CHAMPION: Joan and Graham Nicolls at the Tennis NSW awards night.
CHAMPION: Joan and Graham Nicolls at the Tennis NSW awards night. Contributed

Joan Nicoll honoured by Tennis NSW for commitment to sport

TWEED tennis stalwart, Joan Nicoll has been served a huge ace, being recognised by Tennis NSW with a prestigious Service to Tennis award.

At a gala awards night at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Joan was presented with her award by former Australian champion doubles player Todd Woodbridge OAM in front of a star-studded crowd that include legendary player Ken Rosewall.

The accolade came as a surprise for Joan who was going to attend the function in her capacity as a representative from the Tweed but she had no idea the honour was coming her way.

"I knew something was up as club president Rob Nienhaus rang to make sure I would be attending," she said.

"I thought there would be an award for the club, given what we had been through, but I never thought it would be for me."

 

Todd Woodbridge andJoan Nicoll at the presentation of Joan's Service to Tennis Award at the Tennis NSW Awards night in Sydney.
Todd Woodbridge andJoan Nicoll at the presentation of Joan's Service to Tennis Award at the Tennis NSW Awards night in Sydney.

In front of more than 340 people, representing clubs from across the state, Todd Woodbridge, who also MC'd the evening, read out Joan's long list of accomplishments and her successful tennis career which even had the guest of honour surprised.

"When the list of what I had done was being read, I thought to myself 'Wow, I've done all that?' - it really took me back," she said.

Having starting the sport at a young age in western Queensland, she went on to represent the Sunshine State at the age of 12.

Her prowess on the court saw her win the Queensland under 14, U15 and U17 singles championships, the doubles championships in U14, U15, U16, and U17, and then in the senior divisions she was state champion in 1957 and 1958.

She and husband Graham moved to the Tweed about 40 years ago where she became a bit of a tennis 'institution', taking great pride in encouraging and developing juniors from the area to go on to bigger and better things.

Her role at both a club and district level has been crucial in the growth and development of the sport on the Tweed and while she isn't playing competitively these days, she still enjoys a social game.

She was honoured to have the new Tennis Terranora complex named after her in 2017, only have the heartbreak of seeing the new clubhouse and the tennis memorabilia it housed destroyed by fire.

"It was a great honour to have such an impressive facility named after me ... we are looking forward to rebuilding it and I suppose now that I have been presented with this NSW award, the centre will have extra meaning," she said.

Tennis Terranora is looking to make a start on the clubhouse rebuilding process before Christmas this year after a highly successful fundraising campaign which included a major contribution from Tennis NSW.



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