You know you’re a tennis nut when… Davis Cup memories
As we get to Ghent for the Davis Cup final, we thought it a good opportunity to ask resident tennis nut, @JuanaWriter, to share some of her DC memories.
The first time I witnessed a live DC match was in the glorious eighties (yes, I’m old!) in the rickety old brown timber stands in Milton, Brisbane, Australia, at the then-QLTA grounds. QLTA being the Queensland Lawn Tennis Association.
So yes, it was on grass, in winter, and even though Brisbane has an average winter temp of 20 degrees (yes, Celcius!), you’d bust out your crocheted nanna blankie and thermos of hot chocolate, while trying to avoid getting splinters from the seats. Well, actually, they were long benches – like American ‘bleachers’, I guess – with numbers painted on them to identify where your piece of log started/ended, thereby marking the area within which one’s heiney could be placed.
I was a kid and it was exhilarating. My memory’s a bit hazy now, but I do recall seeing Fitzy, the two Macs – Paul MacNamee and Peter McNamara – Pat Cash and Mark Edmonson one year.
There was no Hawkeye, no Fanatics, no fancy retractable rooves – no a/c! Okay, some Davis Cup ties are still like that!
What I love about DC is that it fuels the tennis fire in the belly (#passionfire), revs up even the most dormant player/team, someone who may not have had the best season and gives developing players a chance to shine – career highlights/break-throughs at times. It’s one of the rare opportunities in tennis to represent your country and that is a HUGE honour. Even if it’s for a tie outside the World Group – as Australia has faced in recent years. In fact, the #passionfire might even be stronger when outside the World Group as the teams are desperately trying to get back in the World Group. NB Espana.
I also love how a DC tie can be played just about anywhere. Okay, let’s not talk about ‘the potato patch’ remarks by a certain Russian player in the late nineties (#coughelnacough), but I have enjoyed the privilege of seeing Aus play a gut-ripping, five-set, fifth live rubber against Switzerland at the Royal Sydney Golf Club – yes, you heard me, fancypants golf club on the harbour. The magnificent Pat Rafter Arena turned into a clay court venue – you have no idea how exciting (as an antipodean) it was just to see a live clay match! A stadium simply ‘appear’ within days just down the road from me at the traditional, old-school Cottesloe Tennis Club… just as they did for the horrendous (we should’ve won!) tie against Belgium in the rain-interrupted (destroyed more like it!) event in Cairns.
I’ve seen DC ties on grass, hard and clay, from the Aus hey-days to the resurgence evident now… I’ve been a ballkid and a volunteer… but you know what I really wanna see next? DC on Ice! Any takers?