Harvey serves up his 60th Open
CURRUMBIN'S Harvey Crooks attends his 60th straight Australian Open Tennis Championships this Monday.
Every single year since five years after the close of the Second World War, Mr Crooks has been in Melbourne watching the improving rackets and skills, not to mention hairstyles, of the world's greatest men and women of tennis.
A self-confessed “tennis fanatic”, 78-year-old Mr Crooks said he had never been terribly extroverted about his Australian Open passion and attended his first event in 1950 after his father gave him a ticket as a reward for joining the Geelong Grammar tennis team.
“I'm quite well known in some tennis circles, both here and in Victoria,” he said.
“I trained with Harry Hopman, who they named the Hopman Cup after, back in the 1950s and I played A-grade tennis but never went professional.
“I've always just simply loved it.”
Mr Crooks plans on going to the Open “for as long as possible” and also notably shares his birth date with the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge to the public on March 20, 1932.
He said he was 75 years old the day the bridge celebrated its 75th birthday.
“My son was actually helping to organise the people crossing the bridge on that date, so I was able to go as well.”
Mr Crooks said he used to enjoy the matches played at the old venue in Kooyong in Melbourne's east.
“The earlier ones were all held out there.
“Because it wasn't a big stadium, players used to play on a lot of the outside courts and you'd be virtually sitting right next to them.
“I still enjoy going back there to meet old friends and it's like a holiday because I have family down there.”
He moved to Currumbin in 1996 and still teaches tennis but “not too much anymore”.
“I'm doing some tennis coaching for a few kids.
“I also do some coaching sessions with an organisation called Thrower House, who help underprivileged kids.