Celebrity Match with Joel Creasey
Media personality and comedian Joel Creasey shares his favourite tennis memories in our Celebrity Match series.
Joel Creasey is an Australian comedian and media personality.
He is a co-host on Nova FM’s award-winning national drive radio show, Ricki-Lee, Tim and Joel, and recently co-hosted New Leash on Life, an ABC television program.
He is also a published author, actor and long-running host of Australia’s Eurovision Song Contest coverage on SBS.
In our Celebrity Match series, Creasey reveals he is a life-long tennis fan and was once a ballkid for the world’s top players …
You’ll be shocked to learn I’m not a particularly sporty person. However, tennis has always been the exception to that very cliché rule. I love it and still regularly catch up with friends for a “hit”. Okay, that second part was a lie but I just wanted to show that I do know the tennis lingo. I maybe play once or twice a year at most, but I never miss a Grand Slam!
Backhand down the line! I grew up in a time of Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin. The Belgian backhand queens!
Playing tennis at the ratty, mouldy tennis courts on Rottnest Island with racquets hired from the local general store with my parents.
Oh gosh, too many to mention! Kim Clijsters and Serena Williams are my heroes and queens, so any time I’ve had the privilege of watching them flex their craft for an audience has been a treat. Come back Serena! You can do it! Snatch that record from Margaret Court!
Well, you perhaps won’t be surprised to learn that I was quite a chatty ballkid, so I was usually assigned to taking care of the player’s drinks. On court, of course. I wasn’t mixing them martinis after hours (I wish!). I remember getting to hand Kim Clijsters her water (which is a sentence that sounds kind of ridiculous when you think about it). But her reaction and what she said to me has stayed with me and inspired me for life.
I do! It was the Hopman Cup and it was … you guessed it, Belgium versus … well, someone else. I remember Kim Clijsters was ranked around the 30s at the time. But she won her match that day and I turned to my dad as if I were Simon Cowell, at 12 years old, and said “she’s gonna be a star”.
Oh there’s just too many. Serena for the showmanship. Watching Serena play is like attending a Broadway show. She knew it wasn’t just about being the greatest of all time at the sport (which she was and is, don’t come for me). It was about entertainment! And of course beautiful Kim. However I do branch out … I’ve always loved Xavier Malisse, Pat Rafter and Stefanos Tsitsipas. My fellow-tennis-loving manager is always freaked out when I say I find Andy Murray a little bit sexy. I adored Lindsay Davenport, Monica Seles, Amelie Mauresmo and Martina Hingis. And I once got to wring the sweat out of Marat Safin’s sweat towel.
To be completely honest, the only reason I’m doing this interview is in the hope I’ll be invited to meet and interview (adopted Australian) Kim Clijsters. I’m thinking Rod Laver Arena before the women’s final? I’ll cry. She’ll cry (hopefully). It’ll be TV gold.
The best part of the Australian Open is … the vibe!! The atmosphere! Melbourne does events like no other capital city in the world. And having lived in and all over the United States I don’t say that lightly. And as a comic you’d be hard pressed for me to not say the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. But an aperol spritz in the sun walking around the Australian Open hearing the pop of tennis balls knocking back and forth across the net … I’m not sure if it can be beaten?!
Tennis is fun because … it’s a solo sport. It’s a mind game. At times, it’s even a fashion game. Serena’s catsuit? Jennifer Capriati’s star-spangled dress? Roger Federer single-handedly bringing back the bandana. What’s not to love?! Plus people have to be quiet which I appreciate. It really IS like the theatre!
Book online, play today: Visit play.tennis.com.au to get out on court and have some fun!