Queanbeyan can now lay claim to having the best tennis club in Australia after the Queanbeyan Park Tennis Club won the most outstanding club award at the Australian Tennis Awards held at Crown Palladium in Melbourne on Monday night (2 December).
Canberra’s Pat Moloney was also named the most outstanding 35+ tennis senior in Australia.
Queanbeyan Park Tennis Club president Kathy Sly said it has been an exciting 12 months for the club, which is also one of the oldest in Australia.
“We are very proud of our achievements and it’s quite humbling to be among the tennis elite in Australia and to receive this recognition. We are just a small club with a lot of very committed volunteers and coaching team,” Kathy said.
Secretary Kris Mitchell said passionate people within the club’s environment has been key to their success.
“The club, since we got our new coach, has really gone ahead in leaps and bounds because of our enthusiasm and the committee’s drive. We’re just a bunch of people with a love of tennis and love having a bit of fun while we do it,” Kris said.
Kathy told Region Media the award also included a $25,000 prize courtesy of Tennis Australia that will help continue the development of the club.
“We’ll use that to continue to further upgrade our facilities such as provide shade and upgrade the lights,” she said.
“We’re just a small local tennis club run by volunteers. We don’t make a huge profit each year, and what money we make, we put back into the tennis club for the benefit of the members.”
Queanbeyan Park Tennis Club was one of three finalists for the national award. The club is also the first Tennis ACT-affiliated club to win the most outstanding award. Improvements to its facilities saw increased participation, members and occupancy.
The club boasts more than 230 members and an additional 250 people who receive regular coaching from the club’s coaching team, led by Ben Trudinger.
Community has been at the core for the club, which runs free cardio tennis sessions for Mums’ Exercise Group Australia (MEGA), Soldier On and supports local Indigenous participation in the NSW Knockabout Health Competition. They have also facilitated court usage for disability support groups including the Disability Trust and Valmar.
The club has developed a strong relationship with their local coaching business, Parkside Tennis Academy, which has successfully run a number of events including the Tennis Festival and their inaugural Glow In The Dark night where the lights were switched off and the courts lit up with ultra-violet black lights.
The club boasts a large number of social players and has also completed recent upgrades to improve wheelchair access and built a children’s play area.
Kathy Sly said she was ecstatic to have the award presented by Australian tennis legend and former world number one Evonne Goolagong Cawley.
“It really was humbling to be among all those champions, including Ash Barty and all of the others who have achieved so much this year. It was just a fantastic experience,” Kathy said.
“We’re very proud to put Queanbeyan on the map.”
Canberra’s Pat Moloney was also recognised for his huge contributions to the sport when he was awarded the most outstanding 35+ tennis senior. Moloney has been a member, player, administrator and mentor with Tennis Seniors for decades.
Moloney has made a huge contribution to Tennis Seniors both locally and nationally. He was the President of Tennis Seniors ACT for eight years, held the position of vice president, and has been the secretary of Tennis Seniors Australia since 2012. He is also the tournament director of the ACT Open Seniors Tournament and an ACT selector.
Moloney has represented the ACT at the Australian Teams’ Carnival 33 times, the most of any male player. He also represented Australia earlier this year at the Super Seniors World Championships in Umag, Croatia.
For Moloney, the sport has been a life-long passion.
“I’m 75-years old and started tennis when I was 18. I’ve been playing ever since. I love the game and still going,” he said.
“The camaraderie amongst the players is tremendous and as you get older, they’re around all the time as well. You’ve basically got lifetime friends and people you meet overseas and in Australia. It’s a real sport for life.”
Women’s world number one Ash Barty won her third consecutive Newcombe Medal, the night’s top award, after a breakthrough season in which she claimed her first Grand Slam title and ended the year as the top-ranked female player.
The full list of all award winners is on the Tennis Australia website.