Serving their way into tennis folklore (sort of)
It wasn’t quite the Australian Open atmosphere some might have been hoping for but it was a final on the grandest stage.
On a wet and windy spring evening in Melbourne’s west, the Northern Suburban Night Tennis Association’s (NSNTA) grand finals took place as another season drew to a close.
For the majority of the day, it seemed as though the game’s biggest stage may have had to have been pushed back a week due to the weather overhead however thanks to some hard working volunteers — mainly the players themselves — they ensured that the NSNTA’s night of nights would go ahead.
Hillside and Essendon were due square off in the NSNTA’s B Grade 4 final although there was an injury concern for Hillside’s number one player Travis Deppeler after he cut his thumb instead of cutting lemons at work earlier in the week, however he put fans at ease in a pre-game interview by saying that he was good to go.
After Essendon knocked out the top seed in the semi finals, the Hillside boys would’ve have been excused had they admitted to a few nerves in the lead up but that was far from the case as the boys were oozing confidence going into the match up.
Despite the weather getting colder at the delayed start time of 7:50p.m, the courts were finally dry enough with the players finally taking to the court for their warm up with a boisterous reception from the crowd.
After the 15-person strong crowd became a little agitated after finishing their respective McDonalds hot beverages, the matches finally began, with dominating displays on either court. Deppeler and Danny Hawks dismantled Essendon’s top two players to the tune of a 6–0 scoreline however their dominance was curbed on the next court with Stefano Altieri and Marcus Tierney unable to find their groove, going down 6–0 to have the match level at 6–6 after the first two games.
Despite some heckling from the crowd…
… Deppeler continued his strong run of form, this time teaming up with Tierney to win 6–0 while Hawks and Altieri also cruised to win 6–1 to put Hillside in a commanding position heading into the final two games.
Essendon needed to find a spark if they were to produce a miracle comeback, and despite an early break on court two, Deppeler and Altieri assured Hillside would come home with the flag with some scintillating shots that Roger Federer can only dream of.
Despite Hawks and Tierney going down 6–3 on court two, the result was irrelevant as Hillside took out the NSNTA B Grade 4 title in style.
Deppeler was the star for Hillside, dropping just one game en route to a best on court performance. I guess we could see why he said he didn’t “give a f…” about his opponents in his pre match interview.
Despite the blustery conditions drowing out his words, Deppeler struggled to keep his emotions in check after the game.
Like Deppeler, Altieri was also speechless…
…and although he thanked the crowd for rallying behind the boys and getting the team across the line, he once again displayed the confidence required on the games biggest stage.
Deppeler, Altieri and Tierney had come up through the junior ranks together so it was an even sweeter moment for the trio.
As for their celebrations?
Well, Altieri might have dropped a hint in his post match interview.
I guess we’ll be seeing you ‘upstairs’ later on tonight.