GAME ON: Terranora Tennis President Rob Nienhuis, left, and NSW Tennis CEO Lawrence Robertson with Joan Nicoll at the opening of the Joan Nicoll Tennis Centre at Terranora.
GAME ON: Terranora Tennis President Rob Nienhuis, left, and NSW Tennis CEO Lawrence Robertson with Joan Nicoll at the opening of the Joan Nicoll Tennis Centre at Terranora.

Terranora tennis centre is all about love

PLAYING tennis at her family property near Chinchilla in Queensland as an eight-year-old, Joan Nicoll couldn't have imagined that seven decades later she'd not only still be playing but also have a tennis centre named after her - twice.

The Joan Nicoll Tennis Centre was officially opened at Terranora on October 27, three days after Joan's 79th birthday.

It was a bittersweet moment for the woman who has been involved with Terranora tennis for 40 years - most of those as coach - and came just over two years after the original centre burned down.

"It burned down in 2017 - November 3 - we were all devastated," Joan said.

"It had only been open 12 months before it burned down.

"But we had a reasonable level of insurance and we were able to hold fundraisers and now it's all pretty much finished - we have shade sails to go in but to be able to use the clubhouse as a normal clubhouse again is great."

Not that tennis ever stopped at the Terranora club - the courts were left unharmed by the devastating fire and, with the help of the Tweed Shire Council which put up a shed so members could "make a cuppa" and port-a-loos, the club kept playing.

"We still had the courts and people still went to play," Joan said.

It is the start of a glorious future for the club (with the help of extra security this time around) and hopefully the end of a struggle to survive after the original Terranora Lakes Country Club closed more than two decades ago.

"We were on shaky ground for a few years," Joan said.

"The owners (at the time) had us on a month's lease. We only had a month to get out if it was sold - it's a long haul."

However, despite the hardships, it's obvious that coaching at Terranora has been a passion for Joan - one she misses (mostly).

"I love coaching, I still wish I was younger and could be more involved," she laughed.

"But Not on cold, rainy mornings though," the former Queensland representative player and state number one, added.