With the summer of tennis just upon us Tennis Officials Australia – ACT in conjunction with Tennis Australia is calling all tennis fans to become a tennis official. President of Tennis Officials –ACT division, Mark Crawley, has been able to take his passion for tennis and officiate at 10 Australian Open tournaments. Crawley was also asked to be the Chair Umpire at the Men’s Wheelchair Final, which was his fifth consecutive final.
He believes that officiating can be a long and rewarding career for a dedicated tennis fan.
“It’s a great way to see Australia and beyond and let’s face it Tennis is a world sport.”
“I’ve been everywhere and enjoy officiating in different parts of Australia at different levels – there have been parts of Australia that I never thought I would go to.” Crawley explained.
Officiating at a Grand Slam level is a dream for some, but Crawley has made it into a reality.
“It was an absolute buzz, there was a small crowd there but to Chair Umpire in a final at a grand slam was a great honour.”
“The atmosphere was electrifying – I was buzzing for hours afterwards. I wouldn’t swap it for anything in the world” Crawley added.
He is also an International Tennis Federation (ITF) accredited White Badge referee which is a remarkable achievement. In October, Mark was honoured with the opportunity to referee the prestigious ITF – Sydney Junior International which was held at Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre.
Emma Walter is another young official who has made a long term career out of her passion for tennis. She has just finished Chair Umpiring at the recently completed Esperance Pro Tour (ITF) where many of Australia’s elite players competed for vital ITF ranking points and prize money.
Walter explained that she hadn’t even thought about tennis officiating, until she was given the opportunity of a lifetime.
“I started officiating at the 2002 Canberra Women’s Classic – a WTA event leading into the Australia Open held at Lyneham, ACT. My sister and I were asked by a family friend who knew we were on holidays from university to get involved in the event. I had never played tennis, but a massive fan of the sport, so I thought it sounded interesting and it changed my life” Walter said.
Since then, through hard work and dedication Emma has gone from strength to strength and in 2008 was rewarded with an ITF White Badge accreditation as a Chair Umpire. In the same year, Emma was a Line Umpire for the Men’s Singles Final at the Australian Open; this was Novak Djokovic’s first Grand Slam title.
At the recent Tennis ACT awards night, Emma was crowned the Tennis Official of the Year award in front of a packed audience. Emma has been nominated for Tennis Australia’s prestigious Newcombe Medal – Excellence in Officiating Award. The event takes place on Monday 3rd December at Melbourne’s Crown Casino.
Tennis Officials Australia in conjunction with Tennis Australia will be conducting two introductory courses Friday 9th and Saturday 10th November in Canberra. The course is free and all materials are provided. For more information please contact Shane Merry [email protected] or 0411 762 331.