Portsmouth aces set to show a touch of class

Scott Yule. Picture: Paul Jacobs (151679-3)

Scott Yule. Picture: Paul Jacobs (151679-3)

Dan Evans

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PORTSMOUTH’s top touchtennis aces will take on many of the world’s best tomorrow.

The Babolat Masters event, hosted at Portsmouth Tennis Centre, is one of the biggest rankings competitions on the calendar for 2016.

World number one Simon Roberts, from Bolton, will be competing along with Rashid Ahmad, the founder of touchtennis.

The masters events are the biggest on the circuit, with the biggest rankings points up for grabs.

Portsmouth Tennis Centre coaches Benjamin Mason, Ashley Neaves, Macca Neaves, John Taylor and Harry Harris will be competing in the tournament.

Scott Yule, ranked number 67 in the world, is another of the Portsmouth touchtennis players who will be hoping for home success.

Ashley Neaves, currently ranked 18 in the world, is looking forward to the competition in Portsmouth.

He said: ‘We are really excited to be hosting this prestigious event which is set for some of the best touchtennis battles that we have seen.

‘As well as playing in the event ourselves, we are also looking forward to seeing some new faces at the centre and giving new players the opportunity to enjoy the sport as much as we do.

‘We have different levels of competition.

‘The masters series is like the grand slams in tennis.

‘They are worth more ranking points and attract the best players.

‘It is a good sport, very fast, and is open to people of all abilities.

‘We will have around 80 people taking part in the tournament.

‘And there is an open day alongside it.

‘Members of our coaching team in Portsmouth will be competing, along with the world number one and the founder of touchtennis.’

‘Touchtennis is the best of three sets and the sets are shorter.

‘You only get one serve which makes the games quite fast.’

As well as hosting the tournament, the Portsmouth Tennis Centre will be offering free touchtennis for spectators and anybody who would like to go along to give it a try.

There will be a fastest serve competition as well as chances to play with some of the best players in the world.

The sport is the closest thing to five a-side for tennis, played on a smaller court, with 21-inch rackets and foam balls.

The sport is very easy to pick up and perfect for novices, while the professional tour is played worldwide and allows players to earn ranking points, striving to become world number one.

Other upcoming competitions will take place in Belgium and Spain.

It is fast growing and is played in 23 countries by over 10,000 players.

The tournament is on from 10am to 5pm tomorrow at Portsmouth Tennis Centre, Alex Way, PO2 9AD.

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