Bendigo VIC 3550, Australia, 13 November 2014 | James Crabtree

For every week of the Australian Pro Tour season, communities around the country come together to support the next generation of tennis stars on the road to glory.

Volunteers and officials work around the clock to keep tournaments on track, while fans flock to regional venues in their hundreds to catch a glimpse of a future star.

For tournament administrators the days are long and the rewards are priceless; helping to deliver a world class tennis event in their own back yard and giving back to the sport they love.

On Day 5 at the William Loud Bendigo International, James Crabtree went behind the scenes to learn there’s a lot to organise – and a lot of fun to be had.

Bridget Byrne, bank employee and self-proclaimed tennis legend, arrives at Bendigo Tennis Centre, unlocks the clubhouse and instinctively switches on the coffee machine. She heads to the courts and clears the ducks. Yes, you read right – she clears the ducks from the courts. She has no record of their current membership status.

The first player arrives for a hit, soon followed by the ball kids. Byrne delivers the kids a pep-talk, distributes their uniforms and readies the clubhouse for the day’s play.

Leon Retallick, Executive Officer at Bendigo Tennis Centre, arrives. “We have some well-drilled staff here,” he says, looking over the preparations already well under way. Soon he is managing everything from administrative issues to logistics, staff delegation, emails to the mayor and counsellors, and a midweek ladies charity event for over 150 members he is in the midst of planning.

Officials, including linespersons and umpires, ready themselves in the club office, and minutes later the clubhouse fills with waiting players. The tension builds.

The start of the day’s play sees an all-Australian affair on Court 1, with Daria Gavrilova taking on Abbie Myers. On Court 6 it’s Swede versus Swede, Rebecca Peterson up against Susanne Celik. It’s action time for linespeople, umpires and ball kids.

A scream of delight is heard from Court 1. Gavrilova takes the first set.

The Swedish match goes to a third set. A Swedish coach, for possibly both players, contorts his face displaying emotions that are equal parts happy, anxious and sad.

Gavrilova leaves court with one final fist pump after her win.

World No.29 Jeremy Chardy arrives to hit with his girlfriend, Alize Lim, on Court 16. Rettalick challenges Chardy to a hit, but the Frenchman insists on a serious warm-up before he is ready to take on the club chief.

As the heat rises on court, on-site physiotherapist Scott Robbins explains to players the importance of drinking isotonic fluids, not just water, to stay hydrated. Robbins is charged with treating any injuries that arise, and will do whatever it takes to keep them on court.

Third seeded Peterson retires from her match, with Celik advancing. Robbins’ day is getting busy. More blisters, shoulder nags and withdrawals await.

Chardy hits with Lim. And hits and hits and hits and…

Tournament drivers Bill Baker and John Carey can only be described as die-hard tennis fans, twice-a-week tennis fanatics aged 71 and 79 years old respectively. They cover roughly 4000km during the two weeks of the tournament in their role as volunteer drivers, taking the players anywhere they want to go in Bendigo – usually hotels, banks or the airport, all while avoiding the kangaroos often seen out and about in the early morning. The dynamic duo has been helping out at the event for the past seven years. Baker gets a call on his mobile: “Someone needs picking from the station. I’m off again.”

Chardy is still hitting with Lim. She plays her doubles match later today and her singles match tomorrow. Two courts away Lim’s opponent Zuzana Zlochova plays a gruelling practice set before her doubles match at 3pm.

The weather outside heats up further and the play intensifies. China’s Fangzhou Liu and Aussie Arina Rodionova tussle it out while Eri Hozumi takes the win against Veronica Kapshay.

A coach shows up with racquets to be restrung and writes down the tension. “I start with the first and finish with the last,” says stringer Rick Pell who has been part of the club for 50 years and stringing since 1976. “I gave up counting the racquets in between.” Pell’s blood runs deep through the club, his dad Kel having been a life member.

Liu takes the win over Rodionova.

The clubhouse begins to fill with doubles players.

Results and schedules are written up in the club office as the next day’s order of play is finalised.

Doubles play continues outside as a few players work with their coaches on the practice courts. Byrne starts to ready the facility for the coming day, although the “feeling of accomplishment” for the present day prevails. Die-hard Bendigo tennis faithfuls arrive for their evening hit. There will be more of the same tomorrow. Nobody knows what time the ducks will show up.