Aussie clubs Australind Tennis Club (Australind, WA) and Victory Park Tennis Club (Bentleigh, Vic) have taken home the ultimate prize after winning Tennis Australia’s participation Free Tennis Day competition.
Last year, more than 200 towns opened their doors to the local community by hosting a Free Tennis Day, becoming eligible to enter the ‘Free Tennis Day’ competition and secured a place as a dedicated cheer squad to the world’s best players throughout their Australian Open 2017 campaigns.
Australind Tennis Club and Victory Park TC claimed victory after drawing their respective town champions, Roger Federer and Serena Williams, earning each club $5,000 (AUD) in prize money.
President of the Australind Tennis Club, Lyn Richards, was thrilled with the club’s win, revealing that the money will go towards rebuilding the junior club as well as the grand opening of the club’s eight newly-resurfaced tennis courts.
"We were delighted to hear that we had drawn Roger Federer in the ballot. We followed his journey from the Hopman Cup here in Perth all the way through to the final of the AO, which made his win extra special for the club and all of our members,” Ms Richards said.
"This is an exciting time for the club, as we are currently replacing our existing synthetic grass courts with eight brand new Laykold hardcourts, and this money will enable the club to hold a grand opening event at the beginning of next season.
"We like to recognise that juniors are the future of our club and our sport, so our aim is to rebuild the junior club and attract new members. We have an ‘open house’ policy which encourages visitors and community members to come down, enjoy a warm welcome and play some tennis before making any commitment to join. Our goal is to bring the community together and offer a fun, healthy sport and a social experience for the family.”
Similarly, Victory Park TC (Bentleigh) president, Julie Fidler, was delighted both for the club and for Serena.
"Victory Park TC holds a Free Tennis Day every year, which is a great way to give something back to our local community and get families excited about the sport of tennis and increase new memberships,” she said.
“Serena Williams is a fans’ favourite of the club. To draw her in this competition was amazing, we all wanted her to win.
"Being awarded prize money is an added bonus and will allow us to rejuvenate our courts and improve the club”.
"Tennis Australia’s ‘Free Tennis Day’ competition is also highly regarded amongst the Australian Open playing group.
"World No. 23 Sam Stosur (Qld) believes the Free Tennis Day campaign is a great way to increase tennis participation in local communities.
"Playing tennis and being active are integral to keeping communities healthy, and I think Free Tennis Days are a great initiative as they invite everyone to come and try the sport,” she said.
"Being able to reward clubs who hold Free Tennis Days with an opportunity to get involved in the Australian Open is a great way to acknowledge their efforts in promoting tennis in their community.
"It's great to see towns and clubs nationwide engaging with the Australian Open because of this campaign.”