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It may be an old-fashioned notion, but it's time for tennis fans to feel the love

Opinion

With the Brisbane International off the menu for 2021, why not try changing up the recipe for what makes a successful tennis tournament, writes Rebecca Levingston

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Love means nothing in tennis. 
It’s not perfectly clear how love came to represent zip, but the leading etymological theory is that if you have zero points, you’re playing for the love of the game.

Right now, when it comes to tennis tournaments, Queensland’s got nix.  I’m not feeling the love, but I’m determined to have a serve. Hear me out …

It was inevitable that Victoria would claw back some of the sporty spice that sprinkled into Queensland this year. We got the AFL grand final, most of the rugby league, netball and basketball. Now Tennis Australia has ruled that Melbourne gets a smorgasbord of tennis. And that means the Brisbane International is off the menu.

Like the cheese toast you can no longer get at Sizzler, the hors d’oeuvre of the Australian tennis calendar will not be served. I refuse to be grand slammed on this.

We need to rethink the Brisbane International. Let’s call it the Brisbane InterNOTional. Say it with a posh voice, you could almost be in Wimbledon… it’s the Brisbane InterNOSHional darling. Forget London’s strawberries and champagne, we’ll serve Milton Mangoes – two birds – one beverage.

Who’d sing the NOTional anthem at this tournament you ask? Obviously we’d reunite Daniel and Darren from Savage Garden. The people wanted the duo for the AFL grand final, it wasn’t to be. This is the time, the moment for the men to make up and mend Brisbane’s broken tennis heart. Gents, I truly, madly, deeply believe it’s your chance to call it even. Deuce. A truce?

Who would be in the umpire’s chair at the NOTional? Agro. The voice, the temperament, the monobrow you can’t argue against. He’d have tantrums before players would dare to yell anything reminiscent of John McEnroe. You cannot be serious I hear you say… oh I am. An umpire’s chair at that height is perfect for a hand up the cloaca. Get the puppet out of the suitcase Jamie Dunn, Brisbane needs you.

What about the ball kids? Bluey, Bingo, Bandit and Chilli. Done.

Commentators? Ash Barty and John Millman probably wouldn’t mind having a crack on the other side of the microphone. I’d argue Lleyton Hewitt is as good talking tennis as playing. C’mon!

Crowds would flock to Pat Rafter Arena for this once in a pandemic event. Merchandise would be immediately iconic. None of the standard branded sweatbands and seat pillows – everything would be a collector’s item because it’ll never happen again. Queensland, we must ace this opportunity.

Allow me to smash out a match schedule…

The men’s final would come down to two of our finest sporting fellows. Li Cunxin vs Wally Lewis. Ballet and football face off at last. Don’t tell me you wouldn’t watch it. It’d be riveting.

The women’s final would likely be a match between Dr Jeannette Young and Dame Quentin Bryce. Never underestimate the power of these two opponents. Both have steely eyed determination and a fierce attention to detail. No foot faults here Agro.

Doubles would naturally be between the coffee kings Dean Merlo and Phil Di Bella taking on the fashion queens Sass and Bide. Queensland royalty… it is the InterNOSHional sweetie.

You want more? A tie-breaker?

Mixed doubles could put Annastacia Palaszczuk and David Crisafulli together – maybe it’s Queensland’s best shot at a bipartisan parliament. Hopefully they don’t just bash out backhands. Their opposition? How about we pair up ABC’s Jenny Woodward and Nine’s Gary Youngberry? Weather forecasts and forehands aplenty.

Oh and wildcards? I guess we could allow a few unseeded Queenslanders on to the court. Tom Hanks, Baz Luhrmann, Chris Hemsworth, Nicole Kidman and Zac Efron are all here shooting movies and soaking up the sun. They could take their best shot or fill the celebrity boxes.

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