Under the Auld Pump | Andrew Crawford

GOING GLOBAL: Andrew Crawford's passion for tennis has taken him around the world but he calls Warrnambool home. Picture: Morgan Hancock
GOING GLOBAL: Andrew Crawford's passion for tennis has taken him around the world but he calls Warrnambool home. Picture: Morgan Hancock

Andrew before we start speaking about your impressive sporting highlight, I note you were born in Launceston. What was it like growing up on the Apple Island?

It was really good. The only problem was it did get very cold in the winter, but during the summer months we would get some great days.

There’s plenty of things to do and see over there. It’s got everything you need.

I played footy and cricket at primary school but fell in love with playing tennis when I was in grade four.

I can remember we lived near a supermarket and I would go over and hit tennis balls against the supermarket wall for hours on end.

I ended up having lessons and than played in various tennis tournaments as a junior.

The tournaments were at places like Burnie and Hobart – in the end we played all around the state.

How old were you when you made the first trip to the mainland to play tennis?

I would have been 13 or 14. There was a group of us about 15 children who came over to play in a tennis tournament in Adelaide.

I can still remember we caught the boat to Melbourne and then got on the train to Adelaide. We also went and watched an AFL game of footy between Adelaide and St Kilda. I thought it was an amazing trip.

Where did tennis take you next?

I made a few trips to Melbourne to play in various tournaments, but the next biggest thing occurred in 1999 when I went to America to do an internship at the John Newcombe Tennis Ranch in Texas.

Was the former champion Australian tennis player there when you worked at the ranch?

I saw him a few times in the year. It was an incredible experience because there were so many top tennis players who would train at the ranch.

There used to be tennis clinics each weekend, and there would be more than 100 adults take part and then during the summer months, we would have camps for juniors over ten weeks and more than 200 kids would attend.

I then had a stint at Lake Jackson in Texas at another tennis club. I worked there for three months before moving to England.

Were you involved with tennis in England?

No. I just wanted a break. I travelled around England for a year doing odd jobs before I went back home to Launceston in 2001.

I was visiting various schools coaching tennis before I went back to England in 2002, but I got a tennis coaching job in Florida and I jumped at the opportunity.

It was with Cliff Drysdale. I worked there for more than four years and met Helen in Florida in 2004.

She was originally from Murray Bridge in South Australia. She loves her tennis. We move back to Melbourne in 2006.

Andrew I take it you had a job when you made the move to Melbourne?

Yes. It was at Kooyong. Helen managed the tennis business while I was doing the tennis coaching.

We stayed there for six years before moving to Rockhampton in 2012. I was the head coach with Tennis Rockhampton and Helen was the manager of the business.

When did you move to Warrnambool?

It was in 2015. We got the chance to set up Beachside Tennis Academy down at Warrnambool’s Lawn Tennis Club. It’s been a great move.

We’re introducing more tennis programs all the time. The winter months are a bit quieter but we have six clay courts which keep things rolling along through winter. The summer months are extremely busy with so many locals and tourists using the facilities.

Andrew coming to Warrnambool with excellent tennis qualifications have you found more children and adults are interested in tennis across the region?

There seems to be more interest than when we first moved here. Sport in this area is basically based around footy and cricket, but the trend is slowly changing.

Our numbers are slowly growing and there are some very talented young tennis players within this region. There’s a big tennis tournament beginning on Wednesday and we’ve been kept busy helping organising the event.

How many tennis players will take part in the tournament?

There will be over 250 players in various grades from ten years of age up to adults.

The players come from all over the state and some from interstate. It will inject plenty of money into the local economy as it goes over five days.

The tournament is a very serious event as there are National Ranking Points on offer. We’ve also got plenty of other tennis clinic programs over the summer.

Andrew will you be making the trip to Melbourne for the Australian Open Tennis Tournament next month?

We made the trip for the last two years with a bus load of local kids, but sadly this year the sponsorship deal fell through.

We’ll still be very busy down at Warrnambool Lawn Tennis and will undoubtedly be watching some of the action from Melbourne on the television.

Have you and your family enjoyed the move to Warrnambool?

It’s been a great move. Warrnambool is a lovely spot. We’re not far from the beach. The only downside I have is like so many other people it gets terribly cold in the winter but the same can be said about Tasmania.

Talking about Tasmania – are your parents still living there?

Yes. They have a place like a hostel which looks after 30 people with various types of disabilities. They give the people a bed, breakfast, lunch and tea that need care. It’s home for those people.

My parents have been running the establishment for years and now my brother Jamie is managing the business.