Melbourne, 3 December 2010 | Tim Rose
The December Showdown is a time for the best young players in Australia to dream of bigger things, as the home of the National Junior Championships and the Australian Open Play-offs. This year though, a select group of tennis hopefuls famous for other pursuits will also get the chance to fulfil their fantasies on the courts of Melbourne Park.
Saturday 4th December will see an array of celebrities and sports stars compete in the inaugural Tennis Australia Pro-Am, where each will be paired with a tennis professional in a doubles round-robin tournament.
Those competing for their chance for glory include television and radio star Dave Hughes (Nova and The 7pm Project), fanatical tennis fan Matt Preston (Masterchef Judge and food critic), comedian Corinne Grant and Neighbours actress Valentina Navakovic.
Professional athletes swapping the boots for a racquet are Nathan Brown (ex-Richmond Tigers and Western Bulldogs), Jarryd Roughhead (Hawthorn Football Club), as well as teammates Adam Byrnes and James Hilgendorf (Melbourne Rebels).
Raising the tennis standard will be the current and former players lending a hand, led by women’s favourites Alicia Molik, Anastasia Rodionova and sister Arina plus former players and now coaches, Nicole Bradtke and Nicole Pratt.
The men’s players hoping to guide their celebrity partners to victory are Peter Luczak, Matt Ebden, former player and coach Scott Draper, and international guest and current ATP professional Dmitry Tursunov of Russia, a former world No.20. The Russian is famed for his exuberant personality on and off the court; he mixes his own dance tracks for his warm-ups and once broke a racquet on his knee during a match, “like in pro wrestling … just to get the crowd going.”
Get down and catch all the action between 11am and 1pm on Courts 5 and 7 at Melbourne Park on Saturday 4 December, for what promises to be a show to remember.