The legacy of Launceston’s Angie Cunningham was celebrated along with the winner of the Hobart International Women’s Final at the weekend.
Belgian second seed Elise Mertens was awarded the inaugural Angie Cunningham trophy, named after the former Launceston junior tennis star who lost her battle with Motor Neuron Disease in 2016.
Angie’s husband Pat Cunningham was on hand to present the trophy, along with the couple’s two daughters, aged eight and 11.
Speaking on behalf of the family, Mr Cunningham said he knew exactly what the honour would have meant to his late wife.
“Angie was a proud Tasmanian, so to be recognised in this way in her local community is something very special,” he said.
“(The Hobart International) was a tournament she always insisted on being involved in.
“To be honest, she would be embarrassed by this level of attention.
“It wasn’t her style to be front and centre in this way, however, we are very humbled and proud.
“This really is a beautiful thing.”
Originally from Launceston, Angie Cunningham (nee Woolcock) was a world number-two-ranked junior, who made Australian Open and Wimbledon junior girls’ doubles finals.
After her junior career was curtailed by injury, Angie returned to Melbourne for university and began working on the Women’s Tennis Association after graduating.
She spent the next 10 years based in London and working around the world with the biggest names in women’s tennis as Women’s Tennis Association Tour’s vice-president of player relations and on-site operations.
Angie died at the age of 43 after being diagnosed with MND in the middle of 2012.
MND is a condition without treatment and without cure.
It is 100 per cent fatal and most people are given two years to live upon diagnosis.
Tennis Tasmania chief executive Darren Sturgess said the new trophy ensured Angie’s legacy remained part of the tournament.
“To coincide with the 25th edition of our event, we felt there was no greater way to honour a legendary Tasmanian tennis identity who was respected globally,” he said.
“Tennis Australia is an official partner of FightMND, a charity which resonates with many tennis fans, players and staff.”
This year’s trophy is the result of a partnership between Tennis Tasmania and University of Tasmania, with virtual reality technology used in the design process.
Fittingly, it was left to Launceston-based designer Anita Dineen to navigate the finer points of the trophy, which was inspired by a female forehand stroke.
Mr Sturgess said the award reflected the direction of the tournament.
“Tasmania has a wonderfully progressive arts and cultural scene and we see the tournament looking to embrace this in the future,” he said.
The Hobart International was held at the Domain Tennis Centre from January 7-13.