TRAVELLING the world playing tennis was the life for Bilambil Heights resident Joan Nicoll in the 1960s.
From Wimbledon to Greece, France and America, she did it all.
"Generally we would travel and play in three-month stints all over the world, which was a fantastic period in my life," Mrs Nicoll said.
For a time she was the famous John Newcombe's doubles partner for the Australian leg of the world circuit, Margaret Court taking over from Joan in that role for overseas tournaments.
At the time, Mrs Nicoll was playing competitive tennis and the game was going through a transition.
"Back then when I played at Wimbledon, which was a huge thing, both amateur and professionals were playing against each other, not like today."
Mal Anderson was her favourite doubles partner, not only for his playing ability but also his personality.
"He was a fantastic player and a great person as well, which helped us win a few doubles titles, which was an added bonus."
It is her huge contribution to Tweed tennis, though, that stands out as much, if not more, than her playing career.
Having first grabbed a racquet at age six, Mrs Nicoll still has a hit between mentoring young players in the Tweed, which she has done for more than three decades.
"I have coached many good players over the years that have gone on to be state champions and things like that," she said.
"I am coaching a very promising young player called Caleb Maxsted at the moment and I still get a big thrill when I can see potential like he has."
Mrs Nicoll's contribution to tennis in the Tweed has not gone unnoticed, with the new cutting-edge Terranora tennis complex to bear her name as the Joan Nicoll Tennis Centre.
She still struggles to believe a building will be named after her and remains refreshingly modest about her work.
"It (naming) was a huge shock, to be honest, and I am not sure I deserved it, but I am immensely proud about the whole thing."
Mrs Nicoll played in two Australian Open tournaments, at Wimbledon and won titles in Denmark, Spain, England and Fiji.
At the senior level she represented Australia in four world team championships.
Asked which destination was her favourite, she struggled to pinpoint one.
"Oh gosh, in Austria we played at these wonderful courts with a backdrop of lakes and snow on the mountains, but places like Greece, where I played on a little island called Corfu, that was picturesque," she said.
"My favourite courts are the grass courts that used to be here in Australia at Memorial Drive in Adelaide, where we played Wilson Cup tournaments."
The Joan Nicoll Tennis Centre will:
- Feature 12 courts, including one feature court
- Have seating for 200 spectators at the main court
- Enable Tweed players to compete and improve their skills at an international-standard facility
- Provide a tennis complex for the use of all schools and sporting groups in the Tweed area
- Enable disabled players to participate in tennis; and
- Be located on Henry Lawson Dr, Terranora.
- Joan Nicoll's tips on being a good doubles player:
- Don't try to hit winners
- Aim your shots at the centre of your opponents
- Play the net as much as you can
- Use shots that complement your partner's game
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