tournament, which he described as well-run with a stand-out location and timing of the event.
He played two of the three days, spending time with his young family on the first day.
While wet weather dampened part of the day on the Saturday, tournament convenor Sylvia Wilmhurst said overall the event had been "going to plan", with some "very close finals" over the few days of competition.
She said it was great to see players such as Sam and Newman returning home to play.
Players at the tournament were able to utilise the tennis club's newly laid new modern blue/green astro courts for the first time.