Statham wins tennis title for fifth time

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Te Anau tennis tournament instigator Ian Willans presents Rubin Statham, of Auckland, with the Willans Trophy after Statham won his fifth title at the 8th Distinction Hotels Te Anau Tennis Invitational last month. Photo: Julie Walls

The Te Anau Tennis Invitational showcased some of New Zealand’s strongest male tennis players over two days of action at the end of December.

It was Rubin Statham who won the 2020 Distinction Hotels Te Anau Tennis Invitational title for the fifth time beating Michael Venus 6-2, 6-3.

Both were undefeated until the final, but it was Statham who lifted the Willans Trophy.

With temperatures reaching up to 23 deg C on December 28 and 29, about 700 spectators enjoued the sunshine while watching the competition during the tournament.

The win for Statham came off a massive year, after recovering from hip surgery in March to play in the New Zealand Davis Cup team which beat Venezuela, before helping team Hikurangi win the New Zealand Tennis Premier League, where he also beat Venus. It is the fifth time he has won the tournament.

Venus was back to Te Anau and was looking to add his name once again to the Willans Trophy after taking it out in 2015.

A former Grand Slam Champion winner, winning the French Open Doubles Title in 2017 with then partner Ryan Harrison, he had continued his winning ways and has a current ATP doubles ranking of 13, while reaching his career-high ranking of 8 in September last year.

He and Finn Tearney also became the 2020 NZ doubles champions at the Wellington Open New Zealand Championships recently.

Tearney played in his eighth consecutive tournament at Te Anau this year, with the aim of defending his title.

Seventh place in the tournament went to Alex Klintcharov who beat Oliver Statham 6-1, 7-6. Isaac Becroft took fifth place against Anton Shepp, winning by 7-5, 6-1, while defending champ Finn Tearney took third place after beating Ajeet Rai 6-4 6-7 6-4.

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