Tennis Victoria Country week came to an end last week for yet another year at the Yarrawonga Tennis Club.
In total 205 teams and 1293 players took to the courts throughout the tournament.
Staged over three separate venues in Yarrawonga, a total of 101 courts were prepared to accommodate the large number of players with 26 different men’s and women’s sections.
Courts were spread across three venues with the Yarrawonga Lawn Tennis Club, JC Lowe Oval and the Victoria Park precinct all hosting matches.
Out of the 101 courts used, 23 were permanent courts located at the tennis club while the remaining 78 courts had to be prepared by club curator Warwick Henderson at the separate venues making it the largest grass court tennis tournament in the world.
Tennis Victoria CEO Adam Crameri confirmed the tournament was the biggest grass court event globally.
“We spoke to Wimbledon officials recently and they agree there’s no other event of its kind,” he said.
Of course, Yarrawonga had only recently been named as host of the event after the flooding across Shepparton caused havoc and halted plans leaving only eight weeks of preparations in Yarrawonga to ensure the tournament went ahead in 2023.
Speaking with The First Serve as the country week got underway, tournament director Andy Reynolds said that one of the most amazing aspects of the tournament is seeing teams come from all parts of the country to be part of the week.
“We’ve had teams from interstate, and we’ve even got a team from New Zealand this year so they come for the on court but equally for the off court action and so to see the social interaction is just absolutely fantastic,” he said.
Away from the court, Country Week was also highlighted by the induction of four new country week legends.
As is tradition, the week kicks off with the induction of legends and this year the honour was awarded to Frank Dekker, Neil Langstaff, Georgina Parker and Carmel Wileman.
All four recently inducted legends have been long-time participants of the tournament with Frank Dekker playing his first tournament in 1987 while Georgina Parker has been coming for over 30 years and Carmel Wileman attending since 1999.
But for Neil Langstaff, Country Week has become somewhat of a family tradition.
Last year, Langstaff had the privilege of playing in one of the grand finals with his grandson’s and again this year the family was represented by three generations.
For Andy Reynolds, again this captured the true spirit of the tournament.
“For me, the essence of Country Week is seeing a grandparent playing with a son and grandson,” he said.
“The mix and blend of age and generations is never clearer than at Country Week. Age is not a barrier at Country Week, men, and women of all ages gracing the grace courts in doubles play is an annual must for so many.”
With another successful edition of Tennis Victoria Country Week, eyes will now turn straight to next year’s event which will be held in Wodonga during February 2024.