22 June 2014
Wimbledon, the “Hallowed Turf”. What an amazing event steeped in history and tradition and the golden prize for any aspiring tennis player.
Each year at this time in Australia people roll up to work bleary eyed after the previous night spent fixed on the TV watching the world’s best compete and dreaming of one day being able to visit this tennis Mecca.
Having had the opportunity to personally compete numerous times and coach many players who have played in this prestigious event, I am one of the lucky ones to have tasted, first hand, this amazing tournament.
Whilst I have many stories of life on the circuit I’d like to share a quick Wimbledon story with the readers on this occasion.
Back in the early 80’s when I was competing at Wimbledon there were 2 dressing rooms namely the A gentlemen’s dressing room and the B gentlemen’s dressing room. The A dressing room was reserved for seeded players with names such as Borg, Connors and McEnroe, whilst the B Dressing room housed the likes of myself and my contemporaries who as unseeded players were seen to be the underdogs.
Well being the competitive creatures that we were, all of the players in dressing room B had a secret rivalry with our A adversaries and if a player from “B” ever defeated an “A” player, a roar would go up when he returned to the dressing room after victory.
In 1983 I was not pleased when the draw was announced and I realized I was pitted against former Australian Open finalist John Lloyd. A factor which compounded my less than ideal draw was that he was definitely a huge favourite of the English public being one of there own compatriots.
The scene was set on court 2 and the stands were packed with only a few of it’s inhabitants wishing me victory. After 3 sets were played I was staring a 2 sets to 1 deficit in the face. Things were not looking good!!! As I strode to the net to shake hands after 5 grueling sets I was elated to have found myself on the right side of the ledger with a 6-1 5th set victory.
My best memory unbeknownst to the general public was the cheers and pats on the back when I came through the door of the B gentlemen’s dressing room.