TENNIS: Grafton hosted a flying visit from a living legend of tennis yesterday afternoon when Fred Stolle stopped by on his way to the Gold Coast.
The 12-time grand slam winner and International Tennis Hall of Fame member was with his wife and visited family.
Nephew and Grafton City Tennis Club coach Phil Beckman took Stolle on a
tour of the clubhouse and courts.
"It's probably been 20 years since Fred has been to Grafton and he hadn't seen the courts and the club like this," Beckman said.
"It was good to see him and have him visit the club.
"He said it's a world-class tennis facility which means a lot.
"There's been some pretty big changes that he didn't know had happened to the facility.
"He was really impressed with the clubhouse.
"We've got a picture of Fred on the championship board playing a backhand, so we got him to copy that like the picture which he thought was great."
Stolle and his wife, who is originally from Grafton, live in Miami, Florida, and were in Australia to watch the Australian Open.
They took the opportunity to visit family before visiting friends at the Gold Coast.
"They always love going
to the Gold Coast, they've been coming back to Australia for the past 30 or
40 years for the Open and
he used to commentate at
the Hopman Cup," Beckman said.
Beckmans said Stolle appreciated the collection of trophies on display at Grafton City Tennis Club during his visit.
"He said the trophy that he presented to us that he won in England that's stayed at the club looked really nice," Beckman said.
"We've had a lot of trophies that have been donated from the 1930s and 1940s and even from the 1950s and 1960s, and Fred said there was a trophy there exactly like the first ever trophy he won when he was 10 in Sydney."