North Meets South: two exhibition tournaments

Frances Tiafoe meets with fans at the 2017 Stowe Mountain Lodge Classic exhibition tournament

2017 Stowe Mountain Lodge Classic athlete Tommy Haas and Jake Burton pose at the start of the Mount Mansfield zipline

North Meets South: From Stowe to Kooyong

From Vermont…

Many of you have heard about our launch of the Stowe Mountain Lodge Classic this past August, which we created as a warm-up exhibition tournament to the US Open the following week. The SMLC is a low-key alternative to the bustle and lights of New York, and this past year we had players casually signing autographs before matches, taking dips in the local rivers, and zip-lining from Mt. Mansfield, the highest peak in Vermont. 

 

…to Melbourne

Happy guests at the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club

When asked about our goals for the SMLC, our response often includes another tournament, the Kooyong Classic, which takes place each January in Melbourne as a warm-up exhibition tournament for the Australian Open. First held in 1988, the Kooyong Classic began when the Australian Open moved locations to its current site at Melbourne Park and Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club was newly available. It began modestly and attracted mostly Australian players, but over the years it grew to attract some of the biggest names in the sport. From our home in Vermont, we look to the Kooyong Classic as a model for what the SMLC can become, which is an annual event on the tennis calendar that attracts global interest from fans, players and sponsors. 
 

Kooyong Crush

Our other point of interest in Kooyong is the fact that we visit the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club each January with our Australian Open guests. It’s a lovely club right in Melbourne, and when you step in you’re met with trophies and pieces of memorabilia from all the Australian tennis greats of the 20th century. At Kooyong, we play tennis on their famed grass courts (don’t forget that for 80 years the Australian Open was a grass court event!). We then head up to the club for lunch — and a glass of the incredibly refreshing Kooyong Crush — before going back to The Langham to shower up and get ready for the night session.  
 
 

Visit both (but not on the same trip)

It might seem odd to sit down in Stowe and write about how a tennis tournament in Vermont sees a role model in an event held across the world, nearly at its antipode — but tennis is a tour, and you’re never too far away from another event. If you’d like to visit Kooyong yourself, plan your trip here. We’d also love to see you up in Stowe from August 18 to 22, 2018