This is the second in a series of historical articles written by Lorraine Maxwell who has been tirelessly digging back through the MIA Open archives. Thankyou Lorraine!
In the 1930’s players from around the region participated in the tournament. Tennis was a sporting and social event with articles in the paper describing the dance, band and venue after the tournament had concluded.
In 1932 the courts moved further down the street, to where the old ambulance station is towards McDonalds. There were 6 courts plus other around the town.
Jack Shannon won the Men’s Singles in 1933 & 1934, his deadly accuracy and sound play meant that he was able to come back from a 4-0 deficit to finally win 9-7 in an early round, then win the final easily.
Because there was no King’s Birthday weekend in 1937, the tournament was played on the Anzac weekend.
The initial 5 events plus handicapped events expanded to include Special Mens Singles in 1937 and Junior boys singled in 1939.
Winners received trophies, which were described in 1938 as “far and away better than the usual selection seen at a tournament in the South West, thanks to the donors”
In 1939 over 300 people witnessed tennis matches between international players during the tournament. The club, together with Spalding Ltd. had arranged these exhibition matches as tennis held the public interest at that moment.
They also played against the current champions at the time. “The local players, Bowditch and Cregan, acquitted themselves very well, though the severe serves and great speed obtained by their experienced opponents had them bewildered at the start. It was for them however, an experience sought by many but obtained by few”.