Patricia Jensen Takes Us Down Under To The 2012 Australian Open Wild Card Playoffs
by Steve Fogleman, TennisEastCoast.com
Patricia Jensen is Director of Tournament Operations for the Australian Open Wild Card Playoffs. She’s also the Queen Mum of American Tennis, having raised four pros. Yesterday, she let me know what to expect in Norcross this weekend.
Last year, we had Bobby Reynolds and Robby Ginepri representing Atlanta on the men’s side. Without a Georgia man in the mix, who is going to be the crowd favorite?
I can honestly say that we have one of the strongest draws that we’ve ever had. Even though it somewhat disappoints me that we don’t have a Georgia male player, we’re excited about Irina Falconi and Mallory Burdette, both training here in Georgia and being somewhat from Georgia.
From the crowd favorite perspective, Rhyne Williams, who played for Tennessee, who happens to related to one of the tennis world’s favorite coaches, Coach Mike DePalmer. His grandson is Rhyne Williams. So, alot of Atlanta has been following Rhyne for a long time.
Is this the first time that Irina Falconi has competed here since college?
She played the wild card event two years ago at the same facility. This is the fourth annual (Australian Open Wild Card Playoffs).
Irina was here last year in street clothes and got a great reception. Do we expect her to get the loudest cheers?
She has a very strong following here in Atlanta. All the Georgia Tech fans will be out here. I have so much respect for her, because last year, even though she wasn’t in the tournament, she came and played with the media, and she did a few appearances with TV and radio stations. She was really involved in the tournament, but she was there to support the event and her colleagues.
Will this be a homecoming for Mallory Burdette as well?
This is great for Atlanta. She has a great following because she did train at Racquet Club of the South at one time.
Tell me about the “Battle of Georgia”, the exhibition where five local teams will battle it out on Friday night for the right to take on the Bryans.
All my money’s on (former pro) Grant Stafford! Seriously, we’re so happy that both Georgia and Georgia Tech are participating. Nathan Pasha from Georgia is a major fan favorite, not only because he played for Georgia, but he’s also from Atlanta. He was a wild card at the BB&T Atlanta Open last year. Atlanta has followed him very closely forever.
According to Jensen, event organizers have already sold more than 3,500 tickets for the Battle of Georgia exhibition with the Bryan Brothers.
How does the venue get this wonderful event every year?
The USTA has chosen us worthy and we’re doing an efficient and appropriate job in putting on this tournament.
NOTES: The largest Australian bakery in the United States will once again be on hand for the Taste of Australian Tennis Down Under… Virgin Australia is offering significant discounts on player and attendees who wish to fly to Australia for the Open…USTA Director of Player Development Patrick McEnroe will not be back in Norcross this year due to other commitments…Though neither Jensen nor I knew at the time of the interview, a third Georgian, Grace Min, will also be competing in the women’s draw.