After travelling to Bribie Island in October, Sherwood Probus members stayed local in November, visiting the Queensland Tennis Centre at Tennyson. We were guided on a behind the scenes tour of the Centre and later enjoyed a sumptuous morning tea in the cafe.
It’s amazing to think that the site of the Tennis Centre was formerly the Tennyson Power Station. Opened in 2009, it now comprises the main court named in honour of Queensland tennis champion Pat Rafter and a large number of outside courts with either a clay or grass surface.
Chris, our guide, took us through the precinct by firstly visiting the VIP viewing area, then down the champions’ corridors into the dressing rooms. The Centre hosts the Brisbane International tournament in January each year and it was a privilege to walk along the corridor which the players tread from their locker rooms to the main Pat Rafter Arena, focussing on the match ahead. This is also where post-match interviews are conducted and is not normally open to the public. As well as the Brisbane International Tournament, the Centre has also hosted Davis Cup and Federation Cup matches. As a point of interest, Rafael Nadal has an entourage of 2; Roger Federer, on the other hand, travels with an entourage of 26!
Chris was incredibly knowledgeable and overwhelmed us with inside information about the players, the tournaments and the technology involved. The Pat Rafter Arena is full of amazing technology, with the Hawkeye system providing an independent view on whether a ball is ‘in’ or ‘out’. The clay courts are resurfaced every year with the same clay used at Roland Garros; grass courts have the same turf and standard as Wimbledon. Having these playing surfaces available in Brisbane gives our players a distinct advantage when they travel internationally.
Completely inundated the day after the 2011 Brisbane International final, the Centre had to be completely refurbished. To re-open in time for the 2012 Brisbane International tournament was an incredible achievement.
The Tennis Centre is just on our doorstep and was well worth a visit. Further developments are planned at the Centre and there is also a significant level of activity in the surrounding Yeerongpilly precinct, which should turn this into an exciting place to be.