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Larkham hits out at ATL's 'bad decisions'

Canberra Velocity's Asia-Pacific Tennis League final bid was hampered by ''several bad decisions'' that ''were not in the spirit of the game'', team manager Todd Larkham said on Thursday night.

He believed the rescheduling of the NSW/ACT conference final was unfair and suggested that a ''flaw in the rules'' allowed for the women's Asia-Pacific Tennis Institute Steelers to replay a match and ''stack'' their doubles team.

Unable to field a full-strength team at the resumption of the final at Sydney Olympic Park because of scheduling commitments, Velocity went in to last night's remaining matches without three of its top players.

''It may not have affected the outcome but we are extremely disappointed in the Tennis NSW rules commission. We believe they made several bad decisions which greatly hampered our ability to win the final,'' Larkham said.

''The ATL is a great competition and it's been good for Canberra, however, as an inaugural competition, the rules need to be looked at.''

He said Velocity was notified too late that the team would be required to return on Thursday in the event of a washout and ''we were unable to field our strongest team because many of our players had committed elsewhere''.


The ruling meant AIS scholarship holders Alex Bolt and Nick Kyrgios together with Nicole Hoynaski were unable to play, while Tennis NSW ordered a restart of the match in which Hoynaski held three set points against Trudi Musgrave.

Larkham said he was of the understanding that all matches would be continued. ''That is what they told us on Tuesday night.''

Hoynaski, who has flown to Thailand to compete in a tournament, was replaced by Tarlina Tipungwuti, who lost 4-1, 4-1, while Ashley Keir lost in a thrilling match against Stephanie Bengson 4-2, 2-4, 4-2.

In the hotly contested doubles, Velocity's Alison Bai and Tyra Calderwood won in a super tie-breaker against Musgrave and Renee Reid 2-4, 4-2 (10-6), and Keir and Tipungwuti lost to Stephanie Bengson and Monique Adamczak 4-3 (5-2), 4-0, to eventually lose the final four rubbers to two.

Velocity's men's hopes were washed away with the rain on Tuesday, with the team unable to win another rubber against the ATP Sydney team last night, losing 5-1.

Athletic baseliner Jake Eames couldn't keep the team's hopes alive, losing to Ryan Henry 4-1, 4-3 (5-4) after trailing 4-1, 2-2, when play was suspended.

Larkham said it was always going to be a tall order for his Velocity team without its top two players.

''The rain didn't help our cause as it was always going to be tough without Alex and Nick,'' Larkham said. ''There were only a few points in it in Jake's match, but unfortunately they were too good in the doubles as it turned out.''

Velocity couldn't salvage any pride in the doubles, with Damien Ward and Alun Jones outclassed by Adam Feeney and Ryan Henry, losing 4-0, 4-2, while Todd Larkham and Jake Eames lost in a super tie-breaker to Nick Lindahl and Matthew Barton 4-3 (5-4), 1-4 (10-3).