Coach trading shots with a tennis great
WITH 200 singles titles - the most in history - Rod Laver has passed on decades of tips to some of the world's finest modern-day tennis players.
Congratulatory video messages from Roger Federer and Rafeal Nadal at his recent 80th birthday in the United States, and of course the arena in Melbourne named in his honour, indicate just how great a mark Rocket Rod has left on the game.
But when it comes to the coaching of his family members, Rod is happy to take a sideline seat and leave it all to former Coffs Coast tennis coach Bryce Cunningham.
Joining Rod and his family for the birthday bash in San Diego, Bryce is the tennis coach of Rod's granddaughter, working out of the Omni La Costa Resort, for the company set up by former top ranked South African player Cliff Drysdale.
Bryce's story is one of rising to the top in sport, after being dealt a cruel blow as a player.
"Bryce was a good player on the rise when he was living here on the Coffs Coast ... he was ranked about 125th in Australia as an 18-year-old," his father Bob said.
"Unfortunately his playing career was cut short when he was involved in an accident at Woolgoolga.
"After that he kept his drive and his love of the sport and straight away became a coach, almost immediately moving to the United States as a coach."
Countless lessons, net and serve pointers later and Bryce is the Tennis Director of the exlcusive country club, rubbing shoulders as a personal friend of one of the greatest to ever hold a racket.