New Riverwalk named after Brisbane tennis champion – Ashley Cooper

12 SEPTEMBER 2019 – 

Australian tennis great Ashley Cooper has been honoured by Brisbane City Council and Consolidated Properties Group, which  today unveiled the ‘Ashley Cooper Riverwalk’ in recognition of the eight-time grand slam champion.

The 430-metre long Riverwalk links the Queensland Tennis Centre with the Yeerongpilly Train Station and was delivered as part of a $5.5 million investment into public walkways, parks and plazas as part of the first stage of Consolidated Properties Group’s Yeerongpilly Green project, in the Brisbane suburb of Yeerongpilly.

The Ashley Cooper Riverwalk will be the major thoroughfare for spectators visiting the Queensland Tennis Centre, which hosts the annual Brisbane International Tennis Tournament, attracting a string of the world’s top players each January.

The Tennis Centre is home to Pat Rafter Arena, which can be accessed via the Rod Laver foot bridge, connecting through to Ken Fletcher park on the riverfront. The Ashley Cooper Riverwalk links the four and completes Brisbane’s tribute to Australia’s tennis champions.

Cooper, who celebrates his 83rd birthday this week (15 September), said  having his name associated with such a ‘wonderful facility is a huge honour’. 

“It is something I never anticipated and am extremely proud to accept,” he said.

“Brisbane and Queensland started my tennis career. I first played here in 1953 as a junior, then had my big breakthrough in 1956 when I won the Queensland Championships at Milton, beating Rosewall then Hoad on consecutive days.

“I fell in love with the place and this turned into reality when I married Helen, a proud North Queenslander in 1959. We have lived in Brisbane for the sixty years since then.” 

Cooper said the new Ashley Cooper Riverwalk completed the Queensland Tennis Centre facility.

“They complement each other, putting the Brisbane International more firmly on the tennis calendar as a favourite tournament for the world’s top players,” he said.

“To up-and-coming players in the city, my advice is to enjoy what you do and follow your dreams, but don’t forget the saying ‘the harder I work the luckier I get’.”

Cooper is one of Australia’s most successful tennis stars, having played an impressive 13 major tennis finals during his career, including winning four singles and four doubles titles, and rising to world number one in 1957 and 1958.

He won the Australian, Wimbledon and US Championships in a single year (1958), becoming one of only eleven men in tennis history to do so, and was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1987, where his inscription reads – Give it your best shot. 

Born in Melbourne, Cooper settled in Brisbane after his playing days and operated a family tennis and squash centre, before becoming a Tennis Player Development Administrator with Tennis Queensland.

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said Brisbane had cemented itself as a tennis destination that draws the world’s tennis greats to our city each year for the Brisbane International.

“Cooper’s exceptional sporting achievements are part of the reason we have this reputation and we are delighted to honour him through the Riverwalk that will connect Yeerongpilly Station to Queensland Tennis Centre and be seen by thousands of dedicated tennis fans,” he said. 

Consolidated Properties Group executive chairman Don O’Rorke said the Ashley Cooper Riverwalk was the perfect addition to the Yeerongpilly Green community.

“Ashley Cooper has been integral to the advancement of tennis in Queensland and has been an inspiration to new generations of players, so it is extremely fitting to have this Riverwalk named in his honour,” he said.

“I am a big believer in the positive influence of sport to communities and with the Queensland Tennis Centre our neighbour, we know tennis will be firmly entwined in the fabric of Yeerongpilly Green.”

Consolidated Properties Group unveiled the $850 million masterplan, and launched the first residential stage, of Yeerongpilly Green last month. 

The project is being developed on a 14 hectare riverside site and will ultimately feature 1,200 apartments and homes, 28,000sqm of commercial space,  an 8,750sqm retail and dining precinct and 1.8 hectares of green open space.

ASHLEY COOPER BIO

In an era dominated by Australian players, Ashley was known as one of the best. An attacking player with smooth ground strokes and poise at the net, he reached world No.1 in 1957.

Melbourne-born but raised in Queensland, Cooper won back-to-back Australian titles in 1957 and 1958 defeating fellow Aussies Neale Fraser and Malcolm Anderson.

In 1957, Ashley was defeated by Lew Hoad in the Wimbledon final and Malcom Anderson at the US Championships. He teamed up with Anderson to win the French doubles title and Fraser for the US.

In 1958 his only loss at a Grand Slam came in the semi-finals at Roland Garros. That year, he became only the sixth man to win three or more majors in a season.

Ashley featured in Australia’s Davis Cup team in 1957-58. In 1957 the Australians triumphed over the United States 3-2, but in 1958 the result was reversed, with the Americans defeating the Australians 3-2.

In 1959, Ashley turned professional and won the European Grand Prix in 1960.

Off-court Ashley has been widely credited for his career achievements and contribution to tennis. 

In 2007 Ashley was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his services to tennis.

In 1987 Ashley was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame his inscription reading: Give it your best shot.

In 1991 he was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame and 1996 he was inducted into the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame, the highest honour for Australian tennis players.

EIGHT GRAND SLAM TITLES

FOUR MEN’S SINGLES TITLES

  • Australian Championships (1957, 1958)
  • Wimbledon Championships (1958)
  • US Championships (1958)

FOUR MEN’S DOUBLES TITLES

  • Australian Championships (1958)
  • French Championships (1957, 1958)
  • US Championships (1957)

DAVIS CUP

1957 

1987 – Inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame

1991 – Inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame

1996 – Inducted into the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame

2007 – Appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for his services to tennis