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TENNIS: Men lead way in event entries.

Byline: BY IAN HARGRAVES

LIVERPOOL'S annual Parks tennis tournament at Calderstones got under way in blustery conditions last night, with all efforts concentrated on the boys and men's events.

There is a hefty entry of 27 for the men's open singles, headed by holder Anthony Hardman, and with 15-year-old hope Neil Skupski (brother of Ken) in second place, ahead of such hardened regulars as Simon Crabtree, David Hardman, David Nimmo and Anthony McCarthy.

However, even that is dwarfed by the numbers challenging for the men's B singles, which have almost reached the half century, with a further 38 entrants for the boys under 12, 37 for the boys under 14, 25 for the boys under 18 and 29 for the men's B singles.

'I just wish the girls were equally enthusiastic,' commented referee Mike McBrien, who fears the ladies singles may feature only a handful of entries.

In fairness, three of the top women players are away playing for their county and several others are on holiday, but it seems a bit remarkable that the top seed in the Open Singles looks like being little Chloe Murphy, who is still only 13.

If the females showed as much enthusiasm as their male counterparts, the tournament might well have to be extended into a second week, because these days there are only 15 courts in use, compared to about 28 a few years ago.

That is largely due to the arrival of the Liverpool International tournament a few weeks ago, as much of the overall area was then taken up with refreshment tents and other facilities that have damaged the courts' surface.

Play each day starts at 4pm and entrants are asked to make sure they arrive in plenty of time, report to the office immediately and so make use of all the evening light available
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 19, 2005
Words:305
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