Barty party's over but we're having a ball

Voice of Real Australia: The Barty party's over but we're having a ball


Opinion
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Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from Australian Community Media, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by...

Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from Australian Community Media, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by email, or here to forward it to a friend. Today's newsletter is written by Ballarat Courier journalist Melanie Whelan.

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Bouncing around: From Ash Barty to Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon to ... Ballarat? Oh yes, indeedy!

Bouncing around: From Ash Barty to Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon to ... Ballarat? Oh yes, indeedy!

Hi sports fans,

Greetings from Ballarat, where local athletes and spectators are eagerly awaiting the opening of the city's new $24 million indoor stadium. And the switching on of the indoor jumbo-vision screen too, of course!

More in a moment on this big win for sport in regional Victoria.

First, to everyone's favourite Australian tennis player. Yes, sadly, the Ashleigh Barty party is over at Wimbledon.

Barty may be returning home without the Wimbledon trophy, but she will still carry the world No.1 ranking when she lobs in Brisbane this week for a well-deserved break.

The French Open champ's thrilling three-sets loss to American Alison Riske lasted only eight minutes less than Rafael Nadal's straight-sets drubbing of Joao Sousa.

While the men were playing on Centre Court, Barty was shunted to Court 2, the third-ranked court at the All England Club, prompting a journalist to ask Nadal if the more competitive women's encounter featuring the world No.1 might have been better off staged on Centre Court instead of his mismatch.

Nadal returned serve.

"I am the world No.2 and I won 18 grand slams," the Spaniard said.

"My answer is not no or yes. My answer is they make a decision. You are putting Ashleigh Barty in front of me. For me, both decisions are good."

And then there's Canberra's Nick Kyrgios, who has been slapped with two fines for unsportsmanlike conduct at Wimbledon.

GOLDEN: Retired Australian Diamond Julie Corletto takes junior netballers Lucy Trigg, Lizzy Day and Charlotte Prendergast for a sneak peek at Ballarat's newest netball courts which will open this weekend. Picture: Adam Trafford

GOLDEN: Retired Australian Diamond Julie Corletto takes junior netballers Lucy Trigg, Lizzy Day and Charlotte Prendergast for a sneak peek at Ballarat's newest netball courts which will open this weekend. Picture: Adam Trafford

Meanwhile here in Ballarat, we are beaming as we wait for our indoor jumbovision to be plugged in.

Basketball Ballarat has received the keys as the managers of the city's new $24 million sports and events centre. Community players will take to the stadium's courts in the coming days.

This is big not just for Ballarat but for all of western Victoria. We have promising players from towns as far away as Hamilton, Ararat and Horsham who travel for more than two hours to play in Ballarat and take their game to the next level.

The only thing is, regional basketball and netball have been booming so much that game time has been at a premium. Some games do not get on court until after 10pm. Logistically, it's been a nightmare.

Basketball is so big in Ararat, players have worn out floorboards.

Ballarat's new indoor stadium is the first built in the region since 1984. The city has been competitive in attracting elite basketball teams in recent years even though the facilities have not met modern, professional standards.

WORDS OF WISDOM: Ballarat Miners coach Brendan Joyce with players.

WORDS OF WISDOM: Ballarat Miners coach Brendan Joyce with players.

But you only have to look to Bendigo to see the benefits of a revamped sporting arena. They have hosted a Super Netball practice match, the Australian Boomers in a World Cup qualifier and are preparing for The Battle of Bendigo between boxers Jeff Horn and Michael Zerafa.

I'm sure Ballarat would happily host an NBL visit from the Illawarra Hawks' new American recruit LaMelo Ball and his Kardashian-style family, as Tim Barrow writes for Illawarra Mercury, Even Barack Obama has started following the Hawks on social media.

Perhaps the Hawks' first championship coach Brendan Joyce, who has returned to Ballarat to coach the Miners, can put in a good word with the Hawks about our new stadium!

See below for more news and views from around the Australian Community Media network.

Melanie Whelan, journalist Ballarat Courier

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