Tennis

HAWKE'S Bay men's tennis No1 Rob Reynolds abandoned his United States scholarship but his hunger to crack the New Zealand Davis Cup team is still there.

"Davis Cup is still a goal but I'm not sure what pathway I will take to get there," Reynolds said last night as he reflected on the three-and-a-half month stint he had with the Ragin' Cajuns men's team at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

That stint, which ended in October, was to be the start of a four-year scholarship but Reynolds, 19, didn't like the university.

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"I've had coaches from other colleges asking me to go back but the States isn't the place to be at the moment because of the political situation there. While I might go back there in the future, playing some tournaments in Europe might be the way to go to continue the push for Davis Cup play," Reynolds said.

When New Zealand Davis Cup representative and Kiwi No 1 Artem Sitak was in the Bay for a training camp with Reynolds and his brother and fellow multiple national titleholder, New Zealand junior representative Finn Reynolds, last year he predicted Reynolds could gain Davis Cup selection within five years. Sitak is back in the Bay for another training camp with the pair this week and Reynolds said some matchplay against Sitak would give him a gauge as to whether or not he was still on track for international play.

This week Reynolds is also coaching a squad of four Hawke's Bay players at the annual five-day Christmas junior tournament in Auckland. One of them, Hawke's Bay Lawn's Sophia Nash, will play in today's doubles final with a New Plymouth partner.

Last weekend the Reynolds brothers played for the Hawke's Bay Lawn team which won Tennis Eastern's premier men's interclub title for the first time since the early 1990s with a 5-1 victory against Hastings in the final. While Rob played for the team from round two, 16-year-old Finn who had played the first couple of rounds in the competition managed to get a flight back from Auckland where he had been playing in national tournaments on the day of the final.

"I didn't know it had been that long since our club had won the title. It was really good fun to help Hawke's Bay Lawn win the title in front of the home crowd," Finn said.

A Tennis New Zealand high performance athlete, Finn, was beaten 7-6, 6-4 by Taranaki's Ajeet Rai in the national under-18 singles final and he reached the quarter-finals of the national men's singles in Albany where he was beaten by Horowhenua-Kapiti's Zach Whaanga who had recently returned from a United States stint. Next month Finn will travel to Australia to play in a grade one International Tennis Federation tournament before tackling the Australian Junior Open in Melbourne.

As expected the Reynolds brothers didn't drop a set during the Tennis Eastern final. Finn won the No 1 singles clash against Craig Giddy 6-1, 6-2.

Rob beat Hastings No 2 Stefan Kitching-Nicholson 6-3, 6-2 and the brothers beat the same Hastings players 6-1, 6-1 in the No 1 doubles clash.

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Hastings No 4 Alan Boult recorded the visitors' only win with a 6-2, 6-4 victory against Ra McFarland. Hawke's Bay Lawn No 3 Dan Kelly, a newcomer to the Bay, beat experienced Hastings campaigner Jason Kitching 6-0, 6-2.

Kelly and McFarland beat Kitching and John Francois, the most successful player in terms of titles won in the history of the competition, 6-3, 6-4.

In their respective semifinals Hawke's Bay Lawn, playing without Finn, beat the Hawke's Bay Lawn No 2 team 6-0 and Hastings beat Greendale 4-2.