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A Trip for the Bucket List

A tennis official for nearly four decades, Larry Mulligan-Gibbs calls the US Open and Indian Wells home.

Early this year, he got to enjoy a vacation.

A Philadelphia native, Mulligan-Gibbs recently served as an official at two Australian tournaments, beginning with the Apia International Sydney and ending in Melbourne at the Australian Open.

Mulligan-Gibbs came home with an appreciation for a new event, as well as a new perspective on the game. It was his first time in Australia and now gives him officiating experience at three of the four major tournaments.

Larry Mulligan-Gibbs (left) with another USTA official from Middle States, Chris Zeak.

Larry Mulligan-Gibbs (left) with another USTA official from Middle States, Chris Zeak.

“I was very impressed with Australia in general. It’s just beautiful,” Mulligan-Gibbs said. “At the Australian Open, specifically, everything is organized very well, and it’s so diverse.”

Mulligan-Gibbs said he was lucky this year to have dodged extreme heat. January in Melbourne can bring about extreme levels off heat, but the temperatures this year were somewhat subdued.

“We were constantly in the 80s,” he said. “Other than maybe one day in Sydney, the weather was spot-on and gorgeous.”

Mulligan-Gibbs called lines in numerous matches, working into the final week. One of the more high-profile matches he worked was between Jo-Wilfred Tsonga and Kei Nishikori — a match in which Nikishori won in three sets.

Mulligan-Gibbs mentioned that because of the small world of tennis officials, he knew about 90 percent of the chair umpires and a third of the umpires, overall. His next goal could be checking the French Open off his bucket list.

“I may apply for next year,” he said.

Overall, there was only one aspect of the trip Mulligan-Gibbs said he’d want to change.

“A month is a long time to be away from your family,” he said with a laugh. “Next time, I’ll have to find a way to bring my wife.”

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