Thursday, 16 January 2014

Rod Laver and Me

Martin Mulligan (not me) and Rod Laver
I called Tennis Australia in the middle of the Australian Open today thinking "what else have they got to focus on but my search for a long lost relative?"

They took my call. I spoke to a young woman with whom I felt compelled to share my story. "Martin Mulligan, long lost relative. Maybe the last in his line. Lost the Wimbledon Open to Rod Laver in 1962 ( I needed to make the tennis connection quickly). I'm doing some family research" I could hear the wheels turning, her thinking "You're calling Tennis Australia with a family history enquiry?"

Clearly she was well trained in customer relations and rather than hang up on me or remind me that there were hundreds of elite tennis athletes playing for their lives on scorching hot tennis courts all needing her help, she said; "I'll make some enquiries and get someone to call you back." I was pretty sure I would never again hear from TA.

But they have called back - twice.
In the first call, I gave a more succinct version of my life story and asked if they had a listing of a contact for Martin. They promised to check and call back. Which they did, within 15 minutes.
"Sorry but we don't have a contact. He lives in San Francisco I believe." I pressed for more but that's the best they could offer. Christ, how many Martin Mulligans would there be in San Fran!

I decided to push my luck.
"Does Rod Laver live in San Francisco?" I asked. "No" they replied, "I understand he divides his time between Australia and California."  the voice at the end of the Tennis Australia line continued. Isn't San Francisco in California I thought, making a mental note to check my geography on Google Earth.
"Do you think you could get a message to Rod asking him if he is still in contact with Martin?" I asked, or more truthfully suggested, expecting a pretty direct no to a pretty cheeky question. There was a pause....

"I could try and get a message to him."  he said.
"That'd be great" I said. "Should I follow that up with you later?" "No. I'll endeavour to get that message to him for you and we'll see where that takes us."  
"Tell him it's about family" I said as I signed off. "I'll leave it in your hands." 

I fully expect a call from Rod Laver Arena in the midst of some climactic moment in the mens semi-final from the man himself with news of Martin. I'm sure they email each other daily reliving that great battle of 1962.


Oh BTW if you were watching the 7:30 report last night on ABC TV, I appeared fleetingly in the segment on the Griffith (Kevin Rudd) by-election. That was filmed unbeknown to me. It was asimilar experience to my being featured on a commercial news report last year where I was asked in a street interview about some topic I knew little about but had an opinion on anyway - I think it was the use of speed cameras as a revenue raising tool.

Andrea suggests that I'm some kind of media tart - but they chase me not vice-versa. I think I'm just one of the stupid ones who pauses long enough to get caught on film. I'm sure my media profile will make all the difference in getting a response from Rod.

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