Eugenie Bouchard.FORMER prime minister Tony Abbott had better not appear in the stands at the Australian Open.
It would be too much to swallow to see him enjoy a day at the tennis.
Good tennis is something the people of Braddon would usually get to witness around this time, but not this year.
Mr Abbott was PM when the government failed to provide $430,000 to allow Burnie’s brilliant tennis tournament to be held again this year.
It’s maddening to think about the tournament not being held for a year and the reason for it.
It’s such a stupid waste and a significant loss to a regional city that can ill afford it.
I was spewing onions just recently after hearing Canadian tennis star Eugenie Bouchard speak glowingly of her fond connection to Tassie.
Bouchard was in Hobart competing at the Hobart International where she has just made the quarter-finals.
She’s ranked about 48 in the world and she chose Hobart as the lead-up event to the 2016 Aussie Open.
The reason Bouchard has nice stories to tell about the state is because she won her first pro title in Burnie.
She spoke in Hobart of the great memories of her time playing in Burnie.
It’s probably why she chose to play in Hobart instead of at some other tournaments where she could prepare for the Australian Open just as well.
During a press conference in 2012, Bouchard said she really liked the courts in Burnie.
Asked what she liked about Burnie off the court, Bouchard mentioned how pretty the city was, close to the ocean and how quiet.
She was able to relax, go back to the hotel and prepare for the next day.
The only good news is the Burnie Tennis Club’s Burnie International tennis event will return in 2017, funds forthcoming.
Burnie had hosted the international for the past 13 years until the club was told that over two years the courts had deteriorated beyond an acceptable standard for international tennis.
The club set out and raised $670,000 toward new courts but was unsuccessful in obtaining $430,000 from the feds for the $1.1 million project.
Financial support was gained from the Tasmanian government, Tennis Australia and Burnie City Council.
Tennis Australia has since shown a lot of goodwill, deciding to park the Burnie event for a year and not allow it to go elsewhere.
That said a lot about the way the international event in Burnie had been conducted for a long time.
The goal is still to have new courts completed and bring the Burnie international back in 2017.
Last year, when all this blew up and people were standing around gobsmacked to think the federal funds were not coming, Liberal Braddon MHR Brett Whiteley said the Burnie Tennis Club’s application for funding through the Stronger Regions Fund had his full support. However, he said it was assessed at arm’s length from members of Parliament, as it should be, he said.
That’s code for don’t blame me when you don’t get funding.
But hey, what about the obligatory picture opportunities when funding of this nature is granted?
The Burnie International generated an estimated $850,000 for the local economy each year.
What a waste.
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