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goldenlox
Dec 25th, 2006, 10:34 PM
Stolle’s Perth cup still runneth over
26th December 2006, 8:00 WST

Visiting Perth is a joy for tennis pundit Fred Stolle.


International tennis commentators, avid frequent flyers as they are, have their favourite and not-so-favourite regular destinations. Fred Stolle, a mainstay of international tennis commentary for three decades, admits there are places he tires of visiting — but Perth isn’t one of them. In town for Hopman Cup XIX starting at the Burswood Dome on Saturday, the International Tennis Hall of Famer is planning to combine stints in the commentary box with other more leisurely pursuits — dining at Coco’s, sampling reds from the State’s premium vineyards and walks along the Swan River foreshore with wife Pat. “I’ve always enjoyed Perth and the people over here and if it was a little bit closer to everywhere else, it would be the best place in the world to live,” the 68-year-old says. “The only trouble is it’s a bit far away from the major cities of Sydney and Melbourne.”

Not that Sydney-born Stolle is complaining, because he rates Perth crowds up there with the most appreciative he’s come across: “They enjoy the Hopman Cup and you can see it — there aren’t crowds anywhere in the world as enthusiastic as in Perth.”

The Hopman Cup, an invitation tournament, is decided in Perth each year by a series of singles and mixed doubles matches between playing pairs from eight selected countries. Karen Tighe will host ABC TV’s live telecast of the six-day event, with Stolle forming part of a commentary team including Louise Pleming, Steve Robilliard and Peter Wilkins. Having represented Australia in three Davis Cups, Stolle knows exactly what it takes to win team events and he’s tipping a big performance from Russian pair Nadia Petrova and Dmitry Tursunov at Hopman Cup XIX. “Petrova’s had a fabulous year and she’s got the monkey off her back as far playing against the top players is concerned,” he said. “Tursunov has got to be favourite to win a lot of his singles games, but invariably it comes down to the mixed doubles.” Though not willing to write off the locals, Stolle feels Australian duo Alicia Molik and Mark Philippoussis will find the tournament tough going.

“They’re going to struggle, but they are half a chance,” he concedes. “Philippoussis is struggling but he has got a lot of talent. Rebound ace is a tough surface for him and he is not as quick around the baseline. He has to go into the net a bit more.”

A regular in world top 10 rankings in the 1960s and 1970s, Stolle occupied the No. 2 slot in 1964 and 1966. His finest moments on court came with wins in the 1965 French Open and the US Open the following year. Three times runner-up at Wimbledon and twice at the Australian Open, Stolle also landed 16 grand slam doubles titles.

Stolle now oversees the tennis program at Turnberry Isle Resort and Club in Aventura, Florida, where he’s been based for 32 years and, ever the competitor, he’ll be donning the sweat-bands next month to take part in a seniors event at the Australian Open in Melbourne.

“That’s when you get to know you’re getting old — when they invite you home to play in the Senior Mixed Doubles,” he jokes. “It’s fun and no one expects you to turn any Catherine wheels. You just get out there and they say, ‘Look at that old greyheaded bloke out there, he’s still moving around — he can’t jump, though’.”

But he can still provide a rattling good call. The Hopman Cup, ABC, December 30-January 5

ozfan44
Dec 26th, 2006, 05:25 AM
yay another Perth fan!


If you haven't been to perth.........what the hell are you waiting for?

Ben.
Dec 26th, 2006, 05:47 AM
glad fred stolle is gonna do commentary again :)

cfc_4_ever
Dec 26th, 2006, 09:43 AM
yay another Perth fan!


If you haven't been to perth.........what the hell are you waiting for?

But if he didnt like Perth, is he realli going to say it in a public forum???

(Not saying he dosent like perth, and not saying perth is crap)

Its just that when players say it too (about anywhere), i always think, that they could be lying, cause there realli gonna say, It is boring and i dont like the tournment.

goldenlox
Dec 26th, 2006, 10:13 AM
From what I read about the Russian players, they like Perth a lot.

Ben.
Dec 26th, 2006, 11:19 AM
From what I read about the Russian players, they like Perth a lot.

yeah they probably do. i liked it when nastya & marat came over to perth for HC & paired together in 2004. plus i liked it when sveta came over this year :)

goldenlox
Dec 26th, 2006, 11:25 AM
They ask players to come to Perth by their ranking going into the USO.
Dementieva hasn't been asked the last few years, because Nastya, Sveta and Nadia accept the invitation.
Sharapova turned it down the last 2 years, but she always turns down invitations to play for Russia.

For the girls who play Fed Cup for Russia, they all accept the invitation to Perth. Which means they hear good things about Perth and Hopman Cup.