For the first time in the history of the Tennis ACT Awards, a woman has claimed the Coaching Excellence – Club category.
Sandy Moore, director of operations at On The Line at Melba Tennis Club, claimed the prize in front of 120 guests from the tennis community at the event held at Manuka Oval on Saturday (16 September).
The awards highlight the sport’s local collective successes, including club growth, coaching talent and player highlights, showcasing the people and groups responsible for making it happen.
Sandy has played a major role in giving women and girls the chance to play tennis, including developing programs such as Preschool Hotshots, #nolimits girls squad, and delivering the Tennis4Teens program. This initiative gets more teenage girls into the sport in a fun and supportive environment.
She said it was important to create these opportunities for women in tennis and sports in general.
“Like many sports, tennis is very male-dominated, and if we want to see a shift towards equality, we have to find more ways to encourage them to come out, do more and be more,” she said.
“I do feel there has been a shift in women’s sport in the country in recent times, and it’s really encouraging to see more females getting chances to shine and to say, ‘I can do this’.
“We need to send a clear message to girls and women that it’s really important to stand up and not be afraid to embrace every opportunity.”
Though she had played a bit of tennis as a child for fun, Sandy said she has never played competitively at a very high level, but that’s never stopped her from being an excellent high-performance coach.
“I can’t say I was ever a very talented tennis player, but you don’t need that to be a great coach … I started as a trainee coach and made a career out of it,” she said.
“It’s an encouraging feeling to know there are people who look up to you when you’ve never had that before and to know you can have a positive impact on a person’s life. That in itself gives me such a great sense of achievement.”
Sandy said the award left her “elated”.
“I felt so excited, so emotional and so seen … It has given me such a sense of accomplishment to know that, yes, I am enough. I have done all this awesome work. And now it’s being recognised, and I think that’s terrific because when it comes to encouraging more women in sports at all levels, visibility plays a big part,” she said.
“I also feel humbled and want to thank all those who have helped, supported and valued me in my career. It can be scary and nerve-wracking to take a leap at anything new, but they’ve helped me realise that I am enough.”
“To anyone thinking of embarking on a tennis career, I say – don’t be scared to try … You don’t need to be aiming to become an elite player to have a very rewarding career in tennis. Give it a go because you never know where it might take you.”
Tennis ACT CEO Mark La Brooy said the night was a great opportunity to recognise and celebrate the fantastic tennis community across all levels of our sport, but was particularly stoked by Sandy’s win and what it signalled about women’s sport in the Territory.
“This is fantastic recognition and really demonstrates the inclusive environment seen across all levels of our sport,” he said.
Apart from Sandy’s award, Melba Tennis Club took home Club of the Year and their volunteer Narelle Sykes was awarded the Volunteer Achievement Award.
The full list of incredible 2023 Tennis ACT Award winners is:
- Athlete of the Year: Nick Kyrgios
- Coaching Excellence – Club: Sandy Moore, On the Line Tennis, Melba Tennis Club
- Coaching Excellence – Development: Myles Emery
- Coaching Excellence – Performance: Alun Jones
- ACT Adult Club Player of the Year: Daniel Green, Weston Creek Tennis Club
- ACT Junior Club Player of the Year: Rayan Kheradpezhouh, Queanbeyan Park Tennis Club
- Junior Athlete of the Year – Male: Charlie Camus
- Junior Athlete of the Year – Female: Alisha Kumar
- Most Outstanding Athlete with a Disability: Matthew Leggett
- Most Outstanding 30+ Tennis Master: Ros Balodis
- Excellence in Officiating: John Blom
- Most Outstanding Tennis Club or Venue: Melba Tennis Club
- Volunteer Achievement Award: Narelle Sykes, Melba Tennis Club
- Most Outstanding Inclusion Initiative: Marymead – Neurodiversity Come & Try Day
- Most Outstanding School: Red Hill Primary School
- Winners from the Tennis ACT Awards in linked categories will be nominated for the prestigious Tennis Australia Awards, the Newcombe Medal.
To start playing, visit Tennis ACT.