Melbourne, Australia, 20 January 2012 | James Hunter-Smith

Melburnian heart rates are soaring throughout the 2012 Australian Open as Cardio Tennis, Tennis Australia’s new fitness-based program, hits Federation Square.

The common chair umpire phrase “quiet please” is nowhere to be heard as members of the public are taking part in fast-paced competitions to music pumping between 120 and 150 beats per minute.

Thousands have been drawn to the purpose-built mini courts set up under the giant screen in the centre of Melbourne, watching on with enthusiasm and intrigue while getting a taste of what the Cardio Tennis program is all about.

Cardio Tennis co-ordinator and MC, Patrick Landy, said the motives behind the free exhibitions are simple.

“[They’re] all about promoting Cardio Tennis and getting the message out there as much as possible,” Landy said.

“It’s about having a bit of fun at Fed Square with some Cardio Tennis challenges and giving away some tickets.”

Landy said the program is slowly gaining momentum and is looking forward to it getting off the ground.

“People have come up here and had fun, and seen our marquee down on Grand Slam Oval [at Melbourne Park], so I think it’s starting to generate a bit of chatter and word of mouth, so they all add up.”

Cardio Tennis is a new fun, social tennis-fitness program that is currently rolling out across Australia.

With the high-energy music blasting, demonstrators kicked off Friday’s exhibition by sending six balls flying into the crowd.

Those who caught a ball – or managed to pick one up off the ground after some friendly tussling – stepped onto the custom mini courts and tested their skills in a fast-paced competition with tickets to Australian Open 2012 up for grabs.

Cam Scott, a 22-year-old who recently moved to Melbourne from the UK, was lucky enough to take home the tickets and said he was impressed with the Cardio Tennis program.

“I haven’t done exercise for about two years, so I sat down [after] and my body was shaking, but it was good fun,” Scott said.

“I’m not very good [at tennis] but the fact they said it’s for anybody, it kind of gives you a bit more motivation, and it’s a bit of fun anyway.”

The program is designed for people of all ages and fitness levels with the sole aim to deliver high-energy workouts in a social and energetic format.

Participants hit with low-compression balls and wear hear rate monitors to help track their progress, allowing them to measure how hard they’re working.

Landy highlighted the social nature of Cardio Tennis, and said the group sessions help with people’s motivation to get active.

“If you’re part of a group, it’s like a personal training group or going to a gym class,” he said.

“There’s six to eight people in a cardio tennis class so you’re not alone and it makes it social as well, so you bring your friends, have a social hit of tennis and have a great workout at the same time.”

Cardio Tennis demonstrations will continue to be showcased at Federation Square until January 24.

To find out more about Cardio Tennis and register for a free trial, visit