Iconic Brisbane tennis centre destined for retirement living

The Fancutt’s Tennis Centre and Coaching Academy will now become the Retire Australia’s next retirement living community.
The Fancutt’s Tennis Centre and Coaching Academy will now become the Retire Australia’s next retirement living community.

Plans for an iconic Brisbane tennis centre, where champions such as Geoff Masters and Wendy Turnbull trained, have been unveiled.

RetireAustralia have announced an eight-storey village at Lutwyche, ‘Fancutts Retirement Living’, which will feature 183 independent living apartments and 35 care apartments.

The Courier-Mail spoke to former owner and tennis champion Daphne Fancutt after the plans for the previous Fancutts Tennis Centre and Academy were revealed.

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Their story started in January, 1962, when Fancutt (85) and husband Trevor (84) embarked on a venture that would cement their name among Brisbane families for decades to come.

Fancutt says her husband had three goals — to represent South Africa in the Davis Cup, to play centre court at Wimbledon and to own his own tennis centre.

Fancutts Tennis Centre was started by eight time Wimbledon players Trevor and Daphne Fancutt (pictured) 50 years ago. Photo by Chris McCormack.

“He achieved all three and I supported him in everything he has done,” she says.

The Fancutts purchased the site with money they borrowed from Fancutt’s father, Charlie Seeney.

“We never would have been successful without my father’s loan and we never let him down,” she said.

“Two of our first students, Geoff Masters and Wendy Turnbull, went on to win Grand Slam doubles titles and many other pupils we coached, including our three sons, Charlie, Michael and Chris, also went on to play at Wimbledon,” she said.

Fancutt says they operated the tennis centre for more than 50 years.

FANCUTT FAMILY: Chris Fancutt then (6), Charles (13), father Trevor & mother Daphne. sport tennis families file pic 1973.

“It became a tennis institution, servicing Brisbane and attracting interest from international celebrities and sportspeople.”

Looking back on her career, Fancutt says a highlight was winning the December 1958 Queensland Open Champion when she was three months pregnant.

“I said jokingly to my opponent Sandra Reynolds, who went on to win the Australian Open ‘Sandra, you didn’t have a chance because it was two against one’.”

“Many years later I had the great pleasure of watching this same baby go on to win his own Queensland Open, defeating Pat Cash in the final.”

The centre ran right up until 2015, when they decided to close it.

Daphne and Trevor Fancutt are ambassadors for the project.

“Operating costs had become so high that it just wasn’t viable,” Fancutt says.

“Trevor and I are happy that the site, just like with the tennis centre will continue to service the Brisbane community.”

RetireAustralia CEO Alison Quinn says The Fancutts Retirement Living site in Laura St includes the former home of Daphne and Trevor Fancutt.

“Brisbane City Council has approved the relocation of the house and RetireAustralia will make an announcement on its future location in coming months,” Quinn says.

This article from the Courier Mail originally appeared as “Lutwyche tennis centre to become retirement village”.