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Back After 25 Years

Back After 25 Years
Krishneel Kumar of Fiji in action during the Fiji Tattslotto Fiji Open Tennis Championship at the Denarau Golf and Racquet Club in Nadi. Photo: Waisea Nasokia
May 27
13:23 2018

Wife of 1983 Fiji Tennis Open Champion returns to where it all started

Tennis brought the wife of 1983 Fiji Tennis Open champi­on, Robert Bird, back to Fiji. Accompanying her on the trip was a set of 25-year-old photographs and a newspa­per clipping. Together with her is her daughter Michelle Bird and her granddaughters Juhee Woo and Suhee Woo.

Annette Bird beamed with pride as she recalled the memora­ble day when the title of the Fiji Tennis Open shifted horizon from Fiji to the land of the long white clouds.

The late champion passed away five days before Christmas last year at the age of 73 and to keep his memory and love for tennis alive the Bird family visited Fiji.

Coincidentally, the family was dining at the Fiji Premium Club House that was 100 metres from where the 2018 Tattslot­to Fiji Open Tennis Championships were prepping up for its yearly tournament that had been going for over a 100 years.

It was at this tournament 25 years ago that the then 49-year-old New Zealander got his world stage recognition.

Mr Bird got his first world ranking and was ranked as one of the top 300 in the sport.

Robert Bird won the tournament over Fiji’s defending cham­pion Floyd Williams.

The Waikato player scooped the title from the defending champion 6-2 6-2.

Mrs Bird described the moment as one of those “hard work pays well” moment, saying that Mr Bird worked hard to win both the singles and doubles. It was a memory that Mrs. Bird wanted to re-visit by returning to Fiji.

Michelle said that although her father was part of numerous other tournaments, the Fiji Tennis Open was one of his big­gest achievement.

Listening at the lunch table to her late grandfather’s tennis legacy was 10-year old Juhee Woo. The little girl lightened up and confidently said that she hopes to one day play the Fiji Open and win like her grandfather.

The 2018 Fiji Tennis Open is presented by Tattslotto in as­sociation with Fiji National Sports Commission, Sportsworld, Aquasafe, Denarau Golf and Racquet Club and Punjas.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback: leonec@fijisun.com.fj

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