Tennis icon Pat Rafter impressed with new Ballina facilities
A LINE was crossed on the Ballina tennis courts yesterday- but no one was going to review the call made by Australian tennis icon Pat Rafter.
Rafter, who has been living on the border of Ballina and Byron shires for a few years, picked up the foot-fault in the serve of Ballina Tennis Club president Margaret Oldham, as she introduced the former world number one to club members.
In citing Rafter's list of achievements on and off the court - including being a two-time US Open winner, a two-time Wimbledon runner-up, former Davis Cup player and captain, and a former Australian of the Year - Oldham also noted that the tennis champ was a brand ambassador for Bonds undies.
That received the biggest cheer from the crowd gathered at the club as, according to some of the women present, Rafter is a good-looking rooster.
"You didn't have to mention that, Margaret, you overstepped the line there,” a humbled Rafter said in jest.
Rafter was at the club to officially open the refurbishment of the Ballina Tennis Club's clubhouse, which included the addition of access ramps, an upgrade to the kitchen, the addition of a unisex disabled change room andthe doubling of the number of male and female toilets and showers.
Rafter said the improvements would "leave a legacy and create an environment in which young children will want to play”.
The Ballina Tennis Club has 145 juniors in its membership of 362.
"The amount of kids participating is what tennis is all about,” Rafter said.
"It (the Ballina Tennis Club) is an environment to grow very good upstanding young kids to grow tennis in Australia.”