Joe Hockey’s historic residence has the only grass tennis court in Washington DC and it is a hit with powerful locals.
The key to US President Donald Trump’s heart might be golf, but apparently an Australian-style grass tennis court is highly-prized by senior figures in his administration and other international power brokers.
Australian Ambassador to the US Joe Hockey is holding a “re-launch” event on Sunday for the once dilapidated grass tennis court at his Washington DC residence, the heritage-listed mansion White Oaks.
Mr Hockey managed to entice a couple of handy tennis players to attend the event: Australian greats Rod Laver and Fred Stolle.
As the only grass tennis court in Washington DC, it has become a magnet for attracting Trump administration figures, including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and other diplomatic, military and business leaders.
It was Mr Ross who helped Australia become one of the few nations to avoid the stiff aluminium and steel tariffs the president slapped on America’s allies and rivals earlier this year.
Mr Hockey has become astute at navigating his way into the tumultuous Trump White House where other nations have hit roadblocks.
In the wild days after Mr Trump’s surprise November, 2016, election win Mr Hockey used his relationship with Australian golf champion Greg Norman to tee up a phone call between Mr Trump and then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Mr Hockey has also managed to join Mr Trump for a round of golf, gaining access few diplomats have been able to secure.
Sunday’s event will raise funds for the American Australian Association Veterans Scholarship Fund.
The fund supports service men and women who have been to undertake study abroad.