The Australian Open Trophies received a bipartisan welcome when they arrived on the lawns of Parliament House in Canberra last week.
With the trophies sparkling in the Canberra sunshine the MLC Tennis Hot Shots kids warmed up as Sports Minisiter Mark Arbib, Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott, and Member for Bennelong John Alexander all donned the white gloves to officially welcome the trophies to the nation’s capital.
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“It is fantastic to be here as the Sports Minister and welcome Tennis Australia as well as some of our high performance players from the AIS and our Hot Shots youngsters,” Senator Arbib said.
“Tennis is such a wonderful game for kids. As a Dad who has a little five-year-old girl who plays tennis every Saturday morning, I know the joy she gets out of it, and the joy all those other kids get out of it.
“It is a game that the Government certainly wants to see more kids playing.
“Through our participation strategy we want to get more kids away from their computer screens, away from their TVs and back out playing sport, and tennis is a fantastic way to do it,” Arbib continued.
“It’s great to be here with the Minister, the legend and the trophies,” Tony Abbott said.
“It is just fantastic to see this promotion of tennis … one of those sports Australia has been very, very good at over the years. We want to resume our former glory, and the best way to resume our former glory is to get as many young people as possible playing tennis.
“It is a terrific game; it is a very social game, as well as a game that can be pursued at the highest standards of athleticism. Getting young people involved in this great sport, and getting people involved in sport more generally is very, very important.”
“I never won the singles,” Member for Bennelong and former tennis champ John Alexander said.
“Three times I got within two matches of winning the singles and I lost to Jimmy Conners, Vitas Gerulaitis and Guillermo Vilas, three quite good players.
“I have to put the gloves on to touch the trophies – they don’t want the soiled hands of someone like me touching them!”
Arbib, Abbott and Alexander then joined in a spirited game of mini tennis with the MLC Hot Shots kids and chatted to the coaches before heading back to the business of running the country.