The C and S Tennis Club 1984 ( GT vs my Doubles partner Dale Jones
Final of the Boys 16's Singles, Albany Junior Open.
The same spot that was once home to the biggest tennis centre in Albany.
The idea to write a post about my old tennis club has been going around in my head for a while because it's one of those things in life, do you drag it up or let it go ? The problem in my own head is that I own a tendency to do the former, I drag many tennis issues up however that's just me and being me aint easy, trust me.
I think the one thing that bothers me the most about the old Country and Suburban Tennis Club ( C and S ) is that it could so easily have been avoided. I refer to the closing of the club. How does a once hugely successful tennis club which saw hundreds of kids once take part in a junior open tournament in the holiday season suddenly fall apart and become a 'ghost club' almost overnight ? Tough question but as I always I look for answers.
The C and S Tennis Club was a club that had everything except a perfect location as it was on a busy highway, Albany Highway to be precise yet as a player you would get used to the constant sound of cars going by. New York has aeroplanes flying over at the US Open so a car when you think about it is not really a major distraction. As I said, you got used to it.
C and S had a huge club house, bbq area, a shed to watch matches from and above all it had EIGHT TENNIS COURTS. That was enough to hold an open tournament. Now this town only has six court clubs which do not cater for big tournaments so in a nutshell Albany does not hold big tennis tournaments. The Albany Open held at the Emu Point Tennis Club sees around 100 players hit the courts on a Saturday for Mens and Ladies A and B Grade doubles plus on the Sunday around 50 players contest the Mixed Doubles. So all in all it's not a bad effort from Emu Point to get through that many matches on six courts over a weekend.
So how easily would the C and S Tennis Club have been able to stage that same event over eight courts ? Well two extra courts do make a huge difference and the old junior event despite it's huge numbers was able to make it through Saturday and Sunday complete with best of three set matches for the finals which was the correct way to finish a tennis tournament.
Locally we now have to play on the clock or with a shortened version of scoring and tennis is not like that in the real World, just ask Mahut and Isner where they took three days to once complete a match at Wimbledon. Tennis tournaments should not be put on a clock, full stop, yet they are locally due to court availability.
So to the issues surrounding C and S and could they have been avoided and should that now defunct tennis club still be operating ? Well in my view it should be THE Albany Tennis Centre complete with lights and facilities upgraded to cater not only for 100 or more players on a Saturday ( juniors in the morning and seniors in the afternoon ) as it once did but it should be a showpiece for Great Southern tennis in general. The above photo tells another story.
Could the local town council have saved the club and resurfaced the courts, put in lights and kept it despite the droves of members who walked out on the club leaving it in disarray ? Well the club folded due to conflict within the committee and amongst members so there is your number one reason why you don't let people who are usually unsuccessful on court try to become successful in a boardroom.
I am sure that the C and S Tennis Club was not the first sporting club to be ruined by a group of people who could not get along and who couldn't make the correct decisions regarding what was in the best interests of a sport.
C and S needed to be handed to an independent group who actually had a vision for the sport in this town and should not have allowed it to be run by people with egos and personal agendas who did not have the good of tennis at the fore front of their decision making.
The final committee at the C and S Tennis Club simply washed their hands of the whole affair and could not see that the club was the future of tennis in this town. They found it easier to walk away from it and joined other clubs in town, Lawley, Emu and Merrifield.
I am sure those clubs would have been absolutely ecstatic with the influx of members at the time yet rather bemused all the same with the folding of the town's biggest tennis club.
Part 2 to follow......