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Household bonds sturdy at Victorian Nation Week | 20 February, 2024 | All Information | Information and Options | Information and Occasions


The nice Aussie custom of relations getting collectively to whack some fluffy yellow balls round a courtroom was evident all through the period of Nation Week 2024.

Wodonga, Victoria, 20 February 2024 | Courtney Walsh

Harley Langstaff had a message for his grandfather Neil because the patriarch of the Leongatha clan stepped on to the courtroom for a Tennis Victoria Nation Week grand ultimate on Friday.

It had been a busy morning for the nine-year-old, who helped his dad Joel and the remainder of the Langstaff household heat up for the match in between working drinks and cheering the staff on.

The expertise of per week away in Wodonga and Albury, the place three generations of the identical household represented Leongatha, whetted his urge for food and he wished in on the motion.

“He instructed me, ‘You must play for at the very least one other 5 years, so I get the prospect to play with you’,” Neil Langstaff instructed tennis.com.au.

It was a dramatic morning for the staff, with the grandfather tearing a calf muscle throughout a ultimate the Leongatha L’s received by one sport over the Merry Marshians from Bacchus Marsh.

The Part 11 staff led by Langstaff additionally featured his sons Ethan and Joel Langstaff, whereas Harley’s elder brother Zac, 16, loved his first Nation Week triumph within the decider.

“It’s one thing that I’m tremendous pleased with, to have the ability to play in a staff with my father and my brother and my son,” Joel Langstaff stated.

“One of the best factor about Nation Week is seeing gamers of so many alternative ages and sizes and shapes and skill, and also you go searching and get a reminder that it’s a nice life-style and that tennis is sweet on your long-term well being.

“It’s such a optimistic factor for the boys to have so many good position fashions round.”

The nice Aussie custom of relations getting collectively to whack some fluffy yellow balls round a courtroom was evident all through the period of Nation Week 2024.

READ MORE: World’s largest grass-court occasion a success in Albury-Wodonga

It’s not fairly a tennis model of the fact present Farmer Needs A Spouse however there have been loads of {couples} competing within the Albury-Wodonga groups occasion who partnered by means of the game.

Dairy farmer Robin and Anne Albert met at Nation Week in Albury-Wodonga in 1988 and famous how lucky they’re that their shared love of tennis introduced them collectively.

It took some persistence from Robin, the oldest participant at Nation Week this 12 months, however the couple stated the one argument they’ve ever had since is about who’s the luckier one on account of their first assembly.

“He lived two hours away and some nights (after Nation Week) he rang and stated, ‘I’m a reporter from The Age and I heard you received your part’ (and requested) to do an interview,” Anne instructed Tennis Victoria.

“He then stated, ‘If you are right here, I have to let you know you had been within the firm of a identified felony named Robin Albert’ and I stated, ‘Yeees?’. After which he cracked up (and) instructed me who he was and requested me out.

“We obtained to know one another and we went out a few occasions after which he would drive up two hours after he had executed his farm work and have a cup of tea after which go residence.

“You’ll be able to see why I used to be hooked. It was one thing I’d always remember. He’s simply wonderful. He is a superb husband, great father and you’ll see why I really like him a lot.”

Pat Flynn, a Nation Week “legend”, competed in what his son-in-law Matt Allen believes was his sixtieth version as an energetic participant in Melbourne or in cities alongside the Murray River.

Allen, a Wangaratta farmer and his son Sam, had been amongst a robust staff who represented the Hume Hornets in Division 1, whereas the elder Flynn had one other nice week with mates.

Nation Week has additionally been variety to Kieran Fitzgerald, who was inducted to “legend” standing this 12 months 50 years after enjoying in his first version of the occasion at Kooyong 50 years in the past.

The Bendigo resident has missed the occasion solely as soon as and that was to get married in 1976.

His daughter Casey met her husband Brandt Fleming whereas enjoying Nation Week and his son Aidan is as famend for his excellent tennis on the event as he’s for developing with inventive names for the groups he leads.

“Changing into a ‘legend’ simply means you’re outdated. It’s not going to make a distinction to me,” Kieran Fitgerald stated.

“It has been nice to see the youngsters come by means of. However I’ve to maintain it a bit low key as a result of Julie (my spouse) doesn’t come, so I can’t be seen to be too enthusiastic about it.”

As a younger boy, Aidan Fitzgerald can keep in mind going to look at his dad play tennis and stated he “all the time smiled and simply beloved it and that’s infectious”. It helped him catch the tennis bug.

Fitzgerald, who recorded an ATP Tour rating in doubles, performed collegiate tennis within the US in Tennessee and Texas and has performed at skilled occasions all over the world.

However he isn’t shocked so many households have bonded at Nation Week given the passion of the individuals and the camaraderie that’s evident on and off the courtroom.

“There actually is nothing like this on the planet. You marvel how all these individuals can take per week off work, however after getting performed one, you possibly can perceive why,” Aidan stated.

“Dad’s teammates come round a number of days earlier than the occasion yearly they usually have a number of hits and begin the planning. They’re as excited as little children earlier than the primary week of faculty.

“He’s in his 70s and on the morning of Nation Week, he’s packed the night time earlier than and able to go and at 5am, he is able to head out the door.”

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