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World Tennis Challenge 2014

Home > Adelaide > Fun Things To Do | Family | Sport
by David Francis (subscribe)
David Francis is a freelance writer based in Adelaide.
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Great tennis players know how to have a good time
If you enjoy watching good tennis played by a selection of past greats and current world circuit players, but don't mind it when things aren't taken too seriously, the World Tennis Challenge at Memorial Drive is the place to be.

World Tennis Challenge - image by David Francis
Not all the tennis is serious - Henri Leconte clowns around at the 2012 WTC

In January each year Adelaide hosts some famous guests from the tennis world, who show they can still play despite retirement from world rankings and the professional circuit. Along with them, a number of current players use the WTC as a warm-up tournament for the Australian Open in Melbourne.

World Tennis Challenge - image by David Francis
Martina Hingis at the 2013 event

The object of the event is a display of tennis prowess, skills and trick shots, and enjoyment for both the players and the spectators.

There is a good mix of serious tennis – at a very high standard – and outrageous clowning around. The latter is usually led by Frenchman Henri Leconte whose humorous antics are legendary.

World Tennis Challenge - image by David Francis
Pat Rafter is a regular

Another regular who makes the entrance fee worthwhile is Mansour Bahrami. At first impression he looks like he'd be too old to swing a racquet, or even get to a bus stop by himself, but his array of tricks, and his agility around the court, are jaw-dropping.

The line up for 2014 has been announced as past players Martina Navratilova, Tracy Austin, Pat Cash, Mats Wilander, Henri Leconte, Yannick Noah, and Mansour Bahrami. The current ATP players listed to date are Thanasi Kokkinakis, Jürgen Melzer, and Feliciano Lopez.

World Tennis Challenge - image by David Francis
Leconte vents his frustration at a decision by removing the referee's shoes

The cost depends where you want to sit (bronze, silver and gold categories) and tickets are available as a single session or for all three days. An adult and child in bronze category will pay from $19.90 and $9.90 for a single, or from $49.00 and $19.00 for the three.

There are family passes and concession prices too, check the website for details. Tickets are purchased through the Ticketek website or by calling 13 28 49.

World Tennis Challenge - image by David Francis
Martina Navratilova is returning for the 2014 WTC

Memorial Drive is a small venue, so viewing is pretty good wherever you sit. There are three courts across but the centre one is not used for games. From the stands at the side you can view both playing courts. This can be tricky if two good games are in progress and you are trying to watch both, but if one game finishes early you can still see the other.

War Memorial Drive will be closed to traffic from 4pm until midnight to accommodate the foot traffic, which will be heaviest on the 10th January due to a cricket match at Adelaide Oval, currently being redeveloped next door.

World Tennis Challenge - image by David Francis
Stacking the court to try and win a game against Hingis and Navratilova

The 2014 WTC is on from 7th to 9th January. It's a great night for kids, especially if they play tennis. Even though the fading stars are past their prime, they clearly demonstrate why they were at the top of the game when they toured.

They still have what it takes, and they have a lot of fun showing it to the crowd.
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Why? A fun night out for the family, with great tennis
When: From 7-9 January 2014
Phone: 61 (8) 7224 8100
Where: Memorial Drive Tennis Centre, War Memorial Drive, North Adelaide
Cost: From $19.90 for a single night adult ticket, see website for other options
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