Tennis Knox scored a smashing victory in 2014 winning a national award carrying a cash prize of $25,000 for the development of tennis in the community.
Tennis Knox representatives Chairman Eric Beeston and Sandi Dawson, together with the late Councillor David Cooper, accepted Tennis Australia’s prestigious John Newcombe Award for the Most Outstanding Tennis Community in Australia from tennis greats Pat
Rafter and Sam Stosur at a gala event in November.
Councillor Cooper said of the award ‘Tennis Knox advocates passionately for the development of this great sport in our city and it’s wonderful to see them recognised.’
According to spokesperson Sandi Dawson, the award comes just 18 months after Tennis Knox was formed in an effort to increase participation in the Knox district’s fourteen clubs and save them from imminent closure or mergers.
Ironically, Tennis Knox first came to the notice of Knox Council when it lobbied about high lease fees for courts. Before long Council was on board with support, especially from Cr Cooper, as volunteer and mentor.
The group thought laterally and drew on research by Tennis Australia and others. They came up with partnerships, modified rules, court sizes and outreach promotions to suit different ages, skill levels and availability.
New ways to play
The biggest initiatives, Sandi said, are Hot Shot Kids, Cardio Tennis and FAST4 Tennis, all part of Tennis Knox’s own festival, timed to follow the Australian Open in late January.
Hot Shot Kids introduces under 12-year-olds to the game in fun group sessions and competitions.
Courts are modified to three-quarter size with slower bouncing balls. Rowville Tennis Club is proud to have the first purpose-built Hot Shots court.
Cardio Tennis attracts teens and adults in racquet-based body workouts to music.
For the time-poor, the group has introduced Tennis Australia’s FAST4 Tennis, a faster match with fewer sets and different rules. FAST4 was recently launched in Australia by tennis legends Roger Federer and Lleyton Hewitt.
Tennis Knox Festival 2015
At the height of the tennis season this January the 14 clubs in Tennis Knox, including 5 in Ferntree Gully, are combining to offer over 100 events in a 10 day Festival of Tennis.
The future of tennis in Knox is looking very sharp.
To find your local tennis club and view programs, visit the website tennisknox.com.au