The NSW Deaf Tennis Championships took place Sunday 23rd October 2011 at Sydney Olympic Park, Homebush.

Under clear blue skies, warm sun and temperatures in the high 20s, 6 men and 6 women battled long and hard for the right to be crowned NSW Deaf Tennis Champions.

After waiting for a few latecomers to arrive the tournament officially began at 9am with the kick-off of the round-robin stages of the Singles events. This year saw a mixture of new and old faces some of who were playing their first tennis tournament in over 15 years!


In the Men’s, the top seeds in their respective groups, Andrew Klusman and Joshua Sealy enjoyed a straightforward progress to the semifinals. Mark Theodossiou and Vince Terlizzi put in a sterling effort to reach their first ever semifinals but the gulf in playing ability was too great to overcomer as Mark went down 6-3 to Joshua and Vince 6-0 to Andrew.

Jamal Ahmadi also impressed in his first ever tennis tournament after just a few months of starting in the sport, going down 6-4 to Liam Hodgson in the 5th/6th playoff.

With the top two seeds facing off in the final, it was an interesting contrast between the two players. The young powerful Joshua who has already represented Australia in Taipei 2009 Deaflympics against the older experienced Andrew who has only just started to be involved in deaf tennis.

Andrew handled the windy conditions better at the start, limiting his unforced errors and racing to a 6-1 first set lead. In the second set, it was the same story with Andrew leading 4-1 until Joshua began to find his range after doubling his concentration and was eventually dominating the rallies with his powerful groundstrokes. He managed to claw back a break of serve but Andrew held on to close it out 6-3 for his first ever NSW Deaf Tennis Championships singles title.

In the doubles, there were 3 teams consisting of Andrew Klusman and Liam Hodgson, Vince Terlizzi and Mark Theodossiou, Joshua Sealy and Jamal Ahmadi.

It turned out to be a close affair between the bottom two teams for the right to compete in the final against Klusman/Hodgson who won both their doubles matches in a clear-cut fashion. Ahmadi/Sealy and Terlizzi/Theodossiou ended up with 4 games each after their two round-robin matches but as Terlizzi/Theodossiou had actually won their match against Ahmadi/Sealy, they were through to the final.

Terlizzi and Theodossiou put up a brave fight but could not stop Klusman/Hodgson from steamrolling to a 6-2 victory, completing a sweep of the Mens events for Andrew.



The women’s round robin singles consisted of last year’s champion, Ayami Sato, two new players and 3 returning players who used to play under the old Deaf Tennis NSW club.

Karen Paterson displayed continued improvement since taking up the game a year ago and acquitted herself well against her counterparts who have been playing for many years. Her efforts were rewarded with a 3rd place finish in the round-robin group.

Ayami progressed through the round-robin stage without losing a single game, winning all matches 6-0. Maria Jordan, returning from her battle with illness, won her two remaining singles to progress to the final where Ayami awaited. True to form, Ayami was too strong for Maria in all aspects of the match storming to a 6-0 win and the title of NSW Champion for the 2nd year running.

In the doubles, there was a round robin of three teams – Ayami Sato and Heather Bowie, Maria Jordan and Tania Palmer, Laurel Payne and Karen Paterson.

Again, the true test of the round robin proved to be which of the lower teams would earn the right to face off against Ayami and Heather, who comfortably won their matches, in the final. That honour went to Maria and Tania after they saved 2 match points against Laurel and Karen en route to a tiebreak win 9-7 despite a gallant effort from Laurel who played through a foot injury.

Maria and Tania were able to play better in the final than they had in their round robin match against Ayami and Heather. There were some great rallies as Maria and Tania sought to use their experience but could not complete the task as Ayami and Heather proved too strong with their groundstroke consistency. As a result, Heather secured her first ever deaf tennis title and Ayami joined Andrew as a deserving dual champion of both singles and doubles.


All in all, it was a great day in beautiful weather at Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre. A special thanks must go out to Michelle Clarke at Tennis NSW for helping to organise the court bookings and letting us use their BBQ for a fantastic lunch.

I hope next year will be just as successful and on a larger scale with more participants!


See you next year!

John Lui

Vice President

Deaf Tennis Australia