Melbourne Park, 10 December 2010 |

This week the 800th school visitor will pass through the gates of Melbourne Park to attend December Showdown 2010.

For some of the primary school aged children, it’s their first experience of watching tennis at the home of the Australian Open, while for others it’s simply an appetiser as they count down the days to Australian Open 2011.

View photos of December Showdown 2010 school visits

Australian Open Wildcard Play-off Tournament Director Mark Handley says that for kids, the experience is priceless.

“The December Showdown is all about inclusion, to have local school kids visit adds another dimension to the event, and we hope that their experience will inspire them to pick up a tennis racquet,” said Handley.

Handley said that he’s expecting 1500 children to pass through the gates at Melbourne Park – a record for the December Showdown, which has increased in size each year.

As well as enjoying some on-court activities and watching some great tennis, children also have the opportunity to ask current players questions about what it’s like being a professional tennis player.

So far, 2010 Wimbledon junior finalist Ben Mitchell, Jess Moore, Davis Cup Squad member Matt Ebden and Greg Jones have taken part in these fun Q&A sessions.

And for the lucky kids who visit Melbourne Park next week, they’ll get to see these players and more in action as they fight it out for a wildcard into Australian Open 2011.

If your school would like to come to Melbourne Park and watch the AO Wildcard Play-off, contact Rebecca McDonald at Tennis Australia on 03 9914 4107 [email protected].