To celebrate the 2018 ASB Classic, we looked for New Zealand’s biggest tennis fans to wed on the eve of the tournament.
Meet Feleti Sofele and Janine Thirlwall, who will be married on centre court at the ASB Tennis Arena on December 31. Feleti grew up in Tonga and manages an after-school club while soon-to-be wife Janine grew up on a farm in Cambridge and currently works as a sonographer at Auckland Radiology Group. We don’t think you could find a couple more passionate about tennis than they are.
Feleti started playing tennis when he was 14 years old and has been hooked ever since. Janine started playing a little over 10 years ago and is just as enamored with the sport. The pair met at Mission Bay Tennis Club in Auckland and got engaged on a tennis court two years later. They have been engaged for 10 years.
The pair are keen members of the Mission Bay Tennis Club and can often be found practicing their backhands on the club’s courts throughout the week. They both regularly play in tennis tournaments across New Zealand and hold a number of national age-group tennis titles between them.
A highlight of their year is always the ASB Classic - they often give each other tickets for Christmas and Feleti has volunteered at each of the last seven tournaments.
This year they are looking forward to the international tournament with even more anticipation than usual.
Game, Set, Matrimony
Feleti heard about Game, Set, Matrimony on the radio and entered himself and his soon-to-be-wife Janine saying: “A wedding on the tennis court or anything with a tennis theme will add to our dream day.”
The couple was ecstatic when told they’d won the competition: “Tennis brought us together; so it’s meant to be that we’re getting married on a tennis court - I just can’t believe it’s on the eve of the pinnacle tennis event in the country,” Janine says.
Friends and family from across New Zealand will travel to join them at the ASB Tennis Arena in Auckland for their special day.
“We’ve been blown away by how many people have supported us and helped us prepare for the wedding – it’s a dream come true,” Feleti says.
Quick-fire with Feleti and Janine
Who’s your favourite tennis player?
Janine: Roger Federer
Feleti: Any of the greats, but right now can’t go past Denis Shapovalov
What’s your dream ASB Classic women’s final for 2018?
Both: Caroline Wozniacki and Agnieszka Radwanska
What’s your favourite tennis memory?
Both: Seeing Roger Federer play at the Australian Open in Melbourne on Janine’s birthday earlier this year.