Amateurs toast golden bottle of bubbly
While international tennis stars continued to chase the ASB Classic’s $227,000 prize, two Auckland amateurs were playing for champagne.
Not a cheap drop mind you, with a $20,000 bottle of gold leaf Moet & Chandon on the line.
West End Tennis Club member Mark Osbourne was picked to hit it out against Geoff Hosking of the Gladstone Tennis Club last Tuesday afternoon as part of the ASB Classic at the tennis centre.
Up for grabs was the pricey bottle of champagne for the winner’s club to use.
Moet & Chandon, who are a major sponsor of New Zealand’s premier tennis tournament, invited US professional and world number 23 Jack Sock to umpire the event.
Sock ended up winning this year’s ASB Classic with a win over Portugal’s Joao Sousa in the final on Saturday.
‘‘I was all nervous with all the people there watching,’’ Osbourne said.
‘‘It was quite a competitive game.’’
He said it was quite the experience being umpired by the tournament’s eventual champ.
‘‘For Jack to give up his time like that, and umpire a couple of club players is a pretty big deal for us.’’
And while Osbourne tasted victory on the court, he wasn’t going to be the one to enjoy the Moet & Chandon bottle, with the champagne scheduled to be put up for auction.
‘‘I’m not a big champagne drinker anyway, so it’s probably wasted on me,’’ Osbourne said.
Caroline Harrow, West End’s club treasurer, said proceeds from the auction would go towards ongoing refurbishments at the club.
‘‘It’s not just about tennis,’’ Harrow said.
‘‘It’s about serving the community and having a place that other people can use and enjoy.
‘‘Since we finished stage one, there’s been an enormous amount of inquiry for hireage.’’
Moet & Chandon senior brand manager Ali Campbell said the initiative was an opportunity to grow the game locally.
‘‘Were excited to have the opportunity to do something special for the local tennis community by not only helping to raise funds for an Auckland tennis organisation, but to also help raise the profile of the sport and celebrate success on a more local level,’’ Campbell said.
Mark Osbourne, right, presented with a $20,000 bottle of champagne by American tennis professional Jack Sock.