There are fears tennis is approaching a critical point in the ACT as a chronic undersupply of courts denies the community a valuable resource and even hampers the emergence of the next Nick Kyrgios.
Despite being one of the fastest-growing regions in Australia, with nearly 85,000 people calling it home, there isn’t a single community tennis club in Gungahlin. But planning is well underway on a proposed new 12-court facility to make sure tens of thousands in the community have the opportunity to play.
“We’ve been working closely with the ACT Government over the last few years,” Tennis ACT CEO Kim Kachel said. “It’s been an ongoing journey.
“Gungahlin needs tennis facilities to support the community and allow the community all the benefits that tennis has to offer.”
Kim Kachel from Tennis ACT is with Tim Gavel to kick off this week's sports wrap. They're talking about the campaign to get community tennis facilities in Gungahlin and how you can help by completing a quick online survey. Click to hear Tim's take on all the latest sporting news from around the grounds – it's proudly brought to you this week by Snedden Hall & Gallop.
Posted by The RiotACT on Sunday, August 9, 2020
In the past 15 years, 30 tennis courts have been lost across the ACT while the last completely new facility, The Pines Tennis Club in Chisholm, was built back in 1986.
After bushfire smoke and COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the summer and autumn leagues respectively, community participation is at record levels this winter with a 47 per cent increase in the number of teams taking part in the Canberra Tennis League.
Over 5,000 students also play tennis at Gungahlin schools but the lack of nearby facilities to transition to when the time comes means many could be lost to the sport.
“It’s of critical importance to grow participation and make sure those kids and everyone in the community has access to a tennis facility and can continue in the sport. Where there are facilities, you see great participation,” Mr Kachel said.
“The ACT has proudly batted above its average producing top players. Nick Kyrgios, Charlie Camus, Alison Bai and Annerley Poulos have all recently come through the system. We’d love to be able to offer all the kids in the Gungahlin region an opportunity and a pathway to stay in the sport and aspire to reach the next level.”
The community’s response has been overwhelmingly positive and it’s hoped the health benefits of a new facility will see more rally around the proposal.
With social distancing becoming the new norm, tennis also offers a safer environment for interaction and exercise in comparison to other sports.
“The community are right behind this; there’s a lot of support out there for tennis,” Mr Kachel said.
“There are many benefits in terms of health and wellbeing – particularly mental health with everything that is going on.”
A message from our CEO, Kim Kachel regarding an exciting opportunity for the Gungahlin Region.
— tennisact (@TennisCanberra) August 6, 2020
All residents in the Gungahlin region are encouraged to join the discussion, via a short online survey, regardless of their level of involvement or playing ability.
“It’s important for the whole of the ACT and region to establish a footprint for the sport.
“It’s a critical infrastructure project that will create jobs in the short, medium and long-term and provide a stimulus and boost for the economy,
“There will also be economic benefits from it because it will allow us to host bigger events here in the ACT.”
The Tennis ACT survey can be completed here and takes around two minutes.