Local Sport

NT Officials Take On World’s Best

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It was a big year for Territory tennis officials across 2019, with officials throughout the NT once again plying their trade across various National and International level tournaments across the country.

Six of these NT officials will be heading to the Australian Open following numerous lead-in events around Australia. One of these six is Greg Dickson, who hails from Katherine and officiated the 18 & U Singles Finals at the 2019 National Indigenous Tennis Carnival. Dickson is the only first-timer in the NT cohort heading to the Australian Open. When asked what it meant to him to be part of the contingent headed to the premier tennis event within Australia, Dickson noted “it’s awesome that NT officials are representing the Territory so well on international platforms. We are proud to represent the Territory and strive to impress others from the bigger states.”

The biggest lead-in event for the NT officials will see nine of our top officials descend on the Adelaide International, which will showcase some of the world’s best players competing in the lead in to the Australian Open, including Grand Slam Champions Ashleigh Barty, Novak Djokovic & Simona Halep, alongside some of Australia’s best young talent, Alex De Minaur.

Dickson, having experienced the Brisbane International as a Line Umpire before, and recently completing the Asia Pacific Chair Academy and Chair Umpiring at the 14 & U Australian National Championships, still experiences a thrill working the big events. “I am super excited. It’s awesome being on court in huge tournaments with crowds and big name pro(fessional) players. Stressful too, but it’s so cool to play a small part in professional tennis”

The NT has a rich history when it comes to developing a high calibre of officials with Alice Springs officials Gary Bigg and Leanne Usher having previously been awarded the honour of officiating during the Australian Open Men’s Singles Final back in 2018, and they’re not alone. Alice Springs officials can often be found at the Australian Open, amongst other high level events such as the 2015 Davis Cup tie in Darwin and recent Fed Cup final in Perth. Now the enthusiasm has finally started to hit the mark across the greater NT Region as well, with new stars such as Greg Dickson from Katherine and a select few Darwin officials joining the fray for the 2020 Summer.

Erin Bormann, Tennis Operations Coordinator for Tennis NT works closely with the NT officiating team and is excited at the growing number of officials that are starting to make an impression within the other states. “It’s fantastic to see our officials blossom at our local tournaments, and to have witnessed the growth of our small community has really been something special. It’s developed into a solid team that supports, encourages and challenges each other to be their best,” Bormann remarked. “We can’t wait to see the next cohort come through and share in the enthusiasm and experience of those that have been with us for a while now.”

The Summer of tennis has already commenced for January and will culminate in the Australian Open, which will captivate the world from 20 January until 02 February, 2020. Be sure to get caught up in the action and excitement as we cheer on the world’s best players, alongside the NTs best officials.

Image: Eight of the nine officials from Darwin, Katherine & Alice Springs who will be representing the NT on the world stage.