The flow on effects of April’s Fed Cup tie continue to be felt in the Illawarra, with a number of schools benefiting from the Tennis Hot Shots program.
Tennis fever swept through Wollongong in April as the WIN Entertainment Centre hosted the Australian and Dutch Fed Cup teams in a crucial World Group Playoff.
Australia won the tie four rubbers to one and now we have seen an increased number of young girls running around hoping to be the next Ashleigh Barty or Samantha Stosur.
Their ambitions have been aided by the Hot Shots program, with school kids in the Illawarra provided with new racquets.
Two-hundred-and-twenty-five students from five schools, Keiraville Public School, St Therese Catholic Parish Primary School, Gwynneville Public School, Figtree Heights Public School and Coniston Public School received racquets and teachers from the school have told of the extensive usage the racquets have received.
The giveaway comes as Tennis Australia attempts to grow the sport at the grassroots level, with over 110,000 racquets handed out country-wide since 2015.
TA CEO Craig Tiley said the organisation hopes the new racquets will one day unearth the next Lleyton Hewitt or Stosur.
“This ongoing initiative shows our continued joint commitment with ANZ to increasing tennis participation and ensuring kids are active at school,” Tiley said.
“Schools play a huge role in the development of children, and at Tennis Australia we want to continue to support schools in providing an environment where the health and well-being of students is a top priority.”
The Hot Shots program is aimed at children aged three to 12, with modified courts, racquets and balls used to foster a positive atmosphere.
Coaches attempt to provide juniors with the base-level skills required to enjoy playing the sport well into adult life.
The program is run at nine tennis clubs throughout the Illawarra, including the Beaton Park Tennis Centre, Fernhill Tennis Club and Dapto Tennis Club.