Melbourne, 4 December 2010 | tennis.com.au
An array of celebrities and sports stars competed in the first ever December Showdown Pro-Am at Melbourne Park on Saturday, where each were paired with a tennis professional in a doubles round-robin tournament.
The pairing of former AFL footballer Nathan Brown and coach Nicole Bradtke claimed the inaugural title in a competitive tiebreak shootout against television and radio star Dave Hughes (Nova and The 7pm Project) and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Anastasia Rodionova.
Photos: December Showdown 2010 Pro-Am
Fans at the December Showdown were also impressed by the fanatical tennis fan Matt Preston (MasterChef judge and food critic) who formed an entertaining duo with Australian tennis star Alicia Molik.
Those competing for their chance for glory included comedian Corinne Grant and Neighbours starlet Valentina Navakovic, while other professional athletes swapping the boots for a racquet were Jarryd Roughhead (Hawthorn Football Club) and teammates Adam Byrnes and James Hilgendorf (Melbourne Rebels).
Raising the tennis standard were a host of current and former players lending a hand, including Peter Luczak, Matt Ebden, Nicole Pratt, Scott Draper, Arina Rodionova and international guest and current ATP professional Dmitry Tursunov of Russia.
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.”