9 January 2011 | Tennis Australia

A giraffe with a tennis racquet is not something you see every day.

But to take the Australian Open to a whole new level, participants in Tennis Australia’s official kids starter program, MLC Tennis Hot Shots, showed the tallest animal in the world how to play tennis at the Melbourne Zoo this weekend.

“I thought the giraffe was going to eat my racquet,” 10-year-old Ruby Owen of  the Top Tenn Tennis Academy in Surrey Hills said.

Ruby’s little sister Abbey, 8, was equally excited by the experience.

“I can’t wait for show and tell at school,” Abbey said.  “No one will believe that I played tennis at the zoo and had my photo taken in with the giraffes and zebras.”

Over 200 children visiting the Zoo on Saturday had the unique opportunity to participate in the MLC Tennis Hot Shots program on three modified tennis courts, under the instruction of qualified deliverers.

“I had the best day,” Ruby said. “The longest rally competition was really fun.”

Antarctica penguins and baby hammerhead sharks were also introduced to Tennis Australia’s Kids Starter program at the Melbourne Aquarium.

Over 150 children had a taste of tennis on the MLC Tennis Hot Shot courts before exploring the aquarium.
MLC Tennis Hot Shots is designed for children aged five to 12 years and provides a fun, friendly environment where children can get involved in tennis, emulate their favourite stars and make new friends in their community.

Low compression red, orange and green modified tennis balls, smaller racquets and courts are used to help promote an immediate sense of fun and achievement because the equipment is scaled especially for children, therefore enhancing their potential.

Find out more about the MLC Tennis Hot Shots program.