Wednesday, 8 January 2014


If ever there was a setting for a country Tennis Tournament that was straight from a post card it would have to be the Emu Point Tennis Club situated a long stone's throw from the beach in Albany , my home town . The club has many memories for me , from the days when I was a kid who used to jump the fence with my buddy to hit a few balls without paying court hire , to winning the Doubles title a few times with some good mates . The Albany Open has had some great players contest the event , none more so than my old Coach Peter Holmes who quite frankly 'owned ' the Albany Open for many years as he took on and beat all before him , it didn't matter who he played with , he always won . The closest I ever got to Peter was a 6-3, 6-3 loss in the final in around 1995 , my partner and I lost two close fought sets but Peter only ever needed a service break each set to secure a win .
The bar used to be open at the Sporting Club at lunch time and many a player who were having an average day resorted to the amber fluid for a 'confidence boost' and in some cases it made for some rather memorable tennis in more ways than one . Some players got better with a beer or two whereas some found it difficult to focus "hey buddy you were hitting it better this morning , something in your salad roll"?? For some reason , the bar doesn't open now until maybe 4 pm , a shame as some of my fondest memories came from watching and playing guys who indulged a little too much at lunch time , maybe one day they may switch back to what brought some light hearted entertainment.
I didn't win the  Albany Open Doubles title until the year 2000 , amidst some rather fortunate luck as my buddy from juniors Ted Adams and I saved two match points to take the title.
We played local car dealer Max Loveridge and junior Tennis coach John Quinn in the second last round and Max served for the match and twice had match point . The first I remember as possibly the bravest thing I ever saw Ted do on a tennis court , he chipped Max's serve and charged the net , hitting a winning volley into the doubles alley , the second was pure luck . Sudden death on a short deuce and I played it like I told Ted to , conservatively , luckily Ted didn't , he would 've missed it without a doubt, sort of player he was. I struck a cross court forehand that really was an average shot but it was just wide enough to make Quinny stretch and he missed his volley by a good foot , I honestly believe that shot was one of the easiest volleys he had all day , maybe the nerves played a part , it was a big point . Ted and I went on to win our last match easily and took the Title , our first together and in particular it was my first Albany Open win , after years of getting belted by my former coach Peter , but tennis is like that. If you hang around long enough , keep fit and keep thinking about the game it actually becomes clearer . Win , lose or go to the bar early , the Albany Open will always be my favourite Tennis Tournament , a time to catch up with mates and smell the sea air . The peppy trees and the caravan park behind the courts give it a back drop that only a small country Tennis Tournament in the summer holidays can offer , a special time of year........

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