Game, set, match: The newly-engaged Georgia Brown and Ben McLachlan on Waiheke Island last Sunday


It’s 2001, at Queenstown Primary, and there’s Georgia rown in the front row of a class photo, and Ben McLachlan in the second row.

Fast-forward to last Sunday, at Waiheke Island’s Mudbrick Vineyard, and there’s tennis doubles pro McLachlan, 28, and ex-New Zealand under-20 football rep Brown, 27, smiling for the camera after the pair just got engaged.

‘‘It was the biggest win of 2020,’’ he quips, confirming his knee gave out in the process.

‘‘I wasn’t shocked but I was surprised,’’ Brown — who doubles as McLachlan’s fitness trainer — says.

The couple have been together for two years ‘‘and wetalked for another year before that, over long distance’’.

Both agree she’s the more competitive of the two, though Brown admits she doesn’t play tennis — ‘‘I’m trying’’.

‘‘One day we’re aiming at winning the QueenstownTennis Club [mixed doubles] champs,’’ he says.

The early days: Georgia Brown, front row, third from left, and Ben McLachlan, second row, fourth from left, in a Queenstown Primary School photo. The couple got engaged last Sunday

Brown, who’s started her own personal training business, Body By Brown, had intended touring with McLachlan this year, but Covid put a stop to that.

Instead, she’s taken on a role as an athletic trainer with an Auckland tennis academy.

She says they’re hoping to get married, in Queenstown, late next year.