British Open Real Tennis Championships 2017

Updated: 05 Dec 2017
Published: 21 Nov 2017

Camden Riviere retains his Open Singles title against Bryn Sayers

British Open Real Tennis Championships 2017

The Real Tennis British Open 2017 at Queen’s Club

All ten of the world’s top ten players signed up for the event of the year, with only one falling by the wayside at the last hurdle due to visa issues.

There were many tense moments, as the challenge for the World Championships held here next April hung in the balance because it was the last tournament of the whole season and would decide who would sneak into the final qualifying space.

The British Open Singles

Unlike the French Open there were no major upsets leading into the quarterfinals, although it was remarkable how quickly the resident professional Bryn Sayers managed to dispatch the world number 9 Nicky Howell in the round of sixteen.

Disaster struck early for Tim Chisholm who had torn his MCL in his knee just before the quarters and was forced to pull out against the World Champion, Camden Riviere. Despite this setback, Tim still managed to get fit enough to play with Camden in the Doubles. More on that later.

Chris Chapman managed to squeeze through in 5 against Kieran Booth, but it was a seriously scrappy match. Kieran (the world’s leading amateur) was serving the contentious boomerang, but was not quite keeping it tight enough to keep the world number 4 at bay.

Bryn also had a five setter against Steve Virgona (3), but ended the process in dramatic style with 12 clean games in a row.

Former World Champion Rob Fahey managed to get the better of Ben Taylor-Matthews again, but the score-line was a tight 6/2 4/6 6/4 6/4.

The semi-finals saw Camden pitted against Chris Chapman, but the American was deadly efficient and ended proceedings by only dropping 2 games in the whole match. The other semi was a different story altogether as Bryn and Rob had an intensely tight battle, but from 5/2 down in the fourth Sayers managed to sneak his third set without needing to go to a fifth.

Bryn had managed to beat the numbers 2 and 3 in the world to get to the final, but Camden Riviere stood in the way of the title. The first set saw an exemplary performance from the Welshman as he tore Camden out of his comfort zone on many occasions with tight serving and some punchy backhand winners, but ultimately the defending champion closed it 6/4. Riviere then steamrollered through the second set 6/0, but was held off from winning for a fair bit longer in the third as Bryn rallied and managed to get three games before eventually succumbing.

As a result of the Open Bryn was ever the moon that he had managed to qualify for the World Championship eliminator process that starts in January. Once again, poor Ben Taylor-Matthews had been denied at the last hurdle.

This title marked Camden’s first calendar year Grand Slam.

The British Open Doubles

As the tournament reached its latter stages the crowds were wondering whether the Americans could hold their title given that Tim had had to pull out of the singles just a day before the doubles semis. Whilst the first semi held a few close moments, USA managed to close out Australia (Chapman and Virgona) 6/3 6/5 6/0. In the other side of the draw Rob Fahey and Nick Howell took on Bryn Sayers and Kieran Booth, but whilst this match was the closer of the two it still only took three sets as the ‘Australian team’ won 6/5 6/2 6/4.

The final started off a little shaky for Rob and Nicky as the latter struggled to get a foothold given the pace of the balls flying around him and it looked like the match might be a foregone conclusion after a few minutes. The first set was to love. At this point not only did Rob seem to reach his top gear as he started commanding proceedings, but Nicky adjusted his positioning near the galleries and fought his way back into the pace of the game with gusto. The balls were flying at breakneck pace, but the volleying was matching the speed with strength, so the crowd were treated to an unbelievable spectacle.

In the end the Tim Chisholm and Camden Riviere won 6/0 3/6 6/5 6/5 winning the title, but also the first ever calendar year doubles grand slam of the four countries. Of course, this also made Camden the first to do both in one year.

Ben Ronaldson


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