Melbourne VIC, Australia, 31 March 2016 | Tennis Australia

Head of Women’s Professional Tennis Nicole Pratt has announced a series of scholarships for female coaches as part of Tennis Australia’s commitment to promoting women in tennis and increasing opportunity at all levels of the sport.

In an ongoing drive to increase the number and quality of female tennis coaches nationwide, eligible women can now access additional funding to pursue their Tennis Australia coaching qualifications.

Thirty-five scholarships are on offer to women undertaking coaching qualifications to develop players at all levels of the sport, from ANZ Tennis Hot Shots to elite performance pathways. There are currently 542 registered female coaches in Australia, 21 per cent of the national total.

“Having more quality female coaches helps the sport at every level, from our kids playing Hot Shots to social players at clubs, young women playing competitively and elite athletes working towards a professional career,” Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said.

“We need more diversity in our coaching ranks and we want to make our internationally recognised coaching qualifications more accessible to women. It’s no surprise women make great coaches so this is about providing more opportunity, and from there, more flexibility.”

Scholarships will be awarded in four coaching categories: junior development, club professional, master club professional and high performance.

Recipients will undertake coaching courses in a supportive and innovative learning environment, with access to mentoring and networking opportunities.

Pratt said the scholarship program would ensure female coaches are encouraged and assisted to achieve their ambitions.

“Women already make an enormous contribution to our tennis coaching community and this program is designed to encourage more of them to get involved and achieve their qualifications,” she said.

“Tennis relies on qualified coaches at all levels, whether it’s introducing new players to the sport through ANZ Tennis Hot Shots, helping club players develop their skills or guiding our elite players to Grand Slam success. Women are central to our sport and these scholarships are designed to recognise and reward their roles.”

In a further initiative to support and promote women in sport, former National Academy Manager for South Australia Rohan Fisher will move into the newly created role of National Women’s Talent Development Manager.

Fisher will work under Pratt’s guidance to identify and develop the next generation of Australian female tennis players.

Fast facts: Women in tennis

  • Tennis is one of the only professional sports to offer equal prize money and prime time television exposure for both men and women at the elite level
  • The Australian Open introduced equal prize money for women in 1984, second only to the US Open in promoting parity for men and women
  • Women’s matches throughout the tournament feature on major courts and at peak viewing times, including the women’s final which is staged on Saturday night in prime time
  • An almost equal number of girls and boys participate in ANZ Tennis Hot Shots, the official junior participation program for tennis in Australia, and Super 10s competitions for children aged 10 years and under
  • Tennis Australia commits equal resources to male and female high performance, with significant investment into both development pathways
  • Tennis Australia launched the inaugural Celebration of Inspirational Women at Australian Open 2016, uniting some of the foremost women in Australia and shining a global spotlight on gender equality.

Australia’s top female tennis players will travel to Brisbane next month to take on the USA in the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Play-off at Pat Rafter Arena.

More information on Tennis Australia’s female coaching scholarships is available here.