Phil Bowden alternated between pride in the progress of Tasmanian tennis and optimism for its future like a baseliner switching between forehand and backhand.
Honoured by both state and national bodies for his 21-year stint on the Tennis Tasmania board, the Launceston grandfather-of-seven leaves the organisation with a proud legacy.
Basking in the spotlight as the Launceston Regional Tennis Centre staged the finals of this year's Launceston International tournaments, 72-year-old Bowden couldn't help but reflect on the city's bumpy road to such a desired conclusion.
"The work we did to get this centre up and running has been the most satisfying achievement of my time with Tennis Tasmania," he said.
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"In 1997 when I came in, Hart Street was Launceston's tennis centre. What was on this site was the old ABC Bowls Club and some fairly useless land around it.
"We lobbied to attract money from all levels of government and eventually we were able to get this centre built, albeit without the clubhouse which was always going to be stage two.
"With some clever architecture and engineering we were able to place the centre against the existing indoor sports arena and that was a great combination because it provided the infrastructure we could not afford to build. But now we need that clubhouse so there is still work to be done."
Having received an award from Tennis Australia at last month's Australian Open in Melbourne, Bowden was similarly acknowledged on Sunday by Tennis Tasmania for his contribution and service.
A huon pine trophy was engraved with the message: "Your dedication, passion, commitment and tenure will be remembered amongst past, present and future Tennis Tasmania board and staff. Your legacy will long remain with the evolution of the Launceston Regional Tennis Centre."
"I was very humbled, it meant a lot," said Bowden, whose time on the board included five years as vice-president and six as president.
The Hobart-born retired contract fencer's daughters Kate, Jane and Gina all represented the state in junior tennis teams, Gina rooming with Sam Stosur at the Australian Institute of Sport when they were both 11.
Having moved to Launceston in 1971, Bowden said one of the most impressive achievements for Tasmanian tennis was avoiding the sort of parochial disagreements which have dogged other sports in the state.
"In the early 2000s we abolished the regions as far as administering tennis and put it to the clubs to elect the Tennis Tasmania board. I have no doubt that eliminated the rivalry," he said.
"Since then we've been so fortunate in being able to have three international tournaments across our state and if the women were to have a WTA Cup equivalent of the hugely successful men's ATP Cup it would be great to see something like that come to Tasmania."
Tennis Tasmania chief executive Darren Sturgess paid tribute to Bowden and a team led by new chairman Pip Leedham.
He said a proposed administrative centre for the regional tennis centre was nearing the building stage with $3.1 million funding secured from local, state and federal bodies plus Tennis Australia.
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"We're just waiting on final agreements so that funds can be released and we can bring the centre to life," he said. "It's a really exciting opportunity and a much-needed facility.
"Once built it would give us an opportunity to put our hand up for other events."
The proposed building, which would overlook centre court, would be located on an area which currently forms part of the car park and court three.
Sturgess said an impressive network of volunteers had been pivotal to the success of the Launceston International tournament.
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