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Thursday, 22 September 2011
Page: 11307


Mr TEHAN (Wannon) (12:25): It is a great pleasure to follow the member for Bennelong, because I had great delight in pointing out to him last week an article by Patrick Smith on the back page of the Australian, which was really all about those who laugh last laughing the loudest. A few years ago the member for Bennelong was held to ridicule, I think it is fair to say, for making the call about Sam Stosur that she would go on to win a grand slam. Showing great foresight, great vision and great knowledge of the game, Mr Alexander has proven himself correct, and a great identifier and spotter of tennis talent in this country. I congratulate him on that, because the media can be a vicious game, and he had put himself out there by making what I think was a very brave call in the media, which the public could see—very much as he is doing now as the member for Bennelong—and he has been proved right.

And I congratulate Sam Stosur for helping to prove he was right! She had done so incredibly well. She is the first female tennis player to win a grand slam for Australia since Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1980. What a great tennis player she was. They both, of course, follow in the fine traditions of Margaret Court. I grew up with a father who was a very keen tennis player and loved to regale us with stories about the great players, and he thought that the best Australian female tennis player we had ever seen was Margaret Court. He used to tell me a lot about her famous victories, especially in grand slams. I was privileged enough to watch Evonne Goolagong, as she was then, win Wimbledon in 1980 on the television, and I have to say it was a courageous win and a fantastic win. The way she represented not only Australia but also our Indigenous communities was an absolute credit to her.

It is terrific now that Sam Stosur has followed in those illustrious footsteps. It has not been easy for her. Over her career, she has had to fight injury. She also had to fight through a stage in the nineties when tennis, especially female tennis, in Australia really declined, and she has very much led the charge to get women's tennis back up to the place it should be—that is, where we are competing for grand slam titles.

The way Sam won that US Open final was also terrific. It was not easy for her. She had tough matches right through. Then, when it came to the final, in coming up against a Williams sister—as my learned friend in these matters, the member for Bennelong, said—it was probably the greatest battle that she was ever going to fight in her life and she did it with style. Let us not forget the background to it as well, because in that match the whole of the crowd was rooting for a US victory. Sadly, there was a little bit of bad sportsmanship and a little bit of egging on to get the crowd really eager for that US victory. She had the mental strength—and I think there were some that had questioned whether Sam did have the mental strength—to put all that behind her, and she single-handedly and determinedly went about securing what was a magnificent victory.

Once again, I congratulate Sam Stosur on a magnificent performance. A would also like to congratulate the member for Bennelong for having the foresight to see her greatness those many years ago.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mrs D'Ath ): Order! It being 12.30 debate is interrupted in accordance with standing order 192.