Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Service with a Smile; an Army Works Overtime So the Game's Stars Can Go Toe to Toe

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Service with a Smile; an Army Works Overtime So the Game's Stars Can Go Toe to Toe

Article excerpt

Byline: TRAVEL with Robyn Courtney


Some of the figures from the Brisbane International Tennis

Number of volunteers - 350 plus 104 ball kids

Number of balls used - 12,528

Number of towels supplied - 13,300 plus 500 towels for players on court

SPECTATORS of sporting events such as the Brisbane International tennis tournament, whether it be live or on television coverage, see the highlights of the players hitting it out on court.

However, it's not often that we are given an insight in to what happens behind the scenes. Have you ever thought about all the planning, preparation and organisation that happens before the players can even take to the court? Consider all the things that have to be done in order for the players to have the best experience possible.

The opportunity to walk through the underbelly of the Queensland Tennis Centre gave me a glimpse of what is involved in hosting an event such as this. It's apparent how hard Brisbane International 2017 singles champions Grigor Dimitrov and Karolina Pliskova have to train to become the victors of a world-class competition like the BI. This year's tournament boasted five of the world's top 10 women and five of the top 10 men, providing fans with top-quality tennis.

Sitting courtside gives the spectator a sense of being a part of the action but this is the end result. What we see is the final product of the players' hard work, along with that of their coaches and support crews.

It's the little things, however, that happen off court in the lead-up and throughout the event which actually allow these athletes the opportunity to perform.

Walking from the locker room to the Queensland Tennis Centre's Pat Rafter Arena, players stride down a corridor lined with large photos of past champions, giving a sense of what can be accomplished.

The route takes you past rooms where technical crews are busy ensuring everything runs smoothly, such as in the Hawke-Eye room. It's here that staff help deliver the sophisticated ball tracking technology to identify whether a ball was in or out, enhancing the game for players and fans.

For elite athletes fitness and diet are paramount - it can mean the difference between winning and losing. …

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