After 106 years, Irene Buchanan finally got to see her first live tennis match at the Brisbane International on Thursday.
After 106 years, Irene Buchanan finally got to see her first live tennis match at the Brisbane International on Thursday.

Tennis fan's 106-year wait to watch her first live match

IT might have taken 106 years but Irene Buchanan finally got to see her first live tennis match at the Brisbane International on Thursday.

Mrs Buchanan, who said the day was "absolutely marvellous", scored a free VIP ticket from Brisbane City Council to see local hero Ashleigh Barty slug it out.

She learnt to play tennis after she married and will happily stay up until midnight to watch an international fixture.

But until Thursday, she had never been to a live game.

Irene Buchanan, 106, watched the tennis live for the first time on Thursday at the Brisbane International at the Pat Rafter Arena, in Tennyson. Picture: Liam Kidston.
Irene Buchanan, 106, watched the tennis live for the first time on Thursday at the Brisbane International at the Pat Rafter Arena, in Tennyson. Picture: Liam Kidston.

"I can't do much! So I watch the tennis day and night," she said.

"I really do appreciate being able to see something like that live, I thought it was marvellous. To see it on TV, it's not the same.

"Poor old Barty didn't do as well as I expected but the second match - Ajla Tomljanović against Karolina Pliskova - it really was a fantastic match.

"I really enjoyed that: it was good tennis."

106-year-old Irene Buchanan and her son John watching the Ashleigh Barty vs. Jennifer Brady match on January 9. Photographer: Liam Kidston.
106-year-old Irene Buchanan and her son John watching the Ashleigh Barty vs. Jennifer Brady match on January 9. Photographer: Liam Kidston.

She said it was "absolutely marvellous, the whole way through" and she was thankful to "everyone who helped".

"When we were leaving, people were saying, 'Hope to see you next year!' You never know do you?" she said.

The Geebung resident said it all came about after a morning tea for centenarians in August last year where she chatted with Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner about her favourite sport.

"He said 'we'll see what we can do about getting you to the Brisbane International' and now here I am," she said.

"I never expected it at my age."

Cr Schrinner said when he met her, it was clear how much passion Mrs Buchanan had for the game and the council were able to gift her the tickets because it sponsors the event.

"To give her this opportunity is just something particularly special ... after 106 years, a first outing to the tennis is a big thing," he said.

"Let's hope she can come next year as well."

Mrs Buchanan will turn 107 in October.



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