My MPTA Story - Peter Morrish

1. Where did you grow up and what are some of your earliest memories of playing tennis?

I grew up on a farm in Kingston, with its own concrete tennis court. If Saturday tennis on grass was washed out, we would play on district courts – Kingston, Dean, Newlyn, St Augustine’s, Bald Hills.

2. You began your MPTA junior career in 1979, how many of those juniors are still playing today?

I don’t think any, I played with Neil James and Gary Lindsay who are/have been heavily involved with the association in the past. I have actually played with and against, children of people I played with in my junior days.

3. How would you describe yourself as a tennis player?

An average player who has enjoyed playing on the Mt Prospect grass courts for many years.

4. You have been part of a number of premierships during your time at MPTA, what are some of your favourite memories of those wins?

I won an U16 juniors premiership in I think 1979 (photo 1), won two A2 premierships in 1983 and 1984 (photo 2), with Kingston, with experienced Kingston players and more recently an A3 premiership with my son Lochie, in I think 2007.

5. Who are the best five players you’ve seen play during your time with MPTA?

Peter Sewell, Peter Brennan, Justin McGrath and whilst not at their prime whilst playing at MPTA, Geoff Reece and Chris Todd.

6. You were MPTA President from 2008-11, what accomplishments from this time are you most proud of?

Middle retractable netting between the two banks of grass courts/other improvements to the association – kitchen renovations.

7. Describe the honour of being awarded Life Membership of MPTA.

A great personal thrill and joined my father as a Life Member of this association.

8. Your father was also Treasurer and Secretary of the MPTA and a Life Member, what were some of his major achievements?

He was secretary and treasurer in late 1950’s as well as a player. One of his roles was to arrange the draws of the competitions played on the district courts, before “Park lake” complex was finished in 1966 and all other roles of taking minutes and responsible for the finances of the association.

9. Tell us about some of the great people you’ve worked alongside during your years on the committee?

Gary Lindsay for his passion, longevity and total time invested in MPTA as player, committee member, past president and now curator/Tulsa Andrews also did a great job, with replacing Jenny Jolliffe, who served as a long term president of Juniors.

10. Can you describe just how popular tennis was during the 1970s-1980s and do you have any thoughts as to the decline in participation in the last couple of decades?

Back then, it was the social outing of the week and it was common for people to be still in the club rooms at midnight, after Saturdays play. Competitions were far stronger across all grades back then and the premierships I won in 1983 and 1984 in then A2, would be between A grade and A1 standard now.

11. MPTA players have a long association with Country Week, what are some of your favourite memories?

I played junior country week for five to six years culminating in U19 premiership in 1982 (photo 3). Played on City Oval and then Sebastopol and Wendouree ovals and the year we won, we actually played on Hammond Park, Creswick. Playing in country week, was looked forward to every year, as a lot of the teams had the same players playing each year.

12. Matches are decided by games won rather than sets at MPTA, what is your view on this?

I’m okay with this as it makes all games important, to overall match result, and instills a need to fight for every game.

13. What makes playing at MPTA such an enjoyable experience?

I think the courts and surrounds are so appealing, safe and picturesque. Overall the people who play, have tennis as a common interest and are very friendly.

14. What does the MPTA need to focus on in the years ahead to prosper?

This is a difficult one to answer. There are now many alternatives to tennis and overall time involved with Saturday juniors and seniors, may keep people away from playing – additional twilight/after work competitions may work.

15. What advice do you have for people wanting to become involved with MPTA?

Get involved and be active in any way. We all have individual abilities and different perspectives. Being a committee member in any form – executive committee or on sub-committees, is not overly time consuming, but rewarding.

16. What is the best piece of advice you have for the young children taking up tennis today?

Enjoy the game, the friendships formed and the social interaction