January 17, 2017
Two new year-end world number ones. The first British man to ever hold that honour, and the first German woman since the great Steffi Graf. An Australian wins the ATP Tour Finals Doubles title without dropping a match.
And an enigmatic Australian talent suspended for being, well, himself.
Much has gone on in the tennis world recently, but all pale in comparison to the biggest tennis news story of the year.
Sue Delmege, the person who simply is Northern Suburbs Tennis Association to a few generations of tennis players who are too young to know any different (myself included), and to a few generations of tennis players who are too old to remember what came prior, is calling time on a storied career.
I’m sure plenty will be (or have been) written and said about Sue’s contribution to tennis by people who are far more authoritative on the subject than I am, so I’ll just reflect on my own memories.
I remember the obvious dedication that Sue had (and still has) to the people, the event and the sport when I was a young kid playing tournaments for the first time. Sue would always be full of encouragement, always trying to convince me that anyone was beatable no matter how badly the odds were against me, and would be there until everyone had gone at the end of the night.
I remember sitting in Sue’s office between matches on hot tournament days, trying to give the impression (even if only to myself) that my privileged position on that side of the tournament desk somehow offset my lack of ability on the other side of it.
I remember while working at Talus Street that Sue’s morning coffee was always the first order of business after the morning rush, and that most of the time I’d make up some reason to have to take it in to her, and then proceed to make myself at home for the next 15 minutes trying to avoid the tedium of work.
I remember playing against Sue in Saturday afternoon comp as a, ahem, ‘temperamental’ teenager. Those lobs.
I remember Sue attending my wedding, joining those others closest to me from the tennis community there, and then meeting up with Sue in London when I was there as part of a year-long around-the-world adventure and she was visiting Wimbledon.
Many of us have seen Sue exist without NSTA (as a friend, a doubles partner, or for two people who may or may not read this, a mother), but very few of us have seen NSTA exist without Sue. I’m sure it will be an interesting time for the Association as it moves into a new chapter, but I certainly wish Sue all the best in what lies ahead for her. Again, I’m sure that there will be plenty said in thanks and recognition, however I’d like to take this opportunity to publicly thank Sue for her encouragement, support and friendship over the last 20 or so years.
– Joel Palmer
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