Tennis: Follow a Stranger

I’ve never been a huge follower of tennis, but last year I went all out a bought a ground pass to the first Tuesday of the Aus Open.

We settled in to our semi-shaded seats in one of the “show courts” to watch a typical early round Ladies singles encounter. I had never heard of the eventual loser, Vania King, who was (naturally) bundled out 4 and 2.

Next up for our Summer of Tennis (does January alone constitute “Summer”?) were two young-by-my-standards Aussies, James Duckworth and Ben Mitchell, both of whom were on the way to journeymen status already. They put on a ding-dong, crackerjack, did you know they are best mates off the court performance, but as the sun ascended and our shade vanished, we decided to leave our seats, with the tussle evenly poised (is it ever unevenly poised?) at a set apiece.

We journeyed to the nether regions of the complex, seemingly north of Flinders Street, to take in some of the even lesser known combatants.

An Israeli by the name Amir Weintraub emerged triumphantly from court 15, to be met by a vocal throng of well wishers.

Next to them was Tommy Robredo, highest ever ranking of 5 in the world, against “about to become Canadian” Jesse Levine, the Tony Liberatore of world tennis. Robredo, returning from injury, was unable to match the fitness of the feisty left hander, and travelled all the way down-under to get rolled. (Post-script, Tommy is now back at number 18 in the world)

We were unable to get back to see the Duckworth Mitchell method, er, match, but the former prevailed in five gruelling sets.

I resolved to follow King, Weintraub and Levine through their 2013 year, thanks to the wonders of Google News. Surprisingly, I was expecting to be on the end of daily updates, but I could go for weeks on end without hearing anything about Levine or King, but Weintraub’s exploits for the (not very Kosher) Boston Lobsters kept him in the news.

King started 2014 in fine form, winning her way into the semis at the time-honoured  Shenzen Open, but she had to forfeit, so I’m not sure if she will be making an appearance in Melbourne.

Levine bagged £38000 for his first round win at Wimbledon, which was his season highlight. Not sure if he will be back here in 2014 either.

So, pick a strange name or two, fire up Google News,  and watch out for regular updates to extend your Summer of Tennis into a year round affair.

About Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt

Saw my first SANFL game in 1967 - Dogs v Peckers. Have only ever seen the Dogs win 1 final in the flesh (1972 1st Semi) Mediocre forward pocket for the AUFC Blacks (1982-89) Life member - Ormond Netball Club -That's me on the right


  1. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks Swish yep will do go the , Duckworth Mitchell Method

  2. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    King won in the first round today.

    How will Duckworth go against the mayor of West Lakes tonight?

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