Hoping to strike gold
By AARON KELLY ? TRAVELLING tennis companions Shannon Golds and Kelli Zahmel are hoping to strike the "big bucks'' at The Rock Building Society Rockhampton Open Championships at Victoria Park this weekend.
With more than $25,000 in prizemoney on offer over the two days of competition, the women's singles title contenders are both looking to cash in on Queensland's richest regional event.
"I won the Toowoomba Open a couple of weeks ago and after winning the singles, doubles and mixed I collected about $900,'' Golds said.
"If I can win the singles this weekend it's about double that ? the prizemoney here is very good.''
Golds, who is the Open women's No.2 seed behind fellow Gold Coast player Julieanne Welford, arrives in Rockhampton with a strong support team.
The 18-year-old currently holds the Queensland No.1 ranking and will join good mate Zahmel, of Brisbane, as the women's doubles top seeds.
She will also line up in the mixed doubles draw with her coach and boyfriend Johnny Stamenovic, who is the Open men's No.7 seed.
"We all met playing tournaments and travel everywhere together,'' Golds said.
The former Australian junior representative is returning to the Victoria Park tennis courts for the first time since making the Queensland 12 years and under girls' primary school team.
Open men's top seed Robert Smeets also touched down yesterday, ready to confirm his ranking.
Smeets, touted as a future Australian Davis Cup player, takes on fellow Brisbane competitor Jadon Cahill in the opening round this morning.
Play starts at 7.30am today.