LEADING Albury and Wodonga curator Shayne Ried likes a challenge.
Why else would he take on establishing three purpose-built grasscourts for Australia’s Davis Cup quarter-final tie against Kazakhstan in the middle of Darwin’s wet season.
Ried, who is working as a Tennis Australia turf consultant, finished the construction phase last week and will return to the city fortnightly to ensure the courts are up to international standard when play starts on July 17.
“It’s a huge challenge particularly working in Darwin in the wet season,” Ried said yesterday.
“Finding materials was difficult as most of the quarries are under water at this time of the year and obviously the threat of rain is always there.
“We left on Tuesday last week and on Thursday and Friday they had 164 millimetres.
“Local construction company Excell Gray Bruni has been great to work with.
“A lot of people said it couldn’t be done at this time of the year but hopefully we will end up with a good result by the end of construction.”
The tie will be played at Marrara Sports Complex from July 17 to 19 with a match court and two practices courts needing to be up and running by July 1.
A temporary stand seating 5000 people also needs to be erected.
“So far it’s going well,” he said.
“It’s in the establishment phase at the moment in growing the grass and root structure profile.”
Australian Davis Cup captain Wally Masur is looking forward to taking his team to the top end for the first time.
“All the boys are really looking forward to heading to Darwin for the quarterfinals,” Masur said.
“It’s been a long time since Australia has had the opportunity to play a home Davis Cup tie in the World Group and I know the people of the Northern Territory will be keen to support the team and spur us all on.
“Being able to play on grass in the middle of the Australian winter is an absolute bonus and will give us our best chance to progress to the semis.”