Lismore tennis player returning to competition after injury
BATTLING Nathan Moore won't just battle other tennis aces at this year's Lismore Open Championships - he'll be looking to smash the mental demons too.
The 24-year-old will play his first competitive match in more than a year at the tournament, which starts today.
Lismore player Moore was ranked among the country's best and was aiming to carve out a living on the Australian circuit when he was struck down by a serious shoulder injury.
Now he has to defy the rustiness and attempt to salvage his career.
"It's going to be nerve-racking," Moore said.
"It is exciting to play competitively again, although the injury is in the back of my mind.
"Hopefully I can get on, see how far behind I am and how I can improve."
Moore was ranked in the country's 200 male players when he was diagnosed with a serious right shoulder problem about 18 months ago.
He needed reconstructive surgery, with a cyst in the same shoulder complicating matters.
Moore, whose older brother Brendan is among Australia's top players, spent 14 weeks with his arm in a sling and lost most of the movement and strength in his limb while recovering.
He finally got back on the practice court about four weeks ago and has been hard at work ever since.
"Towards the end of my rehab, I was nervous about hitting serves and getting injured again," he said.
"I had to get used to swinging a racquet again, which was strange."
Moore was a regular player at domestic tournaments before his injury and is hopeful of re-invigorating a professional career.
"I was hoping to travel around (the circuit) with my brother," he said.
"Hopefully I can try to get back to where I was.
"I know it's going to take a while and I don't have high hopes for this tournament,if I'm honest.
"Playing my 'home' event is always nice. It's great that this is first one back for me."
As well as contesting the singles, Moore will play with his older brother in the open men's doubles.
About 50 top players from the region and across Australia have entered the four-day tournament.
Action gets started at the Lismore Tennis Club event this morning.