Sunday, 16 April 2017


With one of the most picturesque World Tennis Tournaments about to begin on the French Riviera I thought it appropriate to post a chapter from my book that I put together last year on this site.
Monte Carlo is a place of rare beauty.....

The following two posts are ones I wrote while thinking about the place I wanted to visit more than any other ever since I was a young lad with dreams of becoming a pro tennis player. I think it was because the name of the place has a feel to it like no other.

Monte Carlo has many things written all over it, glamour, exclusiveness, among others. There was no chance of it ever being a let down.
Blog May 2014
When you travel around Europe with 2 mates in a very small car the sense of humour wears thin , that's when you call on your 'other self' for ideas on how to create some sanity. My idea of leaving one of our touring party at a truck stop was   rather harsh to say the least , my next idea turned out to be possibly the greatest idea of my life .
I don't quite remember the ins and outs of our conversation that day but all I know is that my idea to leave Brett and Peter and go look at The French Riviera was a 'master stroke'.
'See you guys in two weeks' were my last words as I left Peter and Brett in Paris and bound a train for the French Riviera. I started at the top as far as destinations were concerned and I enjoyed every minute of the five hours or so of silence . No singing, no threatening to kill anyone, no arguments regarding who had the worst haircut , just peace and quiet.
When I hopped off at the train station all I heard was noise, loud noise, the noise of cars. Here I was expecting the sound of birds singing and waves rolling into the harbor so what on earth was this ?! I saw a Policeman ahead of me and asked him the following;
'Eskoo voo parlay ongley'(Do you speak English?)
'Wee, Bonjour'.
"Bonjour, what's the noise please ?
'Grand Prix'
"What Grand Prix ? Monaco Grand Prix " ?
 'Wee Monsieur'.
 "You dinkum" ?
'Dinkum Monsieur' ?
"Sorry mate Aussie slang, thank you for your help ".
I jagged the one weekend of my first ever trip to Europe and in particular Monte Carlo and the Monaco Grand Prix was on. Like the Mid Strength beer commercials on television, what's the chances ???? 
I stayed at a Youth Hostel just out of the main part of town in Monte Carlo, from memory it cost me about $25 Australian for the night, cheap as chips. I drank Fosters beer ( Fosters was a sponsor ) and watched the Monaco Grand Prix , practice one day , the real deal the next, I could not believe my luck. 

I 'lived it up' with fellow tourists at a hostel that I had to share with five other room mates, sure, not luxury but affordable on my budget. 
My two days in Monte Carlo were nothing short of unbelievable and I visited the Monte Carlo Country Club, the scene of Bjorn Borg's final match on tour plus his come back match. The following chapter from my Blog documents my thoughts on the most amazing tennis club I have ever visited.

Blog, May 2014


When you get off a train on the French Riviera you don't just get out and start walking, you almost count your steps, it's like one of those great privileges in life that you feel you should be taking notes on. All I really remember from that day in May all those years ago was that I was in a place that I was sure only really existed on a postcard.
Tennis to me as a kid began at Monte Carlo because Bjorn Borg lived there, he owned a sports store there and he won the tournament on three occasions.
In fact Bjorn Borg may just own the record for the least amount of games conceded at Monte Carlo as in '77, '79 and 80 he lost just 17 games in three finals which back then were best of five sets. To put that into perspective the great man from Sweden won 54 games, that's a winning game percentage of a little over 72 per cent.
So to be heading to the Monte Carlo Country Club on cobble stones past views of the harbour and million dollar cruise liners was a walk that perhaps was out of a Hollywood movie as opposed to real life.
Have you ever seen 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels' starring Steve Martin ? That movie from memory was shot on location not far from Monte Carlo, Villefranche-sur-Mer, another  magnificent French town built on the side of a mountain overlooking the Mediterranean ocean. If you were fortunate enough to watch that rather silly movie you will appreciate the stunning way in which the French people live.
It was a rather surreal feeling when I finally made it through the gates at the Country Club where my hero played his final tennis match in a career that defied logic and one that ceased all too prematurely at age 26. My thoughts on Borg's career were simple.
If he had played until he was Roger Federer's age who knows what his record may have looked like but maybe it's what makes Borg's eleven Grand Slam victories even more brilliant. By age 26 I don't believe there have been too many better Grand Slam records, perhaps only Federer's record surpasses it.
The Monte Carlo Country Club is a place of tranquillity and a place of Hollywood movie status where every step you take is one of respect toward not only the game of tennis but towards your inspiration to play the game. Yes I was inspired by two tennis players from Sweden but Borg was my hero in life before he was my hero in tennis. I loved what he did and he did it with a calmness that I have not seen since.
Mats Wilander replaced Borg for me as someone to follow after Borg's retirement from tennis but he would never replace the aura that surrounded Borg.
I will never forget the way he waved to his wife Mariana when the going was getting real tough in a Wimbledon final, it was his way of letting her know that he was in control despite the score line. He was known as the 'Ice Man' but that gesture was his way of showing that he had a human side to his almost robot like mannerisms on court.
Borg owned a style that has never been replicated since, he did it with grace and he owned a conscience. He was polite, courteous to officials and ball kids and he was a player who you would aspire to be like. He was a 'Rock Star' and a tennis player all rolled into one.
Monte Carlo and Bjorn Borg were as big a part of tennis to me at age 21 as they were when I first hit a ball as a 12   year old and it inspired me to eventually visit Europe.
If it weren't for Borg I would never have played tennis and I would never have visited a place that I still regard as the most amazing place I have ever seen.
It is a part of the World that has been sculptured out of a mountain overlooking the water where the rich and famous spend their spare time.
Tennis can give you a hard time mentally however it can also take you places, literally.........

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