FAMOUS FRIENDS: Cressy Tennis Club secretary Warren Acutt and life member Tim Griffin with the Rod Laver signed shirt.
FAMOUS FRIENDS: Cressy Tennis Club secretary Warren Acutt and life member Tim Griffin with the Rod Laver signed shirt. Contributed

Rod Laver connection to local club

"I WILL be happy to sign this shirt, my Mum used to play for Cressy," Rod Laver said.

Rockhampton's most famous sporting export and one of the world's greatest tennis players, Rod Laver acknowledged the role the Cressy Tennis Club had in his life when Cressy life member Tim Griffin sought his signature on the Cressy Tennis Club shirt.

The Cressy Tennis Club celebrates its 70th anniversary this year and the Rod Laver signed shirt will mark the milestone.

The club began in 1946, originally called the Eureka Tennis Club, under the presidency of Edie Gee-Wah and the home court was in Ross St, South Rockhampton.

In the early 1950s the club moved to Kenny's Court on Port Curtis Rd, opposite the Balmoral Hotel, and then moved again to Allenstown School Tennis Courts in 1956.

It was not until 1974 that the home court became the Rockhampton Tennis Association (then the Central Queensland Tennis Association) Victoria Park complex on Lion Creek Rd.

The name Cressy was taken from a popular tennis racquet of the era, manufactured in Tasmania by the Alexander Racquet Company.

The most famous variation of the model was the Cressy Wizard which had ties with two of the greats of Australian tennis, Sir Norman Brookes and Jack Crawford.

Sir Norman, nicknamed the Wizard during his Wimbledon winning days, showed the Alexander Racquet Company sales manager W.J. Sheehan a semi flat-top racquet he used in the early 1900s.

Jack Crawford was also in attendance and from this conversation in the early 1930s Alexander Racquet Company developed a new semi flat-top racquet they called the Wizard.

Crawford used this racquet to win Wimbledon in 1933.

Outside of the Laver family, the most well known former member of the Cressy Tennis Club is Gary Stickler.

Now an international tennis coach, Stickler was instrumental in the early success of Pat Rafter.

Rockhampton's first professional female tennis coach, Karen Lawson, also hails from the Cressy Tennis Club

Another is also a present player making her mark on the senior women's international tennis tour, former under-18 Australian Champion Olivia Tjandramulia.

Formal celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the Cressy Tennis Club will be held in June, in conjunction with the annual Olive McBryde Plate Challenge against the Rockhampton Veteran's Tennis Club.



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