Melbourne, Australia, 25 July 2020 | Leigh Rogers

Chyka Keebaugh is an Australian businesswoman, author, media and television personality. She was once the homemaking and styling expert on Good Morning Australia and one of the original cast members of The Real Housewives of Melbourne. She runs The Big Group, one of Australia’s largest privately-owned catering and events company.

In our Celebrity Match series, Keebaugh shares some of her favourite tennis memories …

Tell us about your tennis experience. Have you ever played?

Well yes actually … I did play at school for about five minutes. I think I had tennis lessons because I thought the coach was cute. I played a few matches for my school, but I really wasn’t very good. I had a few girlfriends who were amazing and I think they intimidated me, so I decided that netball was really more for me.
About 10 years ago, Bruce and I decided that we would take up tennis lessons together as a great couple thing. Let’s just say I realised my husband is incredibly competitive. I decided I would let him continue, which he still does, but for our relationship I gracefully walked away!

What is your best shot and why?

I always loved the power of a good forehand! I loved to whack that ball as hard as I could.

What is your earliest tennis memory?

I have always enjoyed watching the tennis. As kids we lived close to the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club, so we used to go and watch the Australian Open there. It really was the social activity of the 80s and I loved going after school to watch matches.

Do you have a favourite tennis memory?

It’s actually a pretty embarrassing memory, but a group of us were at Kooyong and were obviously making way too much noise as Ivan Lendl turned around and told us all to be quiet. We went to a party that weekend and then met him. I told him the story and he remembered how annoying we were. It was mortifying at the time, but let me tell you, that story got better and better as the years have gone by!

Do you remember the first professional match you saw live? Who played?

I can’t actually remember the first professional match I went to as I’ve been lucky enough to go to the Australian Open for as long as I remember, as well as Wimbledon plus an incredible charity match in London that Princess Diana also attended.
I’m pretty sure though John McEnroe was right up there and I’m really showing my age, but I remember he never disappointed. His matches were always exciting and if he didn’t shout at the umpire at least once, we all felt ripped off.

Who is your favourite tennis player to watch and why?

I absolutely loved Henri Leconte – he was so gorgeous and I thought he was a brilliant player. Yep … the 80s are talking again!

If you could meet any tennis player, who would it be and why?

I think I would have to say it would be the Williams sisters. They have always had such incredible focus and drive, I really admire them. I would love to know too how two sisters competing on the same circuit make it work.

Finish this sentence:

The best part of the Australian Open is … how Melburnians get behind this incredible two weeks of tennis and the amazing hospitality – I had to say that!

Tennis is fun because … you never know how a match will go or who will win, and that’s the exciting part.