TENNIS: Rocky tennis players set to turn back time
TENNIS: Rockhampton players will turn back the clock for a special event on the tennis calendar and to mark a sporting milestone this weekend.
Members of Cressy Tennis Club and Tennis Veterans Rockhampton Association will hit the courts for the annual Olive McBryde Challenge at Victoria Park from 8.30am on Sunday.
They will wear all white and play the first game of the day with wooden racquets to mark the 50th anniversary of Rod Laver's Wimbledon win in 1969.
The Rockhampton tennis legend went on to secure his second Grand Slam that year.
Laver won 11 Grand Slam titles, and is the only player to twice achieve the Grand Slam, the first of which he won in 1962.
McBryde was a much-loved member of both organisations, and the interclub challenge named in her memory is in its fifth year.
Some of those who will play on Sunday took to the Park Avenue court named in Laver's honour this week to try out the wooden racquets.
Cressy president Gordon Acutt said it would be a challenge using the smaller wooden racquets.
"I'm glad we've got the new racquets,” he said after his practice hit.
"It must have been hard in those days. They must have had a strong wrist and I think we will find it a bit hard on Sunday morning to play with wooden tennis racquets.”
Acutt said it felt great to play on the court on which Laver laid the platform for his stellar career.
"Rod is the greatest tennis player of all time,” he said.
"He has been a great inspiration for Rockhampton, Australia and the world as a tennis player and as a role model. He still is and always will be.”
Veterans president Lance Baxter said it would be a special occasion on Sunday, remembering two influential figures of Rockhampton tennis.
Cressy currently hold the trophy but the teams are locked at two wins apiece.
"This weekend's going to be a big one. I think it's going to be very close actually,” Baxter said.
"We want to make it a fun day so we'd like people from all over Rockhampton to come along.
"We'd love to hear any stories they have about Olive McBryde or Rod Laver.”