'Epic' Open to inspire the next generation: Beckman
TENNIS: There will be plenty of past champions dusting off the racquet and young stars in the shops getting their first after what was an epic Australian Open.
It was a tournament that culminated in a bruising all-Williams final in the women's draw and a five-set fight between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the men's.
Both matches were fairytale finishes that even the best minds in literature could not have written and Grafton City Tennis coach Phil Beckman expects the Australian tennis show piece to whet the appetites of players around the globe.
"It was just awesome, the hitting went back and forth, the sets were back and forth, it was epic," he said.
"For Roger to come back after not playing a single competitive match for six months and do that, I don't think we will ever see anything like it again."
But for Beckman it was the camaraderie between the two tennis greats that drove home the 'epic' nature of the five-set final.
"The way they are for the sport it is the only way kids can aspire to be like. Their mateship and battles against each other have been nothing short of brilliant and their respect for each other is amazing.
"It is the modern game of Nadal against the more traditional style of Roger. They have lifted the bar for all players around them."
The number of players interested in tennis always tends to rise at the end of the Australian Open each year, but Beckman said it should explode with the amount of interest and talk this final has received.
For the Grafton City Tennis Club coach the increased interest is visible less than two days after the final with a few former players wanting to get back on court.
"I have already had people, young guys at 13 or 14 that went and played football, wanting to pick up the racquet again," he said.
"Matt Muller was a pretty handy tennis player when he was young and he was saying he wanted to get back into it after getting the itch watching the Open.
"It usually is a time where we see increased numbers but I expect after that final there might be even more kids coming down."
Beckman said the club's doors were open for anyone to come and try the sport.