Mine was a tennis family. My mother and two older brothers played and my father built an ant bed tennis court in our backyard in Rockhampton, including silt from the Fitzroy River. We even strung up some lights so we could play at night. I’m talking about the 1940s here and I couldn’t wait to get home from school to play. Tennis was my passion then and still is.
I firmly believe you can’t be an enduring champion in our sport if you don’t love the game.
I particularly used to enjoy the competition and camaraderie with great players like Lew Hoad, Ken Rosewall, Pancho Gonzales and so many more from Australia and around the world. We were fierce competitors on court but great mates off it. The tradition was that the winner shouted drinks in the club house afterwards!
Wimbledon is the holy grail for any tennis player. If you said to any player you can only ever win one Grand Slam title – they would choose Wimbledon every time. It’s the tradition, it’s the grass and to me it’s the ‘world championships’ of tennis. I was fortunate to win there four times and when I walk through those great iron gates, it still sends a shiver down my spine.
Left-handed (one-handed backhand)
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