August 17 – Cape Breton Post


Sydney tennis player ranked No. 1 in Canada heading into Cape Breton Open.

You could say Nathan Cloake’s tennis season has been a smashing success.

The 21-year-old Sydney native, who plays out of Cromarty Tennis Club, is Tennis Canada’s No. 1-ranked men’s class ‘A’ player in the country, winning all three tournaments he’s played in so far with titles at the Peter Durdle Open in New Waterford, the Truro Open in Truro, N.S., and the St. George’s Open in Dartmouth.

And he’ll be looking to make it four in row with the Cape Breton Open, which runs from Friday to Sunday at Cromarty Tennis Club in Sydney.

Cloake said despite the added pressure of being the top seed at his home court, he’s looking forward to the challenge.

“It does add a lot more pressure because playing at home, on my courts, as the No. 1 seed, you don’t want to lose in that situation. But my confidence is probably at an all-time high right now,” he said.

“In the previous years you’d go into the tournament wanting to win but when you looked at the people in the draw you knew who the top people were and you knew realistically who you could beat and who you couldn’t. Now anything less than winning is a disappointment, especially after the year I’ve built for myself.”

Cloake said his on-court success has more to do with his mental approach, noting that the pressure of being No. 1 seed means he has to bring his best every point of every match.

“Now I know I have to bring my A game every single match,” he said, “so I’m kind of preparing more and making sure that I’m giving 100 per cent effort on every point I play.”

Of course, his physical game doesn’t hurt. A lanky 6-2, Cloake plays an aggressive

serve-and-volley game, using his long wingspan to his advantage as he charges the net. It’s as effective as it is unorthodox in a sport where most players still like to play the baseline.

“I think it kind of catches a lot of people off guard and they don’t really know how to play

against it,” said Cloake. “A bigger guy running at you at the net, when they see you there they know they have to hit a pretty good shot to either get it past you or to get it over you.”