2019 Grand Slam Coaches' Conference Speakers

Simon Wheatley
Simon Wheatley
As the LTA Performance Coach Education Manager for British tennis, Simon Wheatley is responsible for the development and management of the Level 4 and 5 High Performance qualifications and the continuous professional development program for the performance workforce across British Tennis. Simon was formerly the Coaching Resource Development Manager for the LTA where he was responsible for the development of coaching resources across participation and performance.
Jofre Porta
Jofre Porta
Throughout a remarkable coaching career, Jofre Porta discovered some of the world’s best players – including Carlos Moya, Rafael Nadal and Nuria Llagostera. Jofre is best known for his role coaching Moya from the Spaniard’s junior years, to his French Open victory in 1998 and subsequent rise to world No.1 in 1999.
Jelena Dokic
Jelena Dokic is an Australian tennis coach, commentator, writer and former player. Her highest ranking was world No. 4 in August 2002. She won WTA tour events on all surfaces during her career: hard, clay, grass and carpet. In the 1999 Wimbledon Championships the 16-year-old Dokic achieved one of the biggest upsets in tennis history, beating Martina Hingis 6-2, 6-0. This remains the only time the women's world No. 1 has ever lost to a qualifier at Wimbledon. Dokic would go on to reach the quarterfinals of that competition, only her second Grand Slam. Dokic rapidly ascended through the world rankings after her Wimbledon breakthrough, but her time in the world elite was beset by off-court struggles. Her relationship with her outspoken father and coach Damir, on whose advice she switched allegiance to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 2000, was the subject of much media speculation. She switched back to Australia in 2005, and would later accuse her father of physical and mental abuse in her 2017 autobiography. She made a serious return to tennis in 2008 and finished 2009 back in the world top 100, but thereafter struggled badly with form and injuries, and ceased playing professionally in 2014.
Frank Ponissi
As a player, Frank Ponissi played Jersey Flegg and Presidents Cup for Manly- Waringah (the Under 18s and Under 21s competition) and was captain-coach of several university teams in Sydney. He has since occupied varied and high- profile coaching roles in rugby, including with the Australian Rugby League Kangaroos, Manly Waringah Rugby League Club, French rugby union clubs Clermont Auvergne Defence Coach and Brive, the South African Springboks and Northampton English Premiership Rugby union club. He is now General Manager of Football at the Melbourne Storm, a role he has held since 2007.
Nicole Pratt
Nicole Pratt
Nicole played professionally for 19 years reaching a career high singles ranking of 36 and 18 in doubles. She was a member of the Fed Cup team for 10 years and competed in the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Olympic Games. Nicole began working for Tennis Australia in 2008 coaching Casey Dellacqua to a career high singles ranking of 39 and 11 in doubles. Appointed the Head Coach of the AIS Women’s program in 2011-2014. In 2015 she was appointed the Head of Women’s Tennis for TA, during this year Nicole coached Daria Gavrilova to a career high ranking of 36. Nicole is a Tennis Australia High Performance Coach as well as serving on the WTA coaches’ committee.
Carl Maes
One of the world’s most experienced and respected coaches of female players, Carl Maes who holds a Master in Sport Science and Kinesiology, joined the Belgian Tennis Federation in 1992. He worked with ATP players Xavier Malisse and Kristof Vliegen when they were juniors but is best known for his role as coach to Kim Clijsters, former world No.1 in both singles and doubles. Carl first worked with Clijsters when she was 12 years old, and he coached her for more than 10 years in total throughout her career. As Belgium’s Fed Cup captain, he led the team to the 2006 final.
Craig O'Shannessy
Craig is an Australian tour coach and Director of the Brain Game – a sports science website specialising in video analysis of matches that teach dominant patterns of play. Recognised as a world leader in teaching tennis tactics, he is the strategy analyst for the ATP World Tour, WTA Tennis, the New York Times and Tennis Magazine. Craig has researched thousands of matches using his unique Dartfish match tagging software to unlock the secrets of our game and uncover specifics and percentages that really matter. He shares this knowledge through his website and also on court with players at all levels.
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Liz Peers
Elizabeth Peers is a former Australian professional tennis player, who also credits herself as a Coach, Mentor, Administrator and Volunteer. Along with her coaching experience of 30 years, during Elizabeth’s professional career she has competed 3 times at the Australian Open, and once at both Wimbledon and the US Open. Last year she was also inducted in to the TCAV Hall of Fame. Continuing with the passion for tennis, Elizabeth is the mother of professional tennis players John Peers and Sally Peers.
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Kane Dewhurst
Kane Dewhurst is the Director of Vida which currently operates tennis programs and playing opportunities from 15 clubs, venues & schools in Victoria, Australia. Through Vida Tennis and sister companies Vida Footy, Vida Fitness and Vida Mind, they see in excess of 6000 active participants per week. Kane started his coaching and business pathway after playing professionally for 6 years, became a Master Club Professional, a Talent Development Coach and coached multiple National title winners. But his real passion is growing people, to grow a business. The Vida network now has a team of more than 75 with a clear induction program, coach development pathway and team assistance program. These are some of the key drivers of sustainable growth.
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Professor Cliff Mallett
A medal-winning Olympic coach in athletics, Dr Cliff Mallett consults to international and national sports organisations, as well as several professional sport franchises in Australia. Cliff was lead author of the Australian Junior Sport Framework, which was funded by the Australian Sports Commission and published in 2012. He is Professor of Sport Psychology and Coaching at The University of Queensland and the Technical University of Munich in Germany. He has also published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers and advised over 30+ doctoral students. Cliff is the Chair of Research for the International Council for Coaching Excellence (2013-2019) and Associate Editor of the International Sports Coaching Journal (2013-2019), and former Associate Editor for the International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology (2009-2014).
Kody Thompson
Though not yet 30, Kody Thompson has achieved more in the last decade than many hope to achieve in a lifetime. Whether getting paid to travel the world, building a staff of over 25 talented team members, or turning a $250 investment into a 7-figure success story, Kody has certainly earned his entrepreneurial stripes. It might sound like a dream but he has put in the hard yards and learned what works, what doesn’t and how to get results! At the centre of each goal and milestone is his passion for creative solutions and helping others, which make for a winning business combination. Disrupting a well-established industry isn’t an easy feat but that’s Kody’s M-O. From landing an internship at the exclusive design agency Clemenger during high school (using little more than a balloon) to creating Australia’s first and fastest growing subscription-based website development company, Kody believes in doing things differently and doing them well. With a heart to help small business succeed, Kody is passionate about dreaming big, and making those dreams a reality with the same savvy business know-how and innovation that saw him turn $250 into a million.
Tim Perkins
Tim Perkins combines his vast experience of dynamic educational settings with his well-recognised abilities as a highly engaging and entertaining story teller and presenter to provide opportunities for school and business leaders to re-conceptualise their approach. Tim is passionate about the impact that the development of authentic relationships within teams can have on engagement and wellbeing. He has specific expertise in the fields of mentoring, engagement and wellbeing, He also currently works one day per week at Redfern Jarjum College with significantly marginalised indigenous primary students on writing projects and mathematics problem solving games. In 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 Tim was ranked in the top ten in the Australian University Lecturer of the Year Awards. In 2013 Tim won a Vice Chancellor’s Teaching and Learning Award for Enhancing Student Learning and this was followed by National Awards in 2014 and 2015 for the Service Learning project he initiated for Notre Dame students to work with internally displaced community in Nakuru, Kenya. In 2016 he also won a Vice Chancellor’s Teaching and Learning Award for work he and a colleague developed on Self and Peer Assessment.
Machar Reid
Machar is the Head of Innovation at Tennis Australia and a pre-eminent voice in coaching science, athlete development and policy in international tennis. He has trained top 100 professional players, led strategic reviews for the International Tennis Federation (ITF), co-authored the ITF's coaching curriculum and received a PhD in biomechanics. He is an Adjunct Professor at Victoria University and has contributed to 12 books, 20 book chapters and 80+ peer reviewed articles.
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Emma Doyle
Emma Doyle is a world-renowned speaker and coach from Melbourne, Australia helping you turn your motivation into activation, to unleash your potential and reach higher levels of achievement. Emma has been coaching for over 28 years and through her keynote speaking, mentoring, coaching, and consultancy she inspires, improves, and impacts players, coaches, teams, and corporates in Europe, Asia, Australia, and the U.S.A. She is a High Performance Coach with a strong background as a tennis touring professional, a talent development coach and she is the current Australian Junior Fed Cup Captain-coach. Emma’s pioneering approach to communication and coaching encourages deeper longer-term thinking, and provides individuals with the tools to better understand how they use their language to bring out the best in themselves, understand their teammates, as well as engage and empower others.
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 11:  on May 11, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Robert Cianflone - CA/Cricket Australia/Getty Images)
Darren Holder
Darren has spent the past decade as a respected cricket professional working with international cricket organisations around the globe to achieve their goals and objectives, particularly in Australia, India, the USA and Caribbean. Darren is a visionary in the field of coach learning, who is always prepared to challenge traditional thinking in the search for better. With an intimate knowledge of and interest in sport & exercise science - developed through his relationships in the university sector having spent time teaching as a skill acquisition specialist, Darren provides cutting edge yet practical advice to advance the ways things are done in coaching practice and is a skilled facilitator. Darren has pioneered industry leading profiling, evaluation and development tools for coaches and is a key architect in the growth of Australian Cricket’s Elite Coaches.
Associate Professor Shane Pill
Shane worked for 19 years as a science and physical education teacher in schools in Perth and Adelaide; holding leadership positions including HPE Coordinator, Sport Coordinator, Year Level Coordinator, Director of School Administration and Deputy Principal. At Flinders University he lectures in curriculum studies, physical education and sport pedagogy. His research interests include curriculum design and enactment, pedagogy and instructional strategies for games and sport teaching, sport coaching and curriculum leadership. Shane has been president of the Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (ACHPER) at state and national levels, and he is a Fellow and Life Member of ACHPER.

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Dr. Brendan SueSee
Brendan has been a secondary PE teacher for 21 years and taught at Cavendish Rd High School in Brisbane for the majority of that time. He taught P-10 HPE, P-10 Geography and History, Senior Physical Education and Senior Health Education. He completed his doctoral studies at QUT and has tutored there and also at USQ. His doctoral research involved collecting self-reported teaching styles (as defined by Mosston & Ashworth’s Spectrum) used by teachers of senior physical education, and coding the observed teaching styles. Brendan has been a lecturer at the University of Southern Queensland for 2 years and worked closely with Mitch Hewitt from TA. His passion centres around creating learning experiences to maximise involvement and helping people achieve their goals. His research interests are around pedagogical styles, particularly Mosston & Ashworth’s Spectrum of Teaching Styles.
Dr Christina Curry
Christina is an experienced leader with a demonstrated track record in education. With 20 years’ experience in the education sector Christina has developed and refined her skills in professional development, pedagogy and community engagement. Christina is currently Director of Secondary Education, a Lecturer in Health and Physical Education (HPE) and a Researcher at Western Sydney University. Her research is focused on HPE with a particular focus on Game based pedagogies. Christina previously taught in Secondary Schools for 14 years where she was Head of the HPE department, sport organiser and year advisor. Christina has been involved with sport from a young age, as an athlete, sport coach and as the founder and administrator of a junior oztag competition.
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Dr. Mitchell Hewitt
Mitch is currently the Education Project Manager in the Education and Professional Learning team at Tennis Australia (TA). He has coached tennis for over 30 years in a family business that continues to operate today. He worked as a Primary and Secondary school physical education teacher and spent time as the Head Tennis Professional at the American Club in Singapore. Mitch was a leading author in the curriculum aligned Tennis for Primary and Secondary Schools resources and a major contributor in TA’s coach education manuals and courses in addition to being a Coach Educator for over 15 years. He is an adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Canberra and an adjunct lecturer at the University of Southern Queensland.
Matt Smith
Matt Smith is an LTA British Tennis Level 5 Master Club Coach, LTA Tutor and former British Coach of the Year, with over 16 years of coaching and leadership experience. Currently Matt is in the position of LTA Coach Engagement Manager as part of the British Tennis Coach Development team, leading on coach learning and development. Prior to joining the LTA, Matt developed his own, award winning, tennis business at a rural 3 court club and went on to become the Head Coach at an International High Performance Centre (University of Bath), receiving an Hons degree in Tennis Management. Here he grew the tennis programme into the largest in the UK, with specialist expertise in 10&U player development, programming, sales and customer service – working as a coaching business consultant for developing tennis centres for the LTA. In 2017 he embarked on a unique, once-in-a-lifetime, adventure delivering tennis to primary schools and orphanages to over 100 communities across 28 countries as part of a sponsored international Charity project named the ‘Mini Tennis World Tour’. With the project continuing today, it has given over 10,000 children access to tennis across the world.
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Bill Riddle
Bill has been a tennis teaching professional and coach for over 28 years at all levels. For the last 20 years he has served as the Director of Tennis at the Bluegrass Yacht & Country Club in Nashville, Tennessee overseeing all aspects of the tennis program on and off court. He spent 9 years coaching college tennis where his players and teams were nationally ranked. Recognised as a High Performance Coach by the USTA, PTR and USPTA, Bill has been a featured speaker at a number of tennis industry workshops, conferences and conventions including at the PTR International Symposium, the US Open Tennis Teachers Conference and a variety of USPTA and USTA conferences throughout the USA.
Helen Rice
Helen is the owner/manager of the Helen Rice Tennis School (HRTS) established in SA in 1979. She is the head coach at Denman and Netherby Tennis Clubs in Adelaide, South Australia and the HRTS also coaches at O’Halloran Hill Tennis Club and at other various schools. Helen is a Tennis Australia Club Professional and has been coaching for over 39 years. Some of her most notable points include Newcombe Medal Winner 2017 for Club Coach Excellence, Board member of the Fed Cup Foundation, a presenter at both the TA Grand Slam Conference and Grand Slam Master Class Workshop and a mentor for TA ANZ Hot Shots and Cardio Tennis.
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Vicky Lee
Vicky has been in the tennis industry for many years starting as a young player and then on to become a Tennis Australia – Master Professional Coach. She strives to break down barriers to participation to the sport - which includes logistical access and language barriers and to programs that address the minority groups within the community. Vicky is currently the Director and Founder of Slamin Tennis & Fitness as well as a Tennis Victoria Regional State Coach and a Sport Coach for Girls Sport Victoria. She’s held a world ranking with the WTA along with British and French rankings as well.
Adam Wharf
Currently in charge of Performance Tennis for Inspire2coach and tutor for level 1,2 and 3. Previously Head of Performance Tennis at Edgbaston Priory Regional High Performance for 5 years. Worked for the LTA in the talent identification team.


Sarah Armstrong

Sarah is currently the Manager – Club Development in the Places team at Tennis Australia and is responsible for the delivery of numerous programs and initiatives aimed at creating successful and sustainable clubs and venues. With a background in swimming, Sarah has also worked within the club development space at Swimming Australia where she was responsible for managing the volunteer workforce and the volunteer and coach framework. Most recently, Sarah has successfully launched an online education and resource portal for clubs through the shared platform, Bounce.

Rich Baldock

Professional Learning Officer with the Australian Council of Health Physical Education & Recreation (SA Branch). He is also a casual staff member at Flinders University teaching in the Physical Education and Sports Studies program. Rick is a past club coach, Tennis SA Board member, Chair of Tennis SA, Ken McGregor Fund and Chair of the TSA History Committee.

 Rob Barty

Although Rob Barty does not have a tennis background, he is the proud father of Australia’s top ranked women’s tennis player, Ashleigh Barty, who is currently ranked at number 15 in the world. Rob is no stranger to a sporting background having played golf for Queensland and Australia as a junior.

 Chris Bates

In his role as Talent Director and in extensive roles as a teacher (a qualification he added to his repertoire back in Australia), mentor and coach, Chris’s drive to educate and inform is what sets him apart in this industry. Passionate and caring, Chris started Study & Play USA to offer students a service that would prepare and guide them for their journey to the US as well as support them with their college and sporting careers. Having trained and competed at an elite level as a sportsperson both in Australia and in the United States, Chris’s knowledge and opinion of college sports scholarships in the USA is well respected. Chris and his wife Alexia commenced Study & Play USA in 2004 and since then has been educating and informing thousands of Australians about how to advantage themselves of the Study & Play opportunity.

John Birrell

John Birrell is currently the Manager and Head Coach of Tennis Plus, operating out of the Tennis Gold Coast Association. John has played tennis in the Europe and the United States whilst also living in Germany for 10 years where he played and coached. John has been a Tennis Australia Qualified Coach for over 30 years. Having worked at the Pat Cash Tennis Academy as a Head Coach, John has plenty of coaching experience under his belt. John is father to Kim Birrell who was the 2019 winner of the Australian Open Wildcard Playoff.

Frank Calabria

Frank is the Director of Rising Star Tennis Academy and has been a coaching professional for more than 20 years in NSW and the ACT region. He assists Tennis Australia, schools and the ACT community in helping to nurture and develop upcoming ANZ Tennis Hot Shots providers, assist in developing awareness of ANZ Tennis Hot Shots in the community and also assists in contributing to how Tennis Australia help evolve the ANZ Tennis Hot Shots National Programs and initiatives into the future. Frank presented at the 2016 Grand Slam Coaches conference ANZ Tennis Hot Shots Masterclass.

Olivia Cant

Olivia has a Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science with Honours and is currently undertaking her PhD at Victoria University and Tennis Australia. Her PhD focuses on stroke heaviness, specifically how it can be quantified and the effect of heaviness on performance and injury in professional tennis. Olivia has previously worked as a research assistant at Tennis Australia and has sport science and performance analysis experience in swimming, AFL and tennis.


Molly Connolly

Molly is a current PhD candidate at Victoria University in conjunction with Tennis Australia, investigating the multidisciplinary risk factors and causes of low back pain in elite adolescent tennis players. Molly also works in the Tennis Lab where she assists players in racquet and string selection, customisation and development.

Molly completed her undergraduate degree, Bachelor of Applied Science – Exercise and Sport Science at RMIT University before completing an Honours degree at La Trobe University. Molly investigated the validity of inertial measurement units for measuring swimming velocity for her honours whilst also being employed by the Australian Institute of Sport as a Biomechanics scholar in 2015. Molly’s previous experience helping and working with a variety of projects (Cricket, AIS gait lab and Swimming) has enabled her to continue her passion for working in sport at Tennis Australia.

Ignacio Crescini

Ignacio has been a first division player in Argentina since 1998 as well as being in the coaching environment since 2005 where he received his Certificate of Grade 1 from Argentina and the ITF. After arriving in Australia, Ignacio has been a Senior Assistant Coach at South Eastern Tennis Academy and Head Coach of Nottinghill Pinewood Tennis Club running the junior tennis program with many players achieving their first ranking points. He is now the Head Coach of MCC Glen Iris Tennis Club under the Director of Vida Tennis Kane Dewhurst. In this position he’s helped in developing the high performance squads at the club and an internal talent ID with many players inside the Super10s and also in the National program.

Jay Deacon

Jay Deacon is part of the Coach Development QLD team, serving as the current Coach Development Coordinator. A longstanding Tennis Australia Club Professional and USPTA Pro 2 Professional, Jay is also a Tennis Australia Hot Shots Mentor, Cardio Tennis Mentor, Teach Ambassador, Learning Facilitator, Lecturer at University of Queensland.

Fun Fact: Jay is godson of Harry Hopman!

Tom George

Prior to accepting a role at Tennis Australia as National Academy Manager – WA, Tom had an exceptional junior tennis career as a 4 time National Champion, #1 ranked junior in Australia and A.I.S Scholarship holder. He joined the Auburn University Men’s tennis team in 2003 and led the Tigers to be a top 10 NCAA ranked program. Tom also played number 1 for Australia at the World University Games during that time. He graduated with a BSBA in Economics in 2006 and went on to be admitted to the Queensland Supreme Court as a lawyer after completing his Juris Doctorate law degree. Tom has captained junior Australian Teams and managed numerous International tours with some of the countries best athletes. Tom is passionate about the Wellbeing Program at Tennis Australia and believes that Wellbeing is everyone’s responsibility. At Tennis Australia the aim is to produce ‘Happy and emotionally healthy players, with a love of Tennis, who embrace the opportunities and thrive on the challenges – on and off court.’

Danielle Gescheit

Danielle is the Manager of Performance Information and Analysis at Tennis Australia. Her role includes management of the Performance Analysis team and the Athlete Management System, as well as supporting and informing Performance systems, strategies and processes with evidence-based information. Danielle recently completed her PhD which explored the epidemiology and aetiology of elite tennis injuries. Additionally, her research portfolio includes reviewing the junior and professional tennis structure worldwide in partnership with the International Tennis Federation which was the basis for the newly formed Transition Tour. Danielle is also the Australian Fed Cup team manager.


David Grainger

Winner of the 2013 Australian Tennis Award, Newcombe Medal as well as 2012 Tennis SA ‘Coach of the Year’ and 2013 Tennis Australia ‘Excellence in MLC Tennis Hot Shots Coaching’ award. David is an ambassador for Cardio Tennis and ANZ Tennis Hot Shots, as well as a Learning Facilitator with Tennis Australia’s coaching courses.

Graeme Harris

In most recent years, Graeme has been the owner and managing director of Rider Sportwear. His tennis background goes back to the early eighties when he attended Middle Tennessee State University on a tennis scholarship where he then went on to work as a tennis professional at Willow Springs Racket Club in Atlanta, Georgia. Among other career successes he coached former professional tennis player, Anne Minter on the WTA tennis circuit and has spent many years coaching his children to pursue their tennis careers.

David Hodge

David Hodge is an organisational leader and career coach. He is the Director of Athletes Agency International, which specialises in driving a personalised U.S. College recruitment process for families worldwide. The certified agency focuses on education, features over 400 years of combined experience on staff and currently boasts a 100% success rate. As a Head National Tennis Coach for Tennis Australia, David oversaw player development in Queensland for 5 years. His coaching career including stops at Stanford University and the University of Colorado, the professional and ITF junior circuit as well as numerous high schools, academies and clubs.

David has served as Australia’s World University Games Coach and has presented, coached and contributed to publications all over the world. He earned a Bachelor of Science and was an All-American at Baylor University and has Club Professional and High Performance coaching qualifications with Tennis Australia and the United States Professional Tennis Association. As a professional player, David competed in the Australian Open and won numerous professional titles but his passions now lie in creating opportunities for others. He enjoys philanthropic pursuits and has been heavily involved in numerous charitable projects.


Stephen Jones (Marsh)

With 30 years Insurance and Management Experience in the Underwriting, Broking and Captive Insurance space Stephen joins us today as the Senior Relationship Manager for Tennis Australia.

Stephen’s role is to bring competitively priced program with the best possible cover available. Stephen and the team at Marsh Advantage manage over 100 various Insurance schemes and have strong links into the Corporate Sport industry.

Stephen is married with 2 boys, a social tennis player and an avid Collingwood and Liverpool fan.


Lyndon Krause

Lyndon is completing a PhD co-supported by Victoria University and Tennis Australia where he is investigating practice effectiveness. He also works with the Australian Paralympic Committee tennis program and Tennis Australia’s Tennis Lab. His day-to-day roles include providing skill acquisition support to the Australian Paralympic wheelchair tennis team and supporting Australia’s best professional and junior athletes with ensuring they are using the best equipment for their game.

Peter LeNoury

Peter completed his undergraduate degree in Sport and Exercise Science at Victoria University. Throughout this degree, Peter gained valuable experience working with world leading professors in skill acquisition, and was employed by the Australian Institute of Sport AFL Academy, Cricket Australia and Tennis Australia. Further developing his knowledge of skill acquisition and factors leading to skill expertise, Peter was awarded an academic scholarship to complete an Honours degree focusing on the influence of working memory capacity on decision making skills in sport. Peter completed this degree with distinction and was offered a further academic scholarship to complete his PhD with Victoria University in conjunction with Tennis Australia. He is currently

undergoing his PhD in enhancing perceptual cognitive skill in tennis using virtual reality technology. Peter has also developed valuable experience from his own participation in sport, representing Victoria in volleyball and athletics, as well as playing at state level in football,

basketball and tennis. Peter also spent 5 months at the German Sports University where he studied sport psychology and underwent full time triathlon training with world leading athletes and coaches. Peter has been coaching tennis for 10 years and enjoys getting the most out of players both on and off the tennis court.


Katie Liebelt

Head of HPE at Clare High School, School Sport SA Lower North Zone Convenor and Acting Assistant Principal. Have led the implementation of a Thematic Curriculum with the development of student Physical Literacy as a key outcome. Strong involvement in community sport.

Matt Limpus

Matt is a Tennis Australia Club Professional and also holds a certificate in IV Training and Assessment. He has had 15 years coaching experience with Lifetime Tennis and other current venues include, Nudgee College Boondall, St. Michael’s Ashgrove, St. Joseph’s Nundah and St. Kieran’s Brighton. For the last 8 years Matt has been a Coach Developer with Tennis Australia.

Chris Mahony

Chris has been working for Tennis Australia for 12 years. For the past 6 years, he has been Manager of the National Academy in Brisbane and prior to that, he was the National Coach in Melbourne. In addition to overseeing the staff in those National Academies, Chris coached many successful Australian players during their formative years such as Sally Peers, Kim Birrell, Ellen Perez, Zoe Hives, Isabelle Wallace, Kaylah McPhee, Andrew Whittington, Dayne Kelly, and Sean Berman. His experiences with several of those players forms the basis of his presentation today.

Prior to working for TA, Chris was the Head Coach of the University of Tennessee Men’s program. During his 7 years there, Tennessee was one of the most successful programs in the NCAA peaking at #2 in the national rankings after making the NCAA Team Final in 2001. As a player, Chris achieved ATP rankings in both singles & doubles peaking at #325, was a 2-time NCAA All-American peaking at #12 in singles & #1 in doubles, and was runner-up at junior Nationals in both the 18&U and 14&U age groups.


Steve Marquis

Steve is the Head of Places at Tennis Australia. This key role is the link between our delivery network and focuses on Coach Development, Club Development, Venue Sustainability and operational guidance and support. Steve and his team oversee key projects and developments in venue management and development, operational modelling, future planning and benchmarking with a key focus on quality management, participation pathway delivery leading to customer retention. Steve has over 15 years’ experience working in the leisure industry, leading large staff teams and engaging the community.

Natalie Martin

With a background in education and 25 years teaching experience in both Tasmanian (Scotch Oakburn College, Launceston College) and Victorian (Genazzano FCJ College) schools, Natalie coordinates and oversees the education services delivered to the athletes in each of Tennis Australia’s National Academies. This involves providing classroom and on the road support for distance education athletes as well as ensuring they successfully complete their education programs via communication with their subject teachers. Natalie manages and supervises the various assessment tasks and exams for each athlete and each subject that an athlete is enrolled in. Natalie also provides support to Pro space athletes who are completing their tertiary education. Natalie is the point of contact for Australian athletes to ensure they meet academic eligibility for US College. During their development pathway Natalie educates the athletes about US College as an option post secondary school.

Rebecca McDonald

Rebecca McDonald is the National Head of Schools at Tennis Australia. She has a Bachelor of Commerce (Sports Management) with an extensive tennis coaching background. Rebecca was a key author of the Tennis for Primary Schools and Tennis for Secondary Schools resource, and also manages, develops and implements educational content that links the education sectors to tennis.

Anne Minter

Anne Minter is a former Australian professional tennis player and her singles ranking peaked at No. 23 in 1988. She has won four WTA singles titles, a quarterfinalist at the Australian Open 1988, she twice reached the R16 at Wimbledon, represented Australia in the Fed Cup for 7 years reaching the final in 1984 and she competed for her native country at the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in Seoul.

Apart from Anne’s own coaching business of 20 years, tennis has been kept in the family with 2 of her children becoming professional tennis players as well.

Joshua Mitchell

Health and Physical Education Teacher at Cygnet and Franklin Primary Schools. Prior to teaching, he has worked in corporate health and for the North Melbourne Football Club where his role supported junior development programs in schools and community engagement initiatives. He has a strong focus on supporting students to transfer their learning from the HPE context to community.

Alistair Murphy Janelle Pallister

Janelle is an Australian swimmer who competed in 2 events at the 1988 Summer Olympics as well as other events such as the Pan Pacific and Commonwealth Games. She is also a multiple Australian title winner. After retiring at the age of 22, Janelle went on to become a flight attendant with Qantas for 15 years. Junior coaching now takes up her time with roles such as Head Coach at Cotton Tree Aquatic Centre, Mentor Coach on the Australian Junior Pan Pacific Games, Fiji and Team Coach at the Junior World Championships in 2017. Up next for Janelle is taking on the Assistant Coach role for the National Event Camp in February 2019 alongside Head Coach Dean Boxall. With a portfolio of various coaching roles, some of her most proud achievements would be coaching her son in the Australian Surf Swim Gold U15’s and her daughter to representing Australia in Swimming and Surf Life Saving.

Deanna Penman

Deanna is currently the Coach Development Coordinator for VIC/TAS at Tennis Australia (TA). Along with her qualifications as a TA Master Club Professional and certificates in Sports Coaching, Training and Assessing and Fitness – Strength and Conditioning Coach, Deanna has had experience as the Tennis Victoria Programs Coordinator for Get Into Cardio Tennis, Business Development Manager for ACE Coach and Corporate and the National Business Development Manager for Curves and Snap Fitness.

Michael Poulton

Michael Poulton is an experienced coach development professional, who has worked extensively in elite sport and education. Most recently Michael has worked as a performance development consultant with the Gold Coast Suns and Geelong football clubs assisting them to maximise their coaching capacity and effectiveness. As the AFL’s Competition & Stakeholder Manager, Michael designed and implemented the AFL Senior Coach program, lead the AFL’s High Performance Advisory Board and developed the National Strategy for Coach Development at all levels of coaching, including club and grassroots football.

Previous to joining the AFL, Michael was the National Coaching Manager for Athletics Australia for 6 years and has extensive experience liaising with the National Sport Organisation network of coach developers and the Australian Sports Commission. During an extended period working at the University of Ballarat, Michael taught in coach education along with a range of subjects in human movement, physical education, and sport management.  His teaching career started as a Primary School Physical Education specialist. Michael continues to coach and support coaches in hockey and was an active track coach for over 10 years.

Dr Matthew Sanders

Dr Matthew Sanders is a Professor of Clinical Psychology and Director of the Parenting and Family Support Centre at The University of Queensland. He is the founder of the internationally recognized Triple P-Positive Parenting Program, which is now run in 28 countries around the world in 22 languages. He has published extensively in the area of parenting, family psychology and the prevention of behavioural and emotional problems in children. He is a fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, Australian Psychological Society, New Zealand Psychological Society, Australian Association of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and the Academy of Experimental Criminology. He is an Honorary Professor in the School of Psychological Sciences at the University of Manchester, Glasgow Caledonian University, and the Faculty of Education at the University of Auckland. He has been a consultant to the Council of Europe on Positive Parenting and is a former Queenslander of the Year. He is author of the recently released book The Power of Positive Parenting: Transforming the Lives of children, Parents and Communities using the Triple P system. In 2018 he received a Queensland Greats Award from the Queensland Government.

Alison Scott

Alison Scott is the Head Coach & Manager at the Thorneside Community Tennis Association, the National & QLD State Coach for players with an intellectual disability (PWID), Head Coach of the Australian ID Team since 2015, Tennis Australia Cardio Tennis Ambassador and a Wheelchair Tennis Development Coach.  With over a 22 years’ experience, Alison has expansive industry knowledge in coaching, player/program development and facility management.  In 2018 Alison was selected to attend the ASC “Women Leaders in Sport” workshop, the Tennis Australia Industry Leaders Workshop as well as presenting at several Tennis Australia coach and professional development workshops and courses.

Nicky Sloss

AISNSW Student Wellbeing Consultant – teacher 25 years (PDHPE, Dance, Head of Sport, Dean of Wellbeing). Strong focus on social and emotional learning, curriculum implementation and child protection in independent schools in NSW. Dog mother and aunty.

Marc Sophoulis

Marc is currently holding the position as Head Coach at Melbourne International Tennis School (MITS) along with other roles such as Head Coach of Maribyrnong Sports Academy Tennis Program, Tennis Australia Coach Developer – Club Pro Coaching Course (VIC & SA), Richmond Football Club – VFL Assistant Coach/Director of Coaching and Tennis Correspondent at SEN Radio Melbourne. He holds qualifications in the Tennis Australia High Performance Course (Level 3), certificates in Sports Coaching and Training and Assessing and other notable accreditations such as GPTCA Level B Coach, USPTA Professional Coach and Level 2 AFL Coach.

Gary Stickler

With many years of coaching experience, Gary has worked with Australian champions and world ranked players such as Pat Rafter, Jason Kubler and John Millman to name a few. He is a level 3 Coach and has presented at coaching conferences and workshops in Australia, Japan and Korea.

Georgina Vernon

Georgina Vernon is a current PhD candidate with Victoria University and a Performance Analyst at the Tennis Australia Brisbane National Academy where she assists coaches with the filming and coding of matches and training to help with athlete feedback.

Prior to starting with Tennis Australia, Gina spent 2 seasons as a Sport Science Intern at the Gold Coast Suns AFL Club while completing her Bachelor of Exercise Science and Honours at Griffith University. Her passion for sport science led her to start her PhD in 2016 with a focus on skill acquisition and specifically to investigate the factors that influence a tennis player’s ability to anticipate the serve. Gina aims to submit her thesis in 2019.

To view previous Grand Slam Coaches’ Conference speaker bio’s, follow the below links: