First images never leave you. As an eight year old in Launceston, Tasmania, I remember my father waking me up to see Margaret Court play Evonne Goolagong in the 1971 Wimbledon Ladies’ final on a tiny black and white television set. I instantly developed a passion for tennis.
A few years after ‘my Wimbledon debut’ a political firestorm swept Australia in 1975. A mid-year by-election in my hometown electorate of Bass, became the focus of the nation. The landslide win to the Liberal candidate led to events that culminated in the dismissal of the Whitlam government, which galvanised my interest in politics.
Think of the great tennis and political rivalries of my lifetime: Court v Billie Jean-King, Whitlam v Fraser, Goolagong v Evert, Howard v Peacock, Evert v Navratilova, Costello v Howard, Borg v McEnroe, Hawke v Keating, McEnroe v Connors, Margaret Thatcher vs everybody, Sampras v Agassi, Blair v Brown; Becker v Edberg, Gillard v Rudd, Graf v Seles, May v Johnson, and the ongoing rivalries between Djokovic, Nadal and Federer.
For a number of years now I have written a “state of the political and tennis world” article after every Grand Slam tournament and this is how the articles will appear on the website. Occasionally, there are special editions to comment on developments away from the tennis court, but tennis is a constant motif.
Life as a lawyer and now as a politics teacher has taken me around Australia. Tennis, whether live or on the screen has taken me around the world. I hope my thoughts about the parallel worlds of tennis and politics are of interest and welcome your comments.
Ball kids ready? Play!”
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