Interviews for the SAPSASA Centenary publication – Alistair McDonald
Former head of Tennis SA, Alistair McDonald, shares with us some memories from his SAPSASA experience.
From successful SAPSASA trials as a junior, to competing on the college tennis circuit in the USA, to then heading up the governing body for tennis in South Australia, Alistair McDonald’s journey through the tennis world has been one littered with success, both as a player and an administrator.
The journey for McDonald began at the Holmsdale tennis club in Adelaide in the 80s, where as a young boy, he successfully tried out for a place in the SAPSASA squad to travel to Tintanara in the state’s south east.
“We were one of the districts in Adelaide and we got to play one of the country districts,” McDonald said.
“There was a state SAPSASA team as well and I remember from that, there was a selection process and I went away to, I think it was Brisbane, in 1984.”
In what seems to be a common thread with all former SAPSASA team members, the social aspect is at least as important as the playing aspect in McDonald’s experiences.
“Oh, certainly at the state level, it was obviously an event to go experience, it was probably as much social as it was learning and getting good competition,” McDonald said.
“I remember going away at the next level down, which was your local SAPSASA where you go out to the country, and obviously that was just an experience to stay on a farm which was really good too.”
McDonald remains in contact with several former team mates and competitors to this day. One of these former players, Chris Mahoney, is now the national head coach in Melbourne.
Mahoney and McDonald both went through the college system in the USA.
“We were in the US in different schools and then you end up meeting later on in life, him as a coach and me as an administrator,” McDonald said.
As you would expect as an administrator in the sport, McDonald is positive in his advice for prospective SAPSASA competitors.
“I think any sort of representative sport is good, it means you’ve been picked,” McDonald said.
“You’ve tried out and achieved something and I think it’s good to be able to use sport, or tennis, as a vehicle to have new experiences and meet new people.”