Melbourne, 20 January 2011 | Tennis Australia

Three-time Coolangatta Gold winner, Hayley Bateup, has served up some gruelling training for Australian Open 2011 chair umpire Leanne White.

Since arriving in Melbourne late last week, White has been up at 5am each morning running around the Botanical Gardens under the instruction of Bateup; her experienced Gold Coast-based personal trainer and iron woman champion.

“When I started training Leanne she could barely run a few steps, and now I’ve got her running for 40 minutes, plus she does a variety of different exercises,” Bateup said.

“It’s great to see her doing so well and I know she feels so much better about herself and a lot fitter,” Bateup added.

Like Bateup, White has also had an illustrious career.

“I have been a chair umpire for 25 years,” White said. “I worked on the professional tennis circuit full-time for 12 years and have done all the majors. I spent a lot of time in America and Asia, and throughout my career I have umpired at Wimbledon 11 times, the Australian Open 29 times – including two women’s singles finals. I have also umpired at the Fed Cup, Commonwealth Games [2010] and two Olympic Games [1996 and 2000].”

White’s motivation to start a rigorous training regime was to build up her muscle strength and aerobic fitness for her passion – dragon boat racing.

As the top Australian Open players battle it out with White in the chair, many would be unaware that their umpire is a three-time world dragon boat racing champion.

“I’m a triple world champ…I won my three titles in Macau last year in the 2km, 500m and 200m contests,” revealed White.

“I dragon boat race for the Currumbin Gems in the 50 plus masters category, and I am also the drummer girl for the Currumbin Divas, which is the under 50 category,” she added.

However, the tight knit, family-like umpiring community keeps White coming back to the tennis.

“I also love working with the ball kids,” White said. “Due to also being a school teacher I know how to relate to children and talk to them and help them out when need be.”

Whilst in Melbourne this week, White’s coach, Bateup, up also took to the Australian Open tennis courts on Kids Tennis Day (January 15) as a team captain for the “Making a Racquet” celebrity tennis match, which her team won.

Former French player Henri Leconte and Australian favourites Alicia Molik and Peter Luczak, were member of her victorious side.

The iron woman champion also met her fans at Autograph Island and she tested her reaction skills on the fun and interactive tennis activities at Fan Zone. She also had a hit of MLC Tennis Hot Shots, Tennis Australia’s kid’s starter program with fellow iron people Candice Falzon and Matt Poole.