The recent Paradorn Super tour brought world-class
players to Chiang Mai, amongst them Sandon Stolle and Andrew Kratzmann from
Australia, both high-ranking ATP serious professionals, but both with that
‘Down-under’ sense of humor, as we found out during the match.
serious tennis, much to the enjoyment of the spectators.
Before they came on for their ‘sudden death’ match
(no wombats were to be left standing), two thirds of the spectators had left
to follow Paradorn after his match with Marcelo Rios, to get pictures and
autographs of their home hero. Those that remained were in for a great
display of fun tennis.
was demoted to line judge, while his replacement continued to score points
This was obvious when Stolle and Kratzmann warmed up and
began their game in perfect weather conditions. Strong serves and baseline
volleys from both players made it perfectly clear that we were watching
serious tennis professionals at work, but it did not take long before the
Antipodeans began playing up, as well as playing tennis!
anyone seen the balls?
With Kratzmann in the lead, Stolle spotted a youngster,
and said the young boy would play for him while Stolle took over the role of
line judge. This ploy worked well as the new ‘line judge’ began
distracting Kratzmann, who in return, jumped in the crowd, shouldered
another young boy, and just placed him in the middle of the center court.
They exchanged the boy’s mobile phone for Kratzmann’s racket; Kratzmann
made a mock phone call, and the two boys continued the game, which the
umpire continued to score. The spectators were delighted, cheering the
players so loudly that many who earlier left the center court returned.
lets loose a powerful serve ...
The two Australians continued their game display, giving
the crowd what they wanted to see - powerful tennis; however, that did not
last long, as Stolle (always having an eye for the “sheila’s” as the
Aussies call them) invited a young woman on the court. She must have held a
tennis racket before, but her first serve was powerfully returned by
Kratzmann, perfectly aimed at Stolle who caught the ball with his stomach,
pretending that it had hit him so hard that he was knocked over.
Stolle who ends up rolling on the court.
Great fun tennis was put on by the Aussie duo and the
crowd just loved to see Stolle and Kratzmann finish the set with a 5:7
tiebreak. After these high jinks, both players decided not to continue the
‘game’, but to start an ad hoc tennis clinic for all the kids present.
Stolle shows off
his powerful serve.
This game was both serious and entertaining and one of the Australians
told Chiangmai Mail after the match, “Geez mate, that was fun! But,
fair dinkum, wait till next year when I bring me didgeridoo!” They both
said that they thoroughly enjoyed being here at the stadium, and that they
see their mission is in bringing kids closer to sporting activities. By
making an event such as this one fun and entertaining, they wished to awaken
the kids’ interest in sports, and are hoping that they will return to
Chiang Mai in 2004. Geez mates, we hope so too, but how much can a koala
Kratzmann is too busy playing tennis.