STEPHEN Gort is hoping to help breed FNC's future champions - while still showing he knows a thing or two about tennis success.
Mullumbimby player Gort and partner Ross Taylor claimed the open men's doubles title at the recent Gold Coast Bruce Lynton BMW Rosebowl Tennis Championships.
The event offers thousands of dollars in prize money and is one of Queensland's premier events. Past winners include Rod Laver, Pat Cash and Bernard Tomic.
While now focusing on coaching, former travelling pro Gort said he and Taylor were delighted with their triumph. "Roscoe and I were surprised to get the win," Gort said. "When you see some of the names involved in this event, it is huge.
"I have played this event every year since I was a kid, so it's a bit of a tradition for me.
"It was great to win."
After battling through the knockout rounds, the unseeded pair claimed a final triumph with a 6-3, 0-6, 10-4 victory over fourth seeds Ryan Simmons and Robert Stirling.
It was a commendable triumph for Gort, who took up the sport as a seven-year-old and started playing in Mullumbimby.
The 23-year-old later spent time at the prestigious John Newcombe tennis ranch in Texas before attempting to carve out a professional career.
After travelling extensively, he opted to move into coaching about three years ago and recently moved back to Mullumbimby after a spell on the Gold Coast.
He now hopes to establish a coaching academy and is overseeing the progress of promising Pottsville junior Louis Clark.
"Financially, I could not keep myself going," Gort said.
"It is a long road to the top. I put hours and hours of work in and I still didn't get there.
"In some ways coaching is more enjoyable.
"It is great seeing the kids learn what you are teaching them."
"I have no regrets."
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