SYDNEY TAKES SWING AT NETTING PRIME PLACE IN TENNIS HISTORY

Melbourne will host the Australian Open this month but it seems the birthplace of lawn tennis in the fledgling colonies was most likely Sydney. 

The Naval Historical Society of Australia suggests in the paper Australia’s First Tennis Match, released today, that the military base of Garden Island was the site of the first grass court, the game having been introduced by a British Royal Navy officer . 

An 1880 plan of Garden Island shows a ‘‘ lawn tennis ground’ ’ on the levelled site of the original First Fleet ships’ garden. There is mention of the game in The Sydney Mail of September 26, 1874 on how to produce the perfect lawn tennis court, which, the research says, means ‘‘ it is likely that tennis was then being played in Sydney’’ . 

The study states that both Melbourne and Sydney have credible claims to being first , but concludes: ‘‘ Although Melbourne was by far the largest city at that time [legacy of the gold rush], Sydney was significant for its British/military personnel’’ . 

Historian Colin Randall, who carried out the research, said: ‘‘ There is a convincing case that it was Commodore James Graham Goodenough, Royal Navy (or somebody closely associated with him) who brought tennis to Australia, and that he played the game on Garden Island in late 1873 or early 1874.’’ 

His research proposes lawn tennis, originally known as sphairistike, really took off in Britain when a Major Walter Wingfield was granted a patent for a ‘‘ New and Improved Court for Playing the Ancient Game of Tennis’ ’ as well as copyright for rules for playing the game. He also started selling boxed sets of equipment needed to play the game. The Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VII) and his family are said to have been early adopters of sphairistike and to have been skilled players. 

Wingfield and Goodenough were acquaintances. The thinking is that Wingfield used his military and navy contacts to spread the game, and his tennis sets, internationally. 

The research explains: ‘‘ In May 1873, James Goodenough was appointed captain of HMS Pearl and commander-in-chief of the Australia Station, arriving in Sydney in September 1873. His duties there would have encompassed social connections with the city’s leading figures , among whom would have been the editor of The Sydney Mail. It is possible that they witnessed, if not played, the first game of tennis played in Australia.’’ 

The research says Victorians may have been first to hear about tennis, with an article in the Mount Alexander Mail of June 25, 1874 (three months before The Sydney Mail’s ), but it says, ‘‘ no public grounds, no barrack square should be without it’’ . 

The Age of June 5, 1875, reporting on trends in Britain, states: ‘‘ Last summer lawn tennis was the rage, during the summer people ‘went in’ for skating on wheels and now everybody is mad about . . . poker.’’ 

The tennishistory.com.au website states: ‘‘ Thanks to tennis historian Clive Oliver, we have learned much about the arrival of tennis in Melbourne which has been published in the book Amazing Grace: The Story of the Grace Park Lawn Tennis Club. From this book . . . we know that a visiting UK player to Melbourne found a set of tennis equipment in the confines of the MCC storeroom which in 1877 had remained unused.’’ 

David Michael, president of the Naval Historical Society of Australia, said the intention of the research was to create debate to see if there was any conclusive evidence. 

Source: SMH 1Jan24

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Manly Seaside Results 2023

Web Site Changes

Following the ownership transfer of the Manly Tennis Centre (MTC),  MTC has established its own independent website. You can find it here: https://manlytenniscentre.com.au/.
Consequently, the Manly Lawn website has now been revised to incorporate these updates. You’ll will notice some changes in the Menu choices.
The Tennis Whisperer section, previously part of Manly Tennis Centre subdomain, has relocated to its new digital home at www.tenniswhisperer.com.  This website teaches tennis strategy to players of various ages and skill levels.
Our profound gratitude goes to the professionals, coaches, playing partners, and cherished friends
who have generously shared their tennis knowledge and experiences over the course of five decades.
These invaluable insights form the foundation of the strategies outlined in this new website.
Webmaster

HOUSE GREEN STARS IN 2023 MLTC CLUB CHAMPS

OPEN MEN’S DOUBLES WINNERS:  Warren Green and Cameron Green

OPEN MEN’S SINGLES RUNNER UP: Cameron Green (2022 Winner)

OPEN WOMEN’S DOUBLES WINNERS: Lisa Green and Caroline Bhaguandas

 

When two young tennis players, one from England and the other from South Africa, met on the UK tennis circuit in the late ‘80s, it was the beginning of the remarkable, now local, sporting Green family.

Lisa grew up in England with parents who played tennis. Warren built on his tennis as a student at the University of Capetown, and was called on to represent the South African defence force in tennis instead of two years compulsory national service fighting in Angola.  At ages 19 and 24 respectively, Lisa and Warren met on the UK circuit.

Warren played doubles and mixed doubles, and Lisa played singles at Wimbledon. Warren ranked in the top 150 in doubles and also played in the US Open, while Lisa ranked in the top 250 in singles.

At the age of 24, Lisa moved to South Africa to marry Warren.

Elder son Chris was born, followed three years later by younger son Cameron. Unsurprisingly both boys were keen sportsmen and both parents wanted them to be well-rounded in sport. Along with the tennis in their genes, other sports including cricket were a part of the boys’ lives growing up.

In 2001, when Chris was 7 and Cam 4, the family Green moved from Johannesburg to Australia and fell in love with the country and with Manly.  Although settled on the North Shore, they always knew they’d come back to the Manly area, and have now been living in Fairlight for the past 9 years. In February, the Greens will have been living in Australia for 23 years.

With education a major focus of both parents, both boys completed business degrees, but sport has remained an abiding passion for the Green family.  Today, Chris’ commitment to cricket sees him as current Acting Captain of BBL cricket team Sydney Thunder and he was recently called up to replace Adam Zampa in the national squad playing the T20 series against India. As a tennis player, Chris has also occasionally partnered with his father Warren in his MLTC Badge team.

Younger brother Cam always knew tennis was the sport for him. In Year 11 he decided he would study in the USA on a tennis scholarship. He subsequently gained entry to Furman College, a Division 1 South Carolina school, after which he played for 18 months on the tour. When COVID hit, 2020 saw him back in Australia coaching tennis and he currently works as a mergers and acquisition analyst. Cam was last year’s MLTC’s Open Men’s Singles champion and for both Green boys, tennis has provided a good introduction to life and in Cam’s case, an easy transition to a business career.

Photo: House Green: L to R   Lisa, Chris, Cameron and Warren Green

‘Goss’ Editor: Pamela Muir

COOPER PARK: Residents fight not to share tennis courts because plan will ‘attract noisy children’

Plans to allow sports such as netball and pickleball to use tennis courts in Sydney’s eastern suburbs have been dumped after residents claimed it would attract children and generate noise.
Woollahra Municipal Council will hold a new tender process to find an operator for the Cooper Park tennis courts in Woollahra following strong opposition to a proposal to share the facility with other sports.
Councillors this month rejected the advice of council staff to hand a seven-year lease to Sydney Sports Management Group, which operates a number of tennis centres and displayed “a better program of multi-court uses”.

Senior Moments on Court: Murray Loses Mental Battle to DeMinaur in Paris ATP.

Andy Murray is often regarded as the embodiment of resilience, with a titanium hip testament to his unwavering determination. Volumes have been written about his heroic comeback from an injury that nearly ended his professional tenure. However, the recent disappointing loss has cast a shadow, suggesting that it’s his mental fortitude that’s now eroding more swiftly than his physical prowess.

On a Monday afternoon in Paris, Murray seemed poised for victory against Alex de Minaur, ahead with a commanding double-break. The press had their celebratory headlines at the ready. But the atmosphere shifted when DeMinaur approached his break point, and a sinking feeling of the inevitable took hold.

This event marks another chapter in a challenging phase that began with the Wimbledon marathon against Stefanos Tsitsipas, where Murray has repeatedly stumbled when on the brink of victory. Murray himself appeared perplexed by his gradual downfall, remarking that he couldn’t recall a similar experience. This admission did little to alleviate the sadness that many onlookers felt.

Witnessing a champion of Murray’s stature grapple with his inner struggles evokes a profound sadness. The distress was palpable when, at 5-4, Murray, normally a model of agility in a sport that prizes such a trait, was visibly constrained, his movements reminiscent of an amateur’s stiffness. His forehand, tentative at first, devolved into a misdirected shot that sailed past the baseline.

Aging in sports often brings a heightened awareness of potential failure. While the youth may charge forward with minimal trepidation, seasoned athletes can become preoccupied with thoughts of what lies ahead or haunted by recent missteps. The essence of sports psychology is to stay immersed in the moment, yet the results of that Monday seemed to narrate a different tale. Alongside Murray, both Stan Wawrinka and Richard Gasquet, seasoned players themselves, succumbed after having match points in their grasp, all victims to what could be described as a “senior moment.”

Tennis, with its idiosyncrasies, can be maddening, as club players can attest. There’s nothing more frustrating than moving your opponent all over the court, earning the juiciest of short balls, and then blaring the put-away into the back fence. That’s effectively what he did on Monday, only on a larger scale.

But the trick in these instances is to focus on the 95 per cent that went right. Murray has had DeMinaur on the rack twice in the past month. If he keeps playing that way, he should be able to resume his climb up the world rankings, which recently carried him inside the top 40 for the first time since his hip surgery.

And should despair loom, Murray can reflect on his early-season triumphs, such as his consecutive deciding set victories, often from the brink of defeat. Attributing that streak to “the law of averages” after a series of narrow losses, Murray now needs only to believe in the pendulum’s capacity to swing once more.

SOURCE- Telegraph, London

Expert spotlights Novak Djokovic’s health nonsense

Exercise physiologist Nick Tiller, MRes, PhD, has described several scientifically unsupported health products and practices promoted by tennis champion Novak Djokovic. [Tiller N. Novak Djokovic and the pseudoscience grand slam. Skeptical Inquirer, Aug 28, 2023] The dubious practices and beliefs Djokovic has promoted include:
• the TaoPatch, which he calls the biggest secret of his career and wore during the 2023 French Open. (According to the manufacturer, this uses nanotechnology to “convert natural body heat into microscopic beams of light to stimulate the nervous system.”)
• the Pyramid of the Sun, a hill in the Bosnian town of Visoko, said to have been built by an ancient civilization and enshrined with magical healing properties
• “energetic medicine” used by a practitioner who determined Djokovic’s arm strength was diminished when a piece of bread was pressed to his stomach
• “detoxifying” with beverages he prepares for his morning routine
• purifying “toxic” foods and polluted water through “energetical transformation”
• opposition to vaccination.

Richard Makes Wimbledon Debut!

Richard (Steeds) qualified for the MT700 – British Closed event, part of the Masters Tour (formerly known as IFT events).

Held at Wimbledon’s AELTC facility, matches were played on the Aorangi practice courts. Previously, some matches were on main courts but now exclusively on Aorangi. Aorangi offered excellent facilities including change rooms, physio, and a kitchen. The only complaint — no beer on tap, Pimms was on tap! Beer was $A12 a bottle!

Open to various age groups, from 30 to 90 in 5-year intervals, some matches were also at the AELTC Community Tennis Centre Raynes Park. The latter has grass and indoor courts available for public hire.

Richard played in the Men’s +60 and Men’s doubles +60 events. He won his first round singles played at Aorangi and played my doubles later that day. A strong match losing to a good pair. He reported that the courts were slower than Manly’s mod grass courts.

Day 2 at Raynes Park: Richard played the 4th seed in singles. It was a windy morning that turned rainy by 1:15pm, leaving the match unfinished at one set each. The match resumed indoors at 6pm. Transitioning to an indoor court proved challenging and his opponent adapted more quickly. Ultimately, Richard lost the match.

What a great experience! Well done Richard!!

 For more details, refer to the tournament’s website: https://itfmasters.tournamentsoftware.com/sport/draws.aspx?id=0B1E26CB-E355-4374-B4CC-4210C93AA60E.

 

Christopher Eubanks’ Inspiring Wimbledon Journey

Christopher Eubanks has captured the hearts of Wimbledon fans with his inspiring journey to the quarter-finals. The 27-year-old American, known for his amiable personality, recently broke into the world’s top 100. Eubanks’ path to success has been marked by challenges, self-doubt, and travels with his mentor, Donald Young.

Eubanks, who hails from Atlanta, Georgia, grew up in a tennis-loving family. He was coached by his father from a young age and benefited from Atlanta’s thriving tennis scene, with players like Jarmere Jenkins and Donald Young providing guidance. Young played a significant role in Eubanks’ life, becoming a mentor figure and offering him opportunities to train and compete at a professional level.

During their travels together, Eubanks faced various mishaps and funny incidents that endeared him to those around him. Despite his lighthearted demeanor, Eubanks had struggled with self-belief for a long time. However, Young and others recognized his potential and encouraged him to aim higher.

After playing US college tennis at Georgia Tech, Eubanks honed his skills and gained confidence under the guidance of head coach Kenny Thorne. He had a standout college career and decided to turn professional in 2017. Eubanks’ belief in his abilities grew as he embraced his identity as a big server and feared opponent.

Off the court, Eubanks is known for his friendly and approachable nature, making him a favorite among fellow players. His focus on enjoying the game and maintaining a positive mindset has contributed to his success. Eubanks believes that being true to himself and finding joy in the sport is crucial for playing his best tennis.

Christopher Eubanks’ inspiring journey, coupled with his amicable personality and exciting playing style, has endeared him to fans and made him a beloved figure at Wimbledon.

Source: The Atlantic July 2023

 

 

 

 

Manly Junior Wins Metro Sydney Junior Tournament

Manly Junior Bede K won the the U16 Boys Sydney Metropolitan doubles championship at Homebush this week.

In the semi-finals, Bede and his partner, Daniel C, both 14 years, defeated the formidable, and older, #1 seeds in a thrilling match that ended in 3/6, 7/5, 10/7 win. As Bede said afterwards “we got ‘em in the super”.

Building on their momentum, Bede and Daniel continued their winning streak in the final by defeating the #2 seeds with a commanding score of 6/4, 6/3.

Congrats Bede!

 

 

 

The Enduring Significance of No. 23 in Djokovic’s Career | SMH

Novak Djokovic is now alone at the men’s tennis summit, writes Marc McGowan. The No.23 is one of the most famous in all sports. Michael Jordan, LeBron James, David Beckham and Australia’s own Shane Warne have been legendary athletes who achieved greatness with that number on their backs.
Tennis, too, has an affinity with 23 (Serena Williams retired with that many grand slams), and now even more so with Novak Djokovic’s historic French Open victory on Sunday night that made him the most successful men’s grand slam singles champion.
The Serbian star’s 7-6 (7-1 ), 6-3 , 7-5 defeat of Norway’s Casper Ruud will forever be remembered as the moment Djokovic became beyond all doubt the greatest men’s player of his generation – and probably ever.
He boasts 23 grand slam singles titles, snapping his deadlock with Spaniard Rafael Nadal, the undisputed king of clay, who was not fit enough to play at Roland-Garros this year. He even joined Jordan, James and co. in wearing the No.23 after pulling on a jacket post-triumph to recognise his feat. Fittingly, this happened in 2023.
Ruud summed it up perfectly: ‘‘ Another day, another record for you, and another day you rewrite tennis history. It’s tough to explain how incredible it is, how good you are, and what an inspiration you are to so many people around the world – I know this probably tastes the best of all.’’
Djokovic reclaimed the No.1 ranking from his semi-final victim, Carlos Alcaraz, and is the sole man to win every grand slam at least three times. He won a 10th Australian Open in January, has triumphed seven times at Wimbledon, and now also the French Open and US Open on three occasions.
A serious case could be mounted that he is the best active athlete in all sports. He has never captured the calendar grand slam – winning all four majors in the same year – but is halfway there in 2023.
Source: https://www.smh.com.au/sport/tennis/why-sport-s-famous-no-23-will-forever-matter-to-incomparable-djokovic-20230612-p5dfqv.html
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scott Blackburn: 40 Years as The Professional Face of the Club

Court size and net height are the only things that have not changed in Tennis Director Scott Blackburn’s 40-year tenure at the Club. What has changed is the way the game is played, due to the wider range of player ages, balls, racquets, clothes and court surfaces.

Developments in racket and string technology mean that tennis can now be played, and played well, from ages 9 to 90. Even so, the true essence of tennis: low intensity exercise, social interaction and friendly competition, remains constant.

A new constant, says Scott, is the accelerating use of mobile phones and social media which is rapidly altering the way we interact, exercise and engage in tennis.  As the public face of the Club, the Manly Tennis Centre (MTC) is using these technologies to make it easier for players to book courts, lessons and competitions.

It’s a far cry from when Scott first held a racquet at the age of ten – introduced to the sport by his father Boyd, a keen social player despite being a footie tragic.

By the age of 15 he was a member of the historic Manly Lawn Tennis Club (MLTC), going on to play 1.1 Badge for the Club on what was then a grass court oasis in the heart of Manly. However times were changing at Manly Lawn and in the late 70s, two of the grass courts were converted to the new synthetic surface. The general public could use these courts, so the hiring of courts and scheduling was handed over to a local Manly sports store.

The young Scott, together with a mate, saw an opportunity. Backed by his experience working part time providing coaching and general management duties at a local Dee Why centre with indoor tennis and squash courts, Scott put a proposal to the MLTC Committee and in February 1983, while still a playing member of the Club, he began the full-time management of the facility, continuing what was to become a 45 year relationship with the Manly Lawn Tennis Club.

By the end of 1984, the grass was gone and all courts were synthetic, opening up the court usage to members and non-members alike, irrespective of time or conditions for play. Scott continued to co-ordinate usage of the courts in conjunction with the Club and under the banner of MTC, developed coaching opportunities and competition programs open to all players.

While Scott’s playing might have slowed a little, as Tennis Director, life continues to pick up the pace. With the recent re-launch of the Manly Tennis Centre post COVID, Scott, his wife General Manager Carmela Blackburn and their support team marry their playing experience with today’s communication technologies to access and fine-tune their programs and services.

Programs which include extended coaching, play and tennis camps for juniors, midweek day and night competitions for men and women, intensive coaching sessions for adults and the holistic Tennis Whisperer program.

“Tennis is a sport for life”, says Scott. “And at MTC it’s tennis for today’s life. Electronic payment facilities, online booking, QR codes (quick response via your smart phone) to get immediate information to determine which program or support service is the one you’re after, are all services we provide to enable you to choose in what ways tennis can best fit into your life.”

Today, after some 40 years at the helm, Scott potentially holds the record as the longest continuous manager of a Club/community tennis facility in NSW, possibly in Australia. He is a well-known and gregarious identity in Manly and has helped position the Club as a critical part of Manly’s local and international attractions, including the Manly Seaside championships

“As a sport, tennis is a fantastic social tool for players at all levels. You can travel anywhere in the world and turn up at a local court for a game,” he says. ”As Tennis Director of the Manly Tennis Centre, I’ve made a lot of great friends.”

Good Luck for the future, Scott!

Pamela Lloyd, Goss Editor, interviewed Scott for this article.