FIRST LOVE: Wurtulla News owner Gavin Yarrow has resumed his tennis coaching career.
FIRST LOVE: Wurtulla News owner Gavin Yarrow has resumed his tennis coaching career. Janine Hill

Anyone for tennis with Rafter's old coach?

THE man who coached a young Pat Rafter is back teaching kids how to play tennis.

Gavin Yarrow has resumed the coaching career he put on hold when he and his wife, Sue, bought Wurtulla News 15 years ago.

Mr Yarrow was coaching two of the older Rafter brood when he took on Pat.

"He'd been walking under the net picking up balls. I said he'd better have lessons as well. From day one, he was dedicated. He hit the ball beautifully," he said.

Mr Yarrow grew up playing tennis in Brisbane and Ipswich and was state champion for about four years in his teens.

"One of the earliest photographs of me I can remember is with me holding a plastic tennis racquet and dad throwing a ball to me," he said.

Until he and his wife bought the newsagency to provide a stable income for their family, Mr Yarrow had run his own coaching business from the age of 21.

He has travelled overseas with players, including Swedish champion Lahrs Anders-Walgren, and was director of tennis at the Hyatt Regency Coolum in its heyday.

Of the Hyatt's celebrity, sports star and corporate guests, he said John Singleton and Gerry Harvey had been his favourites to coach but he said "coaching a young Mr Pat Rafter was one the greatest pleasures a coach could have."

Although he has enjoyed the people side of running the newsagency, and has still been playing tennis competitively, he still felt something was lacking.

"I've thoroughly enjoyed it but I've missed coaching tennis," he said.

Mr Yarrow is now coaching players from juniors upwards in the afternoons at the Kawana Tennis Courts.

"I'm happy to coach anybody but what I love about coaching is when someone just wants to learn. I've got a man in his 70s who's so into it," he said.

He said every player got something different out of the game, and while some might go on to be competitive players, every one could learn something from the game.

He said tennis was a lesson in fun, accomplishment, self esteem, patience, manners, discipline, hard work, perseverance and attitude.

And there was nobody who could not learn, he said.

"Get someone on a tennis court and I guarantee I can teach them how to play the game. I might have to give them a giant tennis racquet but I guarantee I can get them hitting the ball."

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