More than 100 kindergarten students in Gungahlin took their first steps towards a tennis career when they received their first tennis racquets from Canberra’s top players – Nick Kyrgios and Alison Bai.
The signed tennis racquets were delivered to students at Holy Spirit Catholic Primary School as part of the ANZ Tennis Hot Shots Racquet Roadshow. Kyrgios and Bai also gave the students a virtual lesson in the form of a video message to the students, along with a question and answer session with Australian tennis legend Todd Woodbridge.
Alison Bai said she started playing tennis as a six-year-old and still has her first racquet.
“I think my Dad bought my first racquet. I still have it. It is a pink Prince one and I loved it so much it has got so many scratches on it,” said Bai.
“Tennis is an awesome sport. It is for all ages, you can start at five, six, seven years old or you can play until you’re 90.”
Kyrgios recalls training alongside Bai when he started as a seven-year-old.
“My mum gave me my first ever racquet. I can’t really remember it, but I had a fun time coming down to these local courts with a big group of kids,” said Kyrgios.
“You only need a racquet, a couple of tennis balls and a friend and you could go and play for hours.”
Holy Spirit Primary coordinator James Farrell said the kids were extremely excited.
“You could see they were over the moon about it, and I think there will be kids in kindergarten who’ve taken up lessons who will love to take home their own racquet that’s got somebody famous on it,” Mr Farrell said.
An additional 660 students from 14 schools across the ACT will also receive brand new racquets as part of the initiative.
Holy Spirit Primary has been running the tennis program for more than six years with their own dedicated ANZ Tennis Hot Shots courts. The kids will have the chance to test out their new racquets with kindergarten set to participate in tennis when the next school term begins.
This initiative involves delivering racquets to 30,000 first-year primary school students from more than 800 schools across Australia to combat declining levels of activity in children.
Tennis ACT CEO Kim Kachel said the initiative will give another 760 kids across the ACT the opportunity to get active and lead a healthy lifestyle.
“Tennis Australia’s partnership with ANZ has helped us to put more racquets in children’s hand than ever before,” Mr Kachel said.
By the end of 2020, a total of 170,000 racquets will have been delivered to children since 2015.