Vitas Sydney Indoor Practise Centre (1980)

by Steve Carter
(Long Jetty, NSW, Australia)

I was born in 1966 and starting playing tennis around 1974. grew up on the northern beaches of Sydney. I remember when I was 14, I was playing a lot at the indoor tennis centre at Dee Why called Racquet Sports. There were 2 tennis courts there. Anyway it was around the time of the Sydney indoor tournament (forget the actual name) and it was raining heavily which didn't affect my tennis lesson since we were indoors. Anyway after my lesson my coach told me to stay behind because Vitas Gerulaitis and John Sadri were coming in to practise. This meant the group behind us would miss their tennis lesson since their court would be used by Vitas and John. Anyway there were told the reason and they all decided to wait to see them practise with me. Well when Vitas and John turned up they went straight into there practise session and as a young fan I was just so stoked to see them practise up close. We were allowed to sit on the court side chairs as well. Anyway after a while they had a break and Vitas must have realized that some of us watching missed out on our lesson that afternoon, so he decided that since we still had our gear on and that we had racquets to give each one of us an individual hit. Even though I didn't miss my lesson/game that afternoon, he still gave me an individual hit. I was very nervous we just hit baseline shots to each other, but he was very encouraging, telling me what I was doing wrong and doing right. It didn't last long, maybe 5 minutes but the smile of my face and that of the other kids lasted for weeks.

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